Posts Tagged ‘Illinois Marathon I-Challenge’

(and other pre-race thoughts)

Well here I am again, dear readers, sitting just days away from my second half-marathon.  This weekend, 20,000 runners will be gathering in Champaign/Urbana for the Illinois Marathon, and among them, about 30 runners from the local Heartland Roadrunners and Walkers Club.

Many of these members of the Heartland Road Runners will be participating in the Illinois Full and Half Marathons this weekend!

I’m trying to decide if I feel more or less nervous going into my second half-marathon.  As you might recall, it was only a few weeks ago that I ran my first half marathon (13.1 miles) in Little Rock, AR.  That event went relatively well.  I had friends start the race with me, found a groove, and (except for a leg cramp in mile 10) the whole thing went off without a hitch.  I had a lot of worries going into that race: crowds, nutrition, hydration, sleeping in a hotel the night before…finishing.  None of that really ended up being a problem though.  I guess I had good coaches, because I seemed pretty prepared and the race went just fine.

My training partner Doug and I after the St. Louis "Frozen Buns Run"

For this Illinois Half, my worry list looks different.  I’m not so concerned about finishing it- seeing as I’ve got several more double-digit mile runs under my belt now.  I am running it with a partner, which will present its own challenges and advantages.  Doug and I have been training together for quite a while now, so we’re used to running as a pair.  When we run though, we tend to chat, and the cumulative effect can be somewhat bad for our overall time.  Talking and laughing does make miles go down easier though, and that could be good for our time!

And while we’re talking about time- I think that’s my biggest worry.  I don’t need to smash my Little Rock finish, but I certainly would like to think that I could shave off a few minutes this go round.  I didn’t have expectations in Little Rock.  Illinois is billed as flat and fast, and I’m going to be bummed if I can’t do at least as well as Little Rock.

One interesting wrinkle in the story for Illinois is the I-Challenge.  The challenge is to run a 5K the night before the half marathon (or the 10K or full marathon, depending on your entry).  The main reason to do this? The Bling.  You earn a medal for the 5K, the half, and completing the challenge, for a total of 3 pieces of bling to wear home. The real dilemma is how to run the 5K.   I’ve really, really wanted to clock a time of under 30 minutes for a 5K this year.  I’ve come close, but haven’t broken it in a timed event yet.  I don’t think the I-Challenge is the place to go all out though…  I can’t imagine that it’s a good idea to push myself too hard the night before a half-marathon.

Adding to the worries of Illinois is a weather report that seems to be in constant flux.  First it was going rainy and warm.  Then they’re calling for dry and chilly.  I checked this morning and now we’re talking about 17 mph winds with race temps in the low 40s and a 50% chance of precipitation.  How’s a girl supposed to dress for this!?  *Ugh* I would really rather not deal with wind.  (And on a personal note: 50% chance of precipitation? I feel like that’s a terrible forecast.  I’ll give you 50% chance of precipitation every day guys! Tell me something I don’t know!)

Anyway, I imagine this will go just fine.  These events usually do- regardless of how worked up I get about them beforehand. I hope Doug and I and the rest of the club all have great runs, reach our goals, and get to enjoy the fruits of all of our hard training.  When the going gets tough at this race, I’ll try to remember the advice of my friend Jared:

It’s about not quitting.  It’s about continual forward progress.

*Speaking of Jared… I’m headed out to Vermont to be a crew member for his attempt at the 200 mile McNaughton Trail Ultra Marathon early in May.  Expect a pre-race blog on this soon, and updates throughout his event.

** And speaking of Half Marathons!  Good luck to my friend Jennifer who will be running a half in Nashville this weekend too!  Maybe I can talk her in to doing a race report.. hint hint!

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