Monday, April 29, 2013

2013 Illinois Marathon Race Weekend Recap

On Friday morning, Jake Becker and I traveled down to Champaign, IL for the 5th annual Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon. Since we were making the trek down for the race, we thought we'd sign up for the Friday Night 5k the night before. After all, if you could finish the marathon and the 5k you'd not only get a medal for each of those, but a special medal was included for the I-Challenge. Being completely honest with the few people who read this blog and myself, I'm a bit of a medal whore. Often prior to signing up for a race, I'll research the previous years medals to ensure they are adequate, and to taste. All you coffee and latte drinking friends can relate, I don't drink either one of those, but just trying to make it easier to relate. It's kind of the same thing as needing 3.5 shots of espresso, since 3 isn't enough, and 4 is too much.

I picked Jake up shortly after 10am. He lives in the city, within eyeshot of Wrigley Field, thankfully there weren't any games going on. From there we took the scenic, non-interstate drive down to Champaign, IL. We stopped at Penn Station Subs where we both ate an Italian submarine sandwich. I had been to Penn Station before, it's a chain sandwich shop. I was really hoping for a local divey place but we didn't really have time to search since we still needed to get to the hotel to check in and also pick up our race packets.

We eventually made our way over the the ARC Center on U of I campus where we would pick up our packets and visit the race expo. We parked on the street, didn't have much change so we were a bit pressed for time. Thank to the super efficient volunteers and set-up, we were in packet pickup for about 5 minutes. We both had our bibs, headed down some stairs to pick up our goodie bags and VOILA! All was well in the expo. We visited some of the booths, picked up a few free samples. Jake bought me a 26.2 sticker for my car, assuming I'd join that elite group of people who've finished a marathon. We got some posters. I bought a stick. My non-running friends that read this don't know what that is, google it.

Race Packet/Goodie Bag Review: As usual, there are lots of advertisements for other races, products, samples etc. The shirt was from Brooks Running. This is probably the coolest shirt I've ever gotten from a race, definitely the best quality. The bag was a normal drawstring bag with the Illinois Marathon branding on it. I usually expect these to be rather cheap quality, but this was also one of the cooler bags I've received at an expo.

After leaving the expo, we went to the hotel. Hello Super 8 Urbana. Good price, poor hotel. Not only were the two people working the counter arguing with each other the entire time, one claiming they did all the work around the hotel, the other mainly silent, except for barking commands at the other. A rather rude dude, the lady working the counter wasn't nice either. Got our key, our room was literally right at the top of the stairs. Unpacked our bags and got our shirts, bibs, shorts, socks, body glide etc ready for the next day. Finally, a short nap.

We headed back to the expo to pick up a friends bib and goodie bag. He couldn't make it due to other obligations. At least he'll get the shirt and goodies.

At the Presence Covenant Medical Center Friday Night 5k race Jake decided to stick with me. He could probably have been one of the top finishers, but it was cool to hang together. This race started just south of the Stadium, running through campus and downtown Champaign and finishing on the 50 yard line of Memorial Stadium. It was a great race and I finished just under 27 minutes. I felt good the entire way, but was trying a little not to overdo it since I was running my first marathon the very next morning, less than 12 hours away. All of the crowd support was great, from the college friday evening beer fests parties as well as the outdoor bar goers cheering us on with their beverages held high!

The marathon course took us through various parts of Urbana and then making our way through Champaign. The police and volunteers that were on the course did a great job keeping the course clear of cars. The Champaign portion of the course was where my lower quads just felt like they were set on fire. Up until the 14th mile, I was right on pace for a sub 4:40 finish time, but ended up run/walking the rest of the race. I don't know where I met these two girls, but they were both super cool! Cate who was from Chicago, was instrumental in me finishing this race in running form. I had mentally given up around mile 25, and just figured I'd be better off walking in, and I'd run the stadium 50 yards at the end. Cate and Sheila didn't know each other, even though you'd never know that since they were talking like they'd known each other for years. We even got some cool photos together, since we ran by 2 photographers and crossed the finish line together!

Running is probably the most non-discriminatory sport on the planet. Endurance training isn't easy.

It was far too much work to figure out how I was going to place these pictures in the blog post, so I'm just putting them all at the end. Here's the photo dump!

Goodie bag with race shirts/bibs

Marathon Finish Line Photo
Medal rack sure looking nice!
Full I-Challenge Finisher Medal
5k Finisher Medal
Goodie Bag
Pre-race 5k Mug Shot
Finished the 5k at night on the 50 yard line.
5k Start Line
Timers?  You can't see the plate, but that's what it says.
New Running shoes for the 5k
Corrals hardly filling up just 5 minutes prior to the 5k race,
5k Results, Not too shabby
Friday Night 5k Pre-race Pots
Race shirt w/ Bib attached
26.2 Official Results available via QR code on race bibs
I wanted to buy this shirt for Elizabeth, but she'd never wear it.
Couldn't have said it better myself the morning of the marathon
Marathon Finisher Medal
Super Classy Hotel, High End Electronics, not sure it's okay to expect more for $70/night
Memorial Statium, see you in 26 miles!
Post 5k Race Photo

Friday, April 26, 2013

Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon Weekend 5k Race Plans

Since I'm running a full marathon tomorrow, my plan for tonights 5k race is to latch on to someone that is running a 5k for the very first time. I remember the support I got from other runners during my first half marathon, and it was very motivational. I want to give back tonight.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Week Before Champaign-Urbana Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon

So I'm not sure exactly what to think going into the weekend of my very first marathon. My initial processing reveals excitement, nervousness and uncertainty. I'm excited to take on a challenge that fewer than one percent of the worlds population has ever done. Sort of feel like it's my own version of climbing Mount Everest. I'm nervous because 26.2 miles is exactly 8.45 miles further than any distance I've run before, I suppose the nervousness and uncertainty is the thought I may not be able to finish. I feel like I've been totally on top of my training. Up until this past week where we've had the weather from hell, I've made every mid-day run and every long run. This week I've been a bit lazy, waking up with good intentions of going out for a run. Perhaps it's that I knew Martha wasn't meeting me (we just didn't make plans, and many of my mid week runs were with her). My thoughts as of late have been about distance. 185 miles between my house and the hotel. 3.9 miles between Urbana Super 8 hotel and the start line. 3.1 miles to run on Friday in the 5k. 26.2 miles to run on Saturday. 188.9 miles to drive on Saturday to get back home. I can't wait. More info to come.

Friday, April 19, 2013

April Stinks!

So for some reason all winter I was able to brave the short and long runs 3 times per week, but rain I cannot tolerate. I think it's just the feeling of being wet, certainly doesn't help with the chaffing and blisters. I've avoided running most of this week, except my speed workout with Eric. On Tuesday, it didn't rain in the morning and we set out for a quick 4 miler. It was the fastest I've run in a few months. I had good intentions to run on Friday morning, but I was simply too tired. I thought to myself, I'm in my taper anyway, so I should be okay. Tomorrow I will set out to run 8 miles. It's my shortest long run and it's tough not the think, "what the hell, I'll just go for 16." I just can't. I've been told my many that the taper is one of the most important parts of marathon training. I still feel confident that I have trained well for the marathon, but I've missed a long run and a few midweek runs. How about you? Have you missed some long or midweek runs while training for a marathon?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Post Longest-run Thoughts

So this one took me a while to get out there.  I set another personal distance record, which will remain unbroken until April 27, 2014 when I run to complete the full marathon distance.  It was an interesting Saturday morning, being that I could not start at my normal time, which meant the folks I ran with normally on Saturday mornings would not be there with me.  Due to other commitments, Liz had to attend a meeting for work and we also had a gathering with group of friends planned.  The trick was to somehow get a 20 mile run in starting at 1:15 and being back and ready to go by 4pm.  Whoa!  I was sure I could do it.

Around 1:10 I headed out the door after Liz returned home.  I had my route planned, engrained in my head, and the will to finish.  I did change up my fueling plan a bit from prior long runs simply since I had no idea what to expect.  I had strategically planned to deplete my four 7oz bottles of water at some point during mile 11.  I also had a packet of Strawberry Gu Chomps and Strawberry/Banana Gu energy gels  I was actually averaging a 10:05 pace for the first 12 miles.

Part of my fueling plan was that the 12 mile mark would be at the entrance to the Rollins Savannah.  While being the first time there this sprint, I knew from last year that there were water fountains at the entrance and I could refill my water bottles there to keep me going.

Insert Problem

The water fountains weren't open, in fact, they had plastic wrap all around them and there was no way I could get water out of them...shit.

With 8 miles left in the plan, I had to somehow tackle that without any water.  I knew this would be difficult even though I was feeling pretty good.  Out of frustration with the Lake Country Forest Preserve District, I posted on Facebook that the fountains were out of service.  A fellow member of the running club messaged back and forth with me, and planned to bring water to me at the north entrance of the preserve.  Holy Smokes, Thank you so much Elizabeth Lupo!  I was able to get water around mile 16 and refill my water bottles.  Having gone 5 miles without any water, I was still too dehydrated to continue.  I was able to get to 17.75 miles.

I was really hoping to see what hitting the wall felt like prior to my full marathon.  I'm confident that my experience with the 17.75 distance was NOT the wall, but rather a hydration issue.  Going from sipping water around every half mile to not having any water for 5 miles had to have been the cause.  I know the dreaded wall comes at a different place for everyone, some at 17, some at 20, some at 22 or any other number.

My hope is to be able to push through the wall when I finally run the 26.2.

Friday, April 5, 2013

First 20 Mile Run Preparation

Last week should have been my 20 miler. I wasn't feeling good. In fact, I thought my chest was going to explode. I went to an acute care facility, got an Electrocardiogram and a chest X-ray. They tested me for strep throat, which turned out to be negative. I wasn't sure what to think when I left. Oh, it's the way I felt when I leave most doctors. No solutions, No ideas, "no running" he said, Well...So far my last 3 doctor appointments which were with someone different every time left me feeling uncared for. I felt like a cog in their machine, another insurance check to help with their BMW payment. Anyway. sorry, had to get that off my chest.

On to the positive. I'm feeling great now. One thing my chest pain taught me was to appreciate when you feel good. We truly don't know how good we have it until we don't. #fithappygirl gave me one of the best tips I can think of...well perhaps it's just the most recent. I've learned a lot since joining the running club. She pointed out on her post she talked about a tip she received to think of a 20 mile run as four 5 mile runs. GENIUS! That's how I'm thinking of this one! Hopefully I have the same successes she had during her run.

I've made my map for the run.  5 miles will take me outside of my neighborhood and the one next to it, the second 5 miles will take me most of the way through another neighborhood I use for my 5 mile runs.  The third 5 mile run will get me about midway through the Rollins Savannah, part of Lake County's Forest Preserve and the final homestretch 5 miles will get me out of the savannah and back into my neighborhood.  I'm hoping someome can join me, especially for the back 10, ahem, I mean the last two 5 milers.

On top of that, it's supposed to rain, so we'll see how that goes, hopefully the trails through the savannah aren't too muddy.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Not Going Goofy Anymore...

It looks like race registration opened up a bit early, I was able to find a link through a Facebook page that took me to the registration for the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.  I signed up for the Dopey Challenge.  If you haven't heard lately, there has been a new 10k race to the weekend and if you run the 5k, 10k, Half marathon and Marathon then you'll be crowned an inaugural Dopey Challenge finisher.

So, for a total of 48.6 miles in 4 days, I will be officially Dopey!

I haven't been able to find any deals on hotels/airfare etc. yet.  Here's the plan on how I make this a relatively cheap trip (given the normal cost).  My plan is to stay with a family friend but that is an hour plus from the Disney theme parks.  This should save a few bucks on hotel.  Come November and December this year, I'll be scouring the Orlando Groupon page for restaurants, instead of paying full price for each meal or going to McDonalds for every meal.

I'm not sure how I'm going to get down there yet, my dad plans on meeting me down there but he's going to drive.  I won't have that much time off work so I own't be able to do that.  Any ideas for cheap airfare?