Yesterday I spent the day in Indianapolis, arriving Wednesday night, and staying at the new JW Marriott hotel downtown. While an attractive hotel, the noise from the street was louder than I liked – after starting in a 5th floor room, I changed to one on the 18th floor, which mitigated the traffic sounds, but did not wholly get rid of them. Marriott owns the entire block and has situated 3 hotels and a conference center there, so I am really surprised that this flagship hotel faces downtown and sits on one of the busiest roadways, when the other end of the block overlooks White River State Park, the zoo and the river. Poor planning on that one. Otherwise, the service goes well above and beyond, and the furnishings are modern and comfortable – nothing like lounging on a “heavenly” bed in your plush robe, is there? My suggestion, if you are staying in Indianapolis and want to try the JW Marriott: request a high floor on the west side of the building.
Being the decadent traveler I am, I ordered room service and ate sitting on the bed, watching the Tour Of California (a rare treat since we no longer have Versus). The hotel allowed me to order from either of the two in-house restaurants, so I mixed it up and tried both. From High Velocity, I got the Crispy Sesame Chicken salad, which was much better than anticipated and surprising as well. The chicken seemed to be hand-breaded and lightly fried, rather than the popcorn-style chicken I was expecting. The lychee fruit were a nice twist as well. No dressing (though a vinaigrette was indicated on the menu) initially seemed like an oversight, but the salad was the better for it ( and healthier to boot). To satisfy my inner glutton (which is displayed in an outer glutton’s body), I opted for the Lava di Cioccolato (Lava cake served with warm zabaglione sauce and vanilla gelato) from Osteria Pronto. I normally am not a fan of sauces with my deserts, but the chocolate syrup mixed with the Haagen Dasz ice cream (in lieu of the gelato?) made for sweet tooth satisfaction. To complete the experience, a Guinness Stout (recently learned it's not vegan, but since the fish scales imparted no taste, I can’t complain too much).
After tossing and turning most of the night (as my kids say, when I’m away it’s “sad and lonely”), I didn’t have much impetus to go outside for a run. Dutifully, however, I stuck with the plan and headed out. Being near the White River and Central Canal, I knew I would only have several blocks to run along city streets, always a nice treat. After a half mile of barefoot running, I continued along the canal before heading out and back along the White River, enjoying the early morning zoo smells along with nearly perfect running weather. Not sure what got into me, but my first mile was run in 6:40, beyond blazingly fast for me, as I normally plod along in the 8:30-9:00 minute per mile pace for my tempo runs. The results of this fast start? Heaving lungs, a surprised body, and 5 miles in under 40 minutes. Where did that come from? I think my Garmin may have been acting up.
Except for missing my family, I always enjoy visiting Indianapolis. The city has made great efforts to keep this a walkable, interesting city, one well-worth visiting. Multiple museums, monuments, historical sites, as well as university and private arenas provide for something of interesting to just about anyone.