We left home about 5:30 and drove to Champaign, which is about 40 miles east of where I live in Bloomington. The weather was overcast & it was misting a little rain. The temp was 61 degrees and it was really humid also. We got to Champaign around 6:20 or so and by the time we got parked it was 6:40. The race started at 7:30, which was good for me, I did not have a lot of time to kill before the gun went off.
I got all of my gear ready and put it on and we all walked towards the start line, with me making a pit stop at the porta potties. Said goodbye to my team and then walked to my corral. The corrals were set up as estimated finish times instead of A,B,C,D, etc. I got in the 4:45 corral and listened to my ipod and chatted with the people around me waiting for the gun to go ff.
I never did hear the gun go off, but I crossed the start line about 15 minutes after the clock started. Just past the start line on my left stood my team cheering me on. This picture was snapped of me as I passed them.
This was the view in front of me as I passed the start line. Wow there were lots of runners.
I started off nice and slow sticking with my pace plan which was written by my good friend Gordon from Run to Disney fame. Several months ago I asked Gordon to write me a training plan & pace plan for this race and he was gracious enough to have said yes he would do it. I spoke with Gordon before the race started and I think he was a s nervous as I was about the race.
The first 3 miles went by in a flash. I had to stop at a porta potty and get rid of some nervous energy I guess. Seemed like I stood in line forever. Finished up there and it was back at it. I checked in with Pam on the phone a couple of times to let her know where I was and how I was feeling. It wasn't long and I was at the 13.1 mark, half done half to go. I was still feeling really strong. I got to see my team also. I waved as I went by them headed for the back half of the race.
All was going really well at this point. I was staying hydrated, taking my gels at the right time & staying with my pace plan. It all changed in mile 17. I just started slowing down, not keeping with my plan. I think the humidity was beginning to work on me. I had not done any training for this race in any humidity at all. Most of my training was done in cold weather or cool temps. I stuck with it and just ran at a slower pace until mile 23.
Mile 23 is where I started doing a run/walk combo. Not a Galloway run/walk, just ran when I felt like it and walked when I felt like it. I would not say I was struggling, I was just taking my time so I could finish the race. I had a goal of 4:45, but I knew I would not make that so I just kept plugging along.
It was a great sight when I saw Memorial Stadium come into view. I knew I was close and was gonna make it. I ran down the ramp, into the stadium and the first thing I saw was my cheer team screaming and hollering at me that I had done it.
I crossed the finish line and was handed my medal. At that point I became a Marathoner!! I made my way over to my team and hugged everybody and thought to myself, I have done it, I really have. The next thing I asked for was my chocolate milk. I had started drinking it after all of my long runs and I am now a firm believer that is speeds recovery. Two great friends Mike & Jan were there to cheer me on and Mike asked me if I would run another full & I told him absolutely I would.
Reflecting back on this day, it was a fantastic day for me. I accomplished something I was not sure I could do, but knew I had to try. I proved to myself that I could do it. My finish time was just over 5 hours by my Garmin and now I have a PR to shoot for in the next one. I do know this, when training for a long distance event it involves your entire family not just yourself. I again want to thank Pam, Abby & Andy for their encouragement & support. I also want to thank my coach, yes I said coach, Gordon for taking lots of time out of his days & nights to get me to the finish line.
Next up, I am looking for a 1/2 to run between now and Sept to run. I do not want to just do maintenance running until the Disneyland 1/2 in September.
Thanks for reading.
Til next time run strong & enjoy the moment!!!