Illinois Marathon Weekend, Part 1

 

Double race weekend started at noon last Friday when I hit the road to Champaign-Urbana. It’s about a three hour drive from my town and it was fun times with me and my iPod. And thank goodness Matt let me use his GPS because I would have surely gotten lost once I got off the highway.

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I met up with Ryan and Kristen and we headed into the expo to pick up our bib numbers and goodie bags.  There were absolutely no lines and we got our bibs for both the 5k and the half super quickly. We headed to chip check-in and didn’t have to wait there, either. The chips were attached to the back of the bibs and just needed to be activated by scanning. Yay for not having to attach one to my shoe!

The expo itself was pretty blah. There were quite a few vendors there, but most of them were for local businesses/groups and races that are too far away. Body n Sole sports had a huge “store” area, but I wasn’t really in the market for anything special.

We did a quick walk-through and then headed for the hotel and something to eat. Our choice of pre-race food? McDonalds chicken nuggets. Don’t laugh. It’s second to Wheaties as breakfast of champions, don’t you know?

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We headed back to campus and the start line ready to run. Kristen wasn’t registered for any races this weekend but instead served as our official stuff holder cheering section.

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Waiting for the start. I lined up at the 10 minute mile mark, and Ryan headed to the 9 minute group. Before the start, I still wasn’t sure if I wanted to just run for fun or try to PR. I did have a half marathon to run in the morning, you know.

Before I knew it, the starting gun went off and the race was on! After I crossed the start and got into a groove I peeked at my Garmin (he really needs a name) and saw that my pace was under 10:00. Dare I hold onto it? I kept going along at that (surprisingly!) comfortable pace for a while longer. At around 2.5 miles I saw my brother about a block ahead of me, then a couple seconds later I saw him walking on the side of the road. Like a good big sister I slowed down to make sure he was ok. He was, and told me to keep going, he’d be fine.

A few short minutes later I was on the field at Memorial Stadium, and saw Kristin yelling Ryan’s name. I quickly glanced behind me and saw my brother coming up beside me. Another quick glance at Garmin showed that a sub-30:00 5k was in reach. I relayed this to my brother and he asked if I wanted him to push me to the end. Of course! We started sprinting around the last curve and ended up with a final time of:

ill 5k results

Heck. Yeah. I really did it. Here’s the Garmin splits:

run 4 29 11

Check out the average pace of the last .13 miles – 6:34!!! I have to thank my brother for pushing me to my first (of many, I hope) 5k time that started with a 2. You were the person who inspired me to start running 2 1/2 years ago and I have accomplished so much more than I thought I could. Thank you. Red heart

Oh, if you want to check out our finish, go here and check it out.

Just to give you a sense of how many people ran this race, and how awesome/crazy the finish was, I snapped a few pictures.

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Seriously, how awesome is it that we get to finish on the football field?

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Proof.

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Me, ecstatic. With my awesome medal.

After stretching a bit and catching our breath we grabbed some food, headed back to the car, and got some dinner before going back to the hotel for a short nights sleep. There was a big morning ahead of us.

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