I have finished my third marathon. Maybe I won't wait another 3 years to finish my fourth.
The weekend was a lot of fun. We left for Champaign around noon on Friday. This was the Inaugural Year for the Illinois Marathon, so we weren't sure what to expect. When we got into town, we went straight to the University to pick up our race packets. There wasn't much of a goodie bag, but the race shirts were very nice. They were a long sleeve, technical fabric shirt. The full marathon shirts were half-zip. The only problem was that I ordered a Large, I tend to order Large because I have long arms. The shirts were clearly in Mens sizing because my shirt is like a tent on me. They wouldn't exchange it until all of the runners had picked up their packets. I didn't bother checking back, since the expo was going to be going until 9pm.
The expo was pretty small, in comparison to others, but it was spread out so you weren't all crowded in like at most race expos. Bart Yasso and Dick Beardsley were at the Expo. Since the race was small, they were pretty much available for chatting, which we did. We got a picture with Bart Yasso. I won't get the pictures until Monday when Barbie can e-mail them to me. I'll post pictures later.
We went back to the Hotel and ate dinner there. We split some potato skins, and I had a giant plate of fettucine alfredo. Yum! We then went to our room and started checking the weather. I had planned to wear shorts and long sleeves, expecting it to be around 40-50 degrees. Wrong! It was windy and colder. I didn't pack my cold-weather running gear, but I had bought an Illinois Marathon jacket and was wearing some comfy nylon lounge pants on Friday. I had NO plans to run in those, as I had never run in them before. We decided to put our chips on our shoes and found that there were NO zip-ties in the envelope. UGH! So, we rigged them onto our shoes with safety pins, fully expecting the volunteers to have a struggle with them the next day.
Race day morning, turn the TV back on to check the weather. It is 34 degrees and WINDY. Oh no!! After much debate, I decided to run in the lounge pants and my new jacket. We left the hotel in just barely enough time to park, make one last trip to the restroom (indoor restrooms at the start, yay!), and get lined up. The race started and we were off! My first mile was too fast (9:42/mile). I decided I needed to slow it down! My goal for this race was just to finish under 5 hours and not to set a Personal Worst (my first marathon in 2003 was 4:58:42).
As the race wore on, I kept a pretty steady pace and felt great throughout. I was glad for the jacket several times throughout the race, as there were several areas where the wind picked up. I feel like the extra long runs were very helpful for me (I ran 20 miles 3 times during my training). There was never a point in the race where I felt like I couldn't or didn't want to go on. In fact, I picked up the pace during some of my last miles. I only wish that I had been able to lose more of the weight that I've been carrying around for the past few months. Next time.
My official finish time was 4:57:05, exactly what I expected (11:20/mile pace).
The race course was extremely flat, just as they advertised. The support on the course was fantastic for an inaugural marathon. There was even an Elvis. My only complaint about the support was the wastefulness. Many of the water stops were handing out full bottles of water, the 20 oz size. We would take a bottle, take a few sips, then toss it down. It was a real waste of all that plastic.
And, the chips weren't an issue. The timing chips were commemorative for the first year, so we got to keep them. So, I was the one who had to deal with unhooking that thing from my laces.
Barbie ran the Half, she took it easy since she is running Boston next Monday. She ran it in 1:52:44. She had planned a 2 hour race on the way up. I predicted 1:52. Am I a good race predictor or what?
Angie signed up late, so the 5K was the only race available for her. She ran it in 29:03.
I'm feeling great today, a little sore but much better than after my previous marathons. I think I will be ready to run by Tuesday or Wednesday. My next race is in Boston next Sunday morning, the inaugural B.A.A. 5K.
I'm already plotting my next marathon. I'm hoping I can take off at least 20 pounds this spring and summer and post a PR at Memphis in December.