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2014 IL Marathon Weekend

5K Race Takeaway: Helping a friend reach a PR is so much fun!

Half Marathon Takeaway: Sometimes it’s just about finishing.

IL Marathon weekend started like usual with picking up our packets and running the 5K the night before.

  • Rob and I would be completing the Half I-Challenge by running the 5K Friday night and the Half Marathon Saturday morning.
  • Drew would be doing the Full I-Challenge by running the same 5K and then completing the Full Marathon Saturday.
  • This would be our friend Katie’s second 5K and she was looking to improve her time from her first race. We decided to run together since we were taking it easy and we could help Katie get her PR.

Let’s just say this is the closest we have ever done a packet pickup and I was stressed. 🙂 I normally like to be at race events super early, but this was cutting it WAY too close, we were there just 15 minutes before the expo ended. Whew!




This year the 5K started on time and we eased our way into the start as the crowd got moving. I talked to Katie when she seemed to need encouragement and I tried to stay quiet when she looked like she was pushing hard and was focused. Rob and Drew ran with us and were enjoying joking around along the way. It was such a fun time running together as a posse.

Katie was able to push herself and take 2 minutes off of her time and finished in 36 minutes. Go Katie!





BTW….notice that Rob wore the wrong bib number to the 5K? 🙂 A good lesson learned! Anyone else done that before?

Afterward we headed home to get some rest.

The next morning we were up at 3am and on the road by 4:20am. We were way ahead of the 7:00am start and so I was much more relaxed about things than the night before. 🙂 We killed time doing the normal runner routine: put on bib (the correct one Rob!), get fuel into Spibelts, go to the bathroom a 100 times, ask Drew if he is ready about a 100 times. 🙂

The weather was gorgeous, 50s, sunny, and it was going to get quite warm. Beautiful if you are running the half, potentially miserable if you were running the full. Yet we stayed optomistic that it would be a good day for everyone.

Finally it was time to line up and say bye to Katie. Katie hung out at a nearby Starbucks to see us off. In the past the course has come back on the same road so I thought it would be a good opportunity for Katie to see us again around mile 10. Apparently the course had been updated and that was not the case. Whoops! Katie was able to find the course and see Drew one more time around the halfway point and he was looking good!

My race wasn’t going so well. It wasn’t going well from the beginning, which is always a bad sign. The first mile my legs felt dead. Rob was encouraging and said “maybe they will shake out in a couple of miles”. Unfortuantely that never happened. It was just one of those days where I felt like I was dragging my tree trunk legs around. I got to the 10K at 57 minutes. From there things just worse, I was just out of gas and ready to be done. I was off pace and missed my opportunity to be on live TV at mile 10 (info at the bottom of the post). I gave the crew high 5s and trudged on. Around mile 11 Rob was trying to keep me in good spirits and reminding me we were just out to have fun and that we hadn’t been training. I then said “true, and at least I’m not injured, I just have no gas today”. Well those words came back to haunt me at mile 12. I missed seeing a small bump in the road and tripped. One of those slow motion trips and I tried to catch my steps, but after three awkward stumbles I hit the ground on my right hip, scraped both hands and twisted my right ankle. I was flipped over now facing backward, seeing other runners coming up to me asking if I were okay. I laid there saying “go, go, go” and motioning them to keep on running. Rob was said “I’m not leaving you!” and I was like “no, not you, them!”. 🙂 A cop came up and help Rob get me to my feet. I haven’t been injured like this since a training run in 2010.

I think hobbled for what felt like a quarter of a mile. I started to cry from the pain, but mostly because my hands were so bruised I was worried I wouldn’t be able to pick up Chase. I just wanted the race to be over. At least I fell with only a mile to go, but it was hard to be near all the spectators and feel the energy of the finish and be so wounded. I told Rob I wanted to “run” in and so I ran/hobbled as best as I could to the finish. It’s probably worth mentioning that I didn’t care for the half marathon finish that wrapped around the side of the stadium. The surface was different and there were stumps from lights in the ground that would be a tripping hazard for people like me. In the end I finished: 2:12:54

With my injury I plopped down on a couple of bags of ice. I didn’t get our typical finishing pictures.


Afterward we grabbed some food and Rob went out to meet Drew around mile 23. I found Katie and we waited for the guys to get back. Drew was having an excellent run and was set for a huge PR, but after mile 20 he ran out of gas. The temps got up to 80, I’m sure that didn’t help. That’s part of marathoning though, sometimes it just doesn’t come together. Drew was able to tough it out and finish it: 5:25:17


5K 36:16

11:39 Pace

Half Marathon 2:12:54

10:08 Pace

The medals – 5K, Half Marathon, and Half I-Challenge:


Previous IL Marathon Posts:

2013 – IL Marathon – 10K – 8.5 Months Pregnant

2013 – IL Marathon – 5K – 8.5 Months Pregnant

2012 – IL Marathon – 3:46:03

2012 – IL Marathon – 5K – 23:32

2010 – IL Marathon – 3:25:05

2010 – IL Marathon Expo

2009 – IL Half Marathon – 1:57:19

2009 – IL Marathon Expo

The Interviews:

For those that know me or have followed my blog for awhile, you may remember last year that the local news of Champaign, IL, Channel 3, covered my story of running while pregnant. Here’s the interview from last year.

They were back to do a follow up story on us now that we have Chase. Here is this year’s interview.

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Comeback Year

I hope you all had an amazing holiday! I’m so late posting this that I’m sure most of us have moved on from thoughts of Christmas. I’ll just say quickly it was an amazing time for us as with our new family. It was such a joy to see Chase experience all the aspects of Christmas for the first time: church, opening presents, lots of toys. 🙂 Just warms my heart!


So on to the new year! Happy 2014!!


As Drew likes to say, “it’s the year of the comeback”. Meaning we are all ready to get back to the business of running and training hard. Well in my case training hard, will be easy to accomplish. My fitness is so low that most runs feel hard. It’s like I’m starting all the back to the beginning. Except in this case, I know that with consistent hard work the pain will eventually become less and less and the euphoria that running brings will be back.

I won’t be crushing my PRs and still I like the idea of referencing this year as a “comeback year”. I think it will be a year of finding balance of everything we have going on. My training is lighter, but the time I can commit will be more meaningful. The time I’m committing takes me away from Rob and Chase, but at the same time promotes my health so I can hopefully be with them more in the long run. 🙂

I also can’t wait for the warm weather to come back so we can get out for walks and bike rides as a family. 🙂

My race plans for 2014 are starting to form, right now I have the following on my radar.

  • St. Pat’s 5K – March
  • Lincoln Memorial Half – April
  • CCHS 5K – April
  • IL Half Marathon – April
  • Lake Run 12K – May
  • Galesburg 5K – June
  • Park to Park 5M – July

More to come as events get announced. For now I’m gearing my training to get me in shape to run IL Half Marathon. My training plan is very easy and comprises of 3-4 days of running. As I was saying, I’m basically starting over from scratch so I have to be careful and ease back into things to try to prevent injuries. Also, this light plan will also work best with balancing working, taking care of an infant, and taking care of the house. I built this training plan from Runner’s World Smart Coach and adjusted the days of the runs to fit my schedule. Since I am just looking to get more fit, I don’t have a race time goal. I’m basing my paces by level of effort. Which actually works out perfect because perceived effort can change if it’s been a hard night with baby or something like that.

Here’s how my easy training has gone so far:

Week 1

  • 4 Miles Easy
  • 3 Miles Easy
  • 4 Miles Tempo w/2 Faster Pace

Week 2

  • 3 Miles Easy
  • 5 Miles Long
  • 4 Miles Interval

Week 3

  • 4 Miles Easy
  • 4 Miles Easy
  • 3.7 Mils Easy (Baby woke up, didn’t get to 5 miles, oh well)

Week 4

  • 4 Miles Easy
  • 3 Miles Easy
  • 2 Miles Easy (bagged long run, wasn’t feeling well for a few days)

I feel good that while this plan won’t bring a bump up of speed I do feel like it’s getting me into a good practice how to fit running in around everything else. For weekday runs I try to get them done at 4am if the baby is sleeping. Weekends I try to complete them during her first nap. On weeknights I’m studying for an insurance exam (which is hard to do and not fall asleep). I’m terrible at taking tests so this may not end well, but at least I’m trying. 🙂

I can’t believe a month of “training” has already passed. I know it’s not much, but I’m excited that the running year has all begun!

Please share any goals you have for 2014! I would love to hear about what’s on your radar for the coming year.


2009 Illinois Half Marathon – 1:57:19

Today I ran the inaugural Illinois Half Marathon…all 307.12 miles of it. 🙂

The 13.1 for the race today and 294.02 in training miles. As much as this one day means, it would not be possible without the training mileage to get me here.

And I am happy to report I met all of my goals and finished in: 1:57:19!!

So now for the detail….

Rob and I got up at 4am to gear up and pack the car with redundant everything. We hit the road at 5:30am so we would make it to the race before the they starting closing the roads. I had a couple cups of coffee and a peanut butter with natural strawberry jam on whole wheat then followed that with water on the ride there.

There was plenty of parking and we parked further away in hopes leaving would be easier (which it was). With an hour and a half before the race we took the time to use the facilities in the Memorial Stadium, much better than the porta potties, although they had a ton throughout the course. We hung at the car for awhile before making our way to the starting area. We used that time for our quick warm up.

We noticed how under dressed we were in comparison to most runners. The temps during the run were 37-40 degrees, 10mph winds and partly sunny. I knew in a matter of a mile I was going to be warm so I went with shorts, sleeveless shirt and a long sleeved throw away old race t-shirt. I cut the neck of it so that I could rip it open (Hulk style) and then fish my arms out one at a time and then toss it. Rob went with shorts and sleeveless shirt. He was doing the 5K and even had to wait 15 mins after the half/full got going to start their race. Most runners were quite bundled, tights, fleece, hat, gloves. I saw quite a few later in the race holding their hats/gloves and I was glad I didn’t have those items to think about. I only felt the cold at the park, but more on that later. The other outfit item of note was my Gu. I pinned it to the right side of my shorts (2 Gus and a pin for each one). I have never ran with Gu pinned to me and that would have been good to try out beforehand, but oh well. I’m happy to report I had no issues. I didn’t feel it banging on my leg or pulling my shorts. Plus I got to run with nothing in my hands. They were even surprisingly easy to tear off when I needed one.

Oh and the race chips were commemorative and we got to keep them for free! Pretty cool since I’ve seen races charge $39 for the same thing. It was a very nice touch.

So the start. Like most large starts, approximately 5,000 of us trying to get going. They had three sets of mats down and I was able to step on the first two sets, then right in front of me a guy trips on the last mat, it flips over, I step on it and this guy is rolled up in a ball on the ground like roadkill. I’m left just hoping that my chip was captured.

Getting started was the usual weaving in and out of people that feel like they are all over the place and can’t decide what pace they want. I was able to get into cruise control the and the first three miles went by so quickly. I ditch my shirt with no problem and I feel the cold air, but I feel fine.

At some point we come to a water stop I didn’t need any, but I noticed they were passing out FULL Disani water bottles. I remember at the expo when we were volunteering that another volunteer said that the race was stocked with a TON of bottled water that they got from some military thing and it needed to get used before the expiration date. I had my headphones turned up pretty loud to drown out the more chatty people, but I could still hear the community of response of “FULL water bottles? Kind of a waste.” Runners took a couple sips and are chucking these still very full bottles, but what else could they really do with them? I wouldn’t want to run with that. So the amount of water on the ground was amazing, like it had rained heavily. And I thought dodging chucked paper cups was something until I was making sure to not step on water bottles. Kinda funny. I’m sure they will get feedback about that, but knowing the back story it all made sense now.

Time is passing so quickly, next thing I’m taking my Gu at mile 4.5 because we are coming up on a water stop at 5 miles as we enter the park. I had seen the video of the course and knew we were about to enter a park path that would squish us together. What also occurred was another eventful water stop. They set up the tables right at the entrance. Not on the road that was wide open, but on the sidewalk. During a water stop on a road you have more space to decide if you are interested in slowing down and taking some or keep going. This was more a free for all of FULL paper cups with water flying out and we were all forced to slow our pace to manage the park sidewalk and the water. Luckily I already planned to drink here for my Gu so I wasn’t upset my the momentary slower running to get a bit of water. I just found the whole thing pretty funny. We move through the park pretty quickly. I stuck to the sidewalk because the grass area was wet and muddy looking. Plus this was when I felt the brisk chill of the wind because we were in an open area. We were packed like sardines and although I only lost a bit of my pace, it actually went well considering how close together we had to run. Out of the park was mile 6.

10K chip mat (6.2 Miles): 54:27 A new 10K PR!! That’s 6 minutes off of my previous 10K time. I can’t wait to see if I can get this time down again when 10K is all I have to run.

Mile 7 I do remember my watch at 1:01:XX. Everything is feeling good I’m half way. I force myself to take some water (full bottle I think). I really wasn’t very thirsty, but I knew that some water now than when I wished I had it was better.

Then Mile 8 I notice my legs feel heavier than they had. I keep going cause there really is nothing I can do, but the feeling stays with me. We are back in the downtown area and the crowd support throughout the race exceeded my expectations. There were a lot of people out cheering us on. Mile 10 and my left IT Band by my kneed shouts foul! I don’t even flinch, but my pace slows. I’m otherwise in great spirits and want to keep going, heck I want to speed up and my leg was not having it. It was tightening and I was going to have to just manage the situation. So I’m not able to bend my knee as fully as I would want. I had to shorten my steps and push forward. Mile 10.5 the full marathoners split from us, I manage a “Go FULL!” as a few people separate to take the longer road. I’m happy to not be them today, that will take many more training miles to do. We make our way over and under a road and I’m actually relieved for the minor hill because it makes my knee feel better for a moment to have a switch of terrain.

Me messing with my iPod:

Mile 11 a water stop, wtf?! We are there people, geez! This lady cold stops in front of me in the middle of the road and I shout “Excuse us!!” and she side steps just before I plow her over. Around Mile 12 we are back to the stadium and a woman next to me says “the best thing I’ve seen all day” and I said “I know”. I’m going as fast as my knee will allow. We run past the stadium for a U-turn to line up with the full marathoners entrance point so we would all enter the gate together. We come down a steep slope and then run the football field (it was AstroTurf, I was surprised) and made a turn at the touchdown area then doubled back to around the 50 yard line for the finish. I hear Rob shout “Go Christine!” and my heart just leaped.

Me at the finish:

I was there, I was done, and I was in one piece. I felt overall pretty great. I only assume the variance on the roads or the many turns or the side walk mile in the park made my knee unhappy. But after all of it my soreness is small and much smaller than last year. I feel so much stronger as a runner and ready to start training for my full.

Since Rob ran the 5K he was able to be in the finishing area. We hug and get water. He set a new PR!! 24:22!! And he even got a medal.

Me with my sweet medal:

Rob and Me:

Our Medals:

We made our way through the running area and grab some water. My post race snack choice, Hawaiian roll. 🙂

We ran into our friend Curt on the way out who said he made it at 2 hours. We didn’t stick around too long cause we noticed then how chilly it did feel outside.

Overall I think IL Marathon put on a great race. It was well stocked, staffed and had all the amenities of a large city race with somehow a small town feel. I think the small town was that everyone (runners and volunteers) were super nice and everything was easily accessible.

I’m so thankful for my husband’s support and encouragement, the wonderful weather, my health, and just a wonderful day.

My Pace:
Mile 1: 8:44
Mile 2: 8:34
Mile 3: 8:38
Mile 4: 8:31
Mile 5: 8:49 (into the park)
Mile 6: 8:55 (out of the park)
Mile 7: 8:27
Mile 8: 8:41 (heavy leg feeling)
Mile 9: 8:44
Mile 10: 9:09 (left knee unhappy)
Mile 11: 9:25
Mile 12: 9:18
Mile 13: 9:23
Last .1 Mile: 7:57

My Stats:
8:58 splits
10K: 54:27
Overall: 1160/3753
F 30-34: 60/308
Females: 381/2095


2009 IL Marathon Expo

Tomorrow is my half marathon!! We had to get my race packet and Rob’s (he is doing the 5K) at the Illinois Marathon Expo. We had volunteered to work the morning shift (9am – 1pm) at the half marathon packet pick up booth.

We got there bright an early and received a bright orange (Illini color) volunteer T-shirt. We made our way to the packet pick up area. Our duty was to give the half marathoners their bib, chip and sticker for their gear check bag. It turns out the chip is commemorative and the racers get to keep it (no charge), which is cool. We weren’t expecting to be too swamped since we figured it was a workday and most people would stop out after that. Instead we were actually quite busy with a steady stream of eager runners to get their packets. Rob got pulled into doing some heavy lifting and had to move a couple hundred tables on to trucks. I felt bad for him, but he was a good sport about it.

Rob and me:

The expo had a large shopping section and various booths of freebies and such. Nothing elaborate, but it was nice. The best part was Runner’s World Bart Yasso and Dick Beardsley were there to sign their books and greet fans. With the expo being a bit slow in the morning there was no line and I got to chat it up with Bart. I’ve read his book “My Life on the Run” and since I didn’t bring my copy for signing I bought another and also got my picture with him.

Bart Yasso and me:

The tech shirts are pretty cool, Illini colors, long sleeved, v-neck. The 5K t-shirts weren’t so nice, they are an awful design in red.

We didn’t get home until late in the afternoon so now I must get all my things laid out and packed and get to bed early and dream of a sweet PR!!