The day before we layed low. We got out to drive the course and got turned around, but did get an idea of where we would be running. Then we ended up doing 4 Miles Recovery on the treadmills in the sauna of a workout room at the hotel.
After our workout and dip in the hot tub and pool we headed back to our room to find out that the Black Eyed Peas were playing at this facility too! OMG! Why couldn’t the concert be Sunday?! We would totally go, but we needed our rest. The hotel was packed so I was worried that the concert goers would keep me up all night when they got back from seeing an amazing concert. However, I surprisingly slept well and didn’t keep waking up with nervous jitters nor did I hear one peep from a concert goer or door slam, I was out cold.
We got up at 4am to get the doggie out and eat breakfast. We took our time getting ready since the start was just two blocks away.
Picture of my outfit. The temps were 34-41 for the race, but I wanted to feel warm this time. I tend to under dress for races and end up feeling like an ice block. Not this time!
Ready to go! Instead of ‘Cheese’ I said ‘BQ’. 😀
I did wear a hooded throw away sweatshirt (not pictured) to the start corral and I ditched it before the start. The race collected all the throw away clothes for donation which is awesome.
The race start was 7am. Being so close to the race allowed us to wait until 6:15am to leave the hotel. We lightly jogged to the start and found that they had the auditorium open and it was very warm right at the start corral. There was barely a wait for the porta potties either. Then we did a light warm up in the start corral. The weather felt really good.
Then we were off. Rob and I did not run this race together. We each have our own pacing and want to do what works best for us. He was well ahead of me and out of sight after the first turn. This marathon course is two laps of the half course. I have to say that I liked it. It was nice to know where we would be going the second time around.
We found out after the race that the chip mat for the 15K wasn’t placed at 9.3 miles and instead was at 10.4 miles, so that messed up the tracking and the breakouts. They posted the difference at the top of the results. At least we know what happened because I know we didn’t fall off pacing that early.
So back to the race…I didn’t care to see the signs for miles 16, 18, 20 and so on as we were on our first lap, but the second time around it made it feel fast knowing the course. There were inclines throughout. I felt really good the first time around and took in the sights and enjoyed myself. I chatted with a few people. Crowd support was lighter, it’s not a comparison to Chicago, but it was even lighter than IL Marathon. Most people do the half marathon and so the crowd and other runners were so nice to acknowledge that I was running the full with comments of being impressed/shocked. I was cruising along with no problem. Our Garmins did get messed up at an underpass and then the signal bounced off the skyscrapers. A few people and I chatted about it and I was telling them how in Chicago there is no accuracy with the Garmin pacing/distance and really the lap time is all you have. Luckily it appeared to be just this one section.
Around Mile 10, I have beans in my hand and the half marathoners are still on the course and I’m no longer wearing my throw away gloves, just my Under Armour ones, how’s that for detective work?
Then we split off from the half marathoners so they could finish.
Rob doing his thing.
It made me so excited to know one more lap to go! I said to the people cheering at the split ‘that was so good I think I’ll go around again!’ and a lady said ‘Yeah girl! There you go!!’.
Then it was quiet, very quiet. There were points in the race were there were no runners in front of me and I was alone. I definitely had to pay attention to the course to not miss a turn. The crowd support dwindled to a few people here and there. I was glad I had my music and rocked out.
Me with more beans meaning either Mile 15 or 20.
I was all cheesy and smiled until mile 17. I felt the smile leave my face and it was time to start putting in some effort to keep moving forward. The second time around my legs were now starting to feel the pain of the hills. I was feeling sore, but my spirits were high. I kept plugging away and at the end of mile 22 I came up on Rob! It was so good to see him. We said ‘Go Baby’ to each other as I passed by.
Then mile 23 to the finish I got two full foot cramps on my left foot that made me say the F bomb. I kept running and it was a shot of pain that went away both times after a few steps. I was so scared that it was going to bring me down right at the end. They had an incline at the finish just like Chicago. And then I was there! Feeling much stronger and fulfilled. A truly great run!! I BQed!!! 3:38:41! Almost a 30 minute improvement from my last marathon! I got my beautiful medal and was able to wait in the finish chute for Rob.
He came in at 3:41:47! Rob’ improved his time by 54 minutes! It was an amazing Valentine’s Day that I will never forget!
Can you tell I’m a bit happy?!
I asked if we could have a kissing picture, being Valentine’s Day and all.
Us at the post race party.
The amazing full marathon medals.
F 30-34: 6/49
Luckily the 10K mat was in the right spot so I got a new PR there too! 47:37
This post will be updated once we have professional pictures and as I remember additional things to note. 🙂