Monday, November 5, 2012
Returning to Indianapolis
I lived in Indianapolis for almost 8 years after college. During that time, I scored my first grown-up job, married Shawn, bought a home, and got a dog. The city is also significant to me because it’s where I decided, come hell or high water, to become a runner. For the first couple of months in the spring of ‘08, I struggled within a few-block radius of my downtown neighborhood. Eventually I made it to Monument Circle a mile away, and then progressed to being able to run back home as well. Some of my fondest memories of the city were my runs on the canal, which I vowed not to set foot on until I could finish an entire 3-mile loop. Each of these milestones seemed momentous at the time.
Shawn and I eventually became a fixture of sorts; not a day went by when someone - be it a friend, acquaintance, or alarmingly, a stranger - remarked “I saw you guys out jogging.” Downtown was oddly bereft of runners, and we were admittedly recognizable, what with Shawn’s beard and my blond ponytail. The sight of us running together was nearly constant, until one day it wasn’t. At first that was because we had separated, but then, soon after reuniting, we left the Midwest for New York City.
Shortly after the Toronto marathon this past May, I began searching for my fall marathon. It had to be open for registration (eliminating sold-out Chicago), and it had to fall late enough in the season to likely be cold. Lack of hills was also a consideration. Indianapolis fit the bill on all counts, and it would be a hometown marathon of sorts.
When we arrived there Thursday night, most restaurants were closed at the late hour of 9:30. After a long drive, Shawn was more interested in a cocktail or two anyway, so we made a beeline to The Libertine, a bar that came into existence after we moved to New York. It turned out our bartender used to work at Clover Club, one of our favorite Cobble Hill haunts.
On Friday, our one full day in Indianapolis, we visited the three restaurants we miss the most - City Cafe for cornflake-crusted French toast, MacNivens for vegetarian haggis with neeps and tatties, and Yats for spinach-mushroom etoufee and b&b over rice with a few extra orders of bread. There is nothing like Yats in New York City; I savored every bite.
We also spent a few hours visiting with friends and walking around our old neighborhood, the Mass Ave district. Our beloved Julian Opie installation was still there, joined by some impressive new public art.
The period right before we left Indianapolis was characterized by heartbreak, and it surprised us both that our brief return dredged up a lot of difficult memories. Fortunately, I have new memories - 26.2 miles worth of them - to help edge out the old. (More on that later!)