Friday, April 27, 2012

Race Recap: Southern Illinois Classic HM

4/14/12 - Race Day

Camo outfit for the day since the charity benefiting was
Rolling Thunder, Inc. A charity for veterans.
Mini bibs that I wore on my back.
Well, this is the day that it finally dawned on me that all those rolling hills I drove over in my travels from New Mexico to Indiana may prove to be an issue. Thankfully the weather had cooperated and the thunderstorm from the previous night had moved on. I woke up early at 3:45am and I think I got a fairly decent night's sleep of more than 4 hours. Hey, that's really good for me on the night before a race! ;) Almost instantly got showered and dressed before heading downstairs to toast up my normal whole wheat Bagel Thin since the hotel leaves its breakfast appliances out. As I ate I did my normal Facebook check then began the 20 minute or so taping process needed for when I do long runs...turf toe on both feet, ankle support both ankles and both knees. Wait, did I do my knees this time? I can't remember. I got my refrigerated post-race snacks together in my little cooler and headed out the door at about 5:30am.

Starting area.
Part of the Half Fanatics/Marathon Maniacs/50 States
group. See me trying to hide my garbage bag,
evidenced by the blue cord below my hips? lol!
Since the race venue was literally only 4 or 5 miles down the road I got there fairly early and was able to park within the first four rows of field parking. I meandered through what remained of the expo, drank some G2, had a Honey Stinger waffle and just basically wandered the venue. They had several animal rescue groups and a few dogs looking to be know I had to visit them. I was wearing my now normal warm up of a big, black garbage bag as I walked towards the start then realizing that there were a group of people there taking pictures...then it dawned on me. It was the group from last night's dinner! We were to meet at 6:30am at the start for group photos!! Eeek! I quickly jumped in (it was about 6:40am) tore open the front of my garbage bag so I could look somewhat normal. After several pics, of which Michelle was kind enough to post on Facebook for me, we headed our separate ways.

As I walked down to my starting corral I met another Half Fanatic who was starting in the same area. We chatted a bit, did some light warm up stretching, I snapped a couple of starting line pics and just basically hung out. Soon the national anthem was being sung and I think I remember an opening prayer (what can I say...we're in the corn/Bible belt). Soon it was time to go across the start.
I think this was the beginning of the second hill.
Now, since I normally try to drive the courses that I run but wasn't able to do it with this one I was quite surprised to find in the first mile or two a couple of hills. I guess in all reality I shouldn't have been surprised! We exited the recreational area where the start was located into a lush residential area with huge yards and few fences. As we came out of the residential area we ran along lush green fields, past a couple of landscaping businesses that appeared to grow their own foilage for clients and past more open fields. Not a hint of brown on the ground that I can recall. Around mile 4 we were hit with just a little, light rain lasting less than 20's wasn't even enough to soak through my clothes. I think it was just after this point that the full marathoners broke away onto their own route. There seemed to be a multitude of low, rolling hills with some flats mixed in as we continued on.

Mini/Half keg mailbox.

My all time favorite cheer sign.
The volunteers were great, cheering, they had some great signs and just overall I felt like it was a beautiful, relaxing run (not for time). As we came closer to the turnaround point I was comforted to notice that while I was still toward the back of the pack that there were plenty of people behind me...yeah, most were walkers! lol! I don't remember feeling too much of the wall by the time we got back into the residential area at about mile 9 or 10. I do, however, remember feeling it at about mile 11 when we hit more hills! Ugh! Hills!! Double ugh! I did my normal walk up and run down (mostly) and was a bit perturbed to see that there was a final hill in mile 12...well, and the incline to the finish line. I made my way up the last hill running as much as I could...which wasn't much, and finally hit the other side jogging. The final left turn towards the entrance to the recreation area and up the drive and I was done! Not literally when used as a description of fatigue...yes, I was tired, but I still had energy. I walked around a bit after getting my finisher's medal (smaller than I had anticipated) and dropping it off to get engraved and got a nice stretch from one of the chiropractors at the massage tent...OMG, that felt sooooo good! Especially after how sore I was after the drive. I headed out to the car and got my snacks and again walked around a bit contemplating whether to partake of the free hot dogs and hamburgers, but I just wasn't in the mood. I finally headed back to the hotel after picking up my newly engraved medal and just sat in a cold bath for a few (no ice) before showering and loading up the car for my trip back to Illinois.

After I checked out I headed over to Red Robin for a nice, big, thick, juicy Big Melt Bacon Cheeseburger. I made sure to gas up again to avoid that extra 20 cents per gallon once I hit Illinois and headed out for the 3 hour drive to my cousins house. Again the ride was uneventful and I managed to stay mostly wide awake for the duration. 

I arrived at my cousin's house, not too far from Scott AFB, around dinner time. After unloading, saying our hellos (I haven't seen her since they transferred to Japan from the base we live by back in 1997 or 1998) her husband was kind enough to run out to...wait for it...Fazoli's to get some pasta for dinner. :)  My cousin and I sat around catching up, trying to figure out the password to their wifi network (their son set it up and she had to text him since he lives about 45 minutes away) before the food arrived. After dinner it was a pretty quick return for me to go to bed since I again had to get up at about 3:30am to get ready for the race in St. Louis the following day. 

Read the next post for my experience at my second double in a month...

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