Half Marathon Weekend

Oh my goodness!!  What a weekend it was!  The weather was threatening storms, but the weather held off.  It was overcast and the hard rain stayed away.  The sprinkles that came were welcome as was the breeze.

I arrived Friday evening, picked up my race bag and goodies and went to check out the expo. Afterwards I checked into the hotel and headed out to walk over for the 5K. The night was perfect. I bought a Jimmy Johns sandwich and started walking back.

I found a spot to eat my sandwich, which also happened to be on the 5K route.  The bank had four signed up to participate, but the threat of rain kept them home. ☹ I finished my sandwich and cheered on the runners.  Fortunately for me, I was walking “upstream” of the 5K runners and cheering them the entire way back.  The TUBA line ran the with their tuba’s!!  Next thing I knew, I was back at the hotel, so I cheered everyone on there, even the very last ones.  

Saturday race day!!  After a decent night sleep, despite the bar right out the room, I got up in time, had my coffee, ate my breakfast (coffee and a protein bar), got dressed and decided to go ahead and drive rather than walk to the start.  In the lobby, I grabbed a banana from the breakfast bar and filled up my travel coffee cup for post-race.  The hotel also had a goodie bag – a banana & a bottle of water, got in my car and headed over to the race. 

They had bagels and coffee available, so of course I had half a blueberry bagel and MORE coffee as well as one of the bananas and a honey stinger waffle.  I zipped up my key fob in my light jacket pocket, stuck it in my bag with my bag check number and headed over to the porta potties, and looking for the water truck to fill up my water bottles.  It was nowhere to be found, so I filled them up at the hotel near the start line.

The national anthem was sung after filling up my bottles and on my way to my start corral, the last one. Shortly after, the waves started stepping off and the corrals moved forward. EEEEEEEKK!! It’s getting closer to my start!

7:44 and I’m off!  My Garmin is set for 3/1 intervals and of course, I couldn’t feel it.  First mile was 9:33!  Woah!!  Shortly after, I got my Simple Interval Timer set to coincide with Garmin.  Second mile was just as incredible as the first, but more my speed (haha) at a time of 9:51.  I think it was during mile two or three that stopped for a moment to pat a dog on the head.  The ultimate power boost.

At this point, we’ve made the turn down Green Street.  The energy was incredible.  The crowd, the cheering, the signs, everything.  I passed mile three with a time of 10:09 with a 5K time of 30:53. We take the turn down Race St.  Someone had set up a hydration station that was passing out Hamm’s Beer.  Of course, I had to take one.   It was around here (or maybe the water station) that I had my first GU – Salted Caramel and it was mess free. The Urbana High School color guard had a few members performing for us.  Mile four split was 10:29.

Miles Five through Seven were uneventful, except for a woman who went down, fortunately a medic cart was nearby.  Mile Five: 10:22; Mile Six: 10:29; 10K time: 1:03:17. GU was being handed out just before Mile 7, so I grabbed a Strawberry-Banana GU – consumed with no messiness.  

Miles Eight, Nine and most of Ten were harder than the rest, only because there were few spectators and little entertainment on the course. Though this is the part of the course where we passed the Horse Research Farm, the U of I College of Veterinary Medicine, and the Dairy Cattle Research Unit. I did slow enough to take pictures of the horses and a quick run selfie, but the phone had to be put away as it was starting to sprinkle. It was very welcome at that point. Mile 8: 10:18; Mile 9: 10:56; 15 K Time: 1:37:11.

More GU was handed out just before Mile 10.  A Vanilla GU was grabbed and consumed, just a slightly sticky.  Shortly after that, a co-worker was cheering on the runners.  Such a welcome sight.  Mile 10: 11:16; 10 Mile time: 1:45:12. A Half marathon is just a 5K with a 10-mile warmup, right?  Well, my 10-mile warmup is complete, time for the final 5K.

The final 5K was the first part of the course, so tons of people and energy.  One block of the course has people both coming and going, so high fives were given to those on the other side.  Mile 11: 10:12; Mile 12: 10:40; Mile 12.5 time 2:12:05.

Time to round the final couple corners and enter Memorial Stadium. Despite the rain, the field turf wasn’t as slick as I’d have thought. Seeing me up on the board and crossing the finish line was exhilarating! Official half marathon time 2:17:53 (Garmin time wasn’t too far off 2:17:59).

After, I received my medal and caught up with a friend who was volunteering and handing out medals! I met up with my sister, grabbed post-race food and my checked bag, then we headed out. It wasn’t until after I got back to my room and ready to shower that I discovered that I put my pants on backwards. I ran the entire half with my pants on backwards.

It was a great event and it’s one I’d 100% do year after year.

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