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

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