Yesterday, we ran the First Midwest Half Marathon. Some ran hard to showcase their skills and hard work, others ran to be social, some ran just to prove to themselves that they could cover 13.1 miles. Regardless of their motivation, I was happy to see lots of familiar smiling faces throughout the day.
This race is an annual event for me so I always register in time for the early bird discount. The last 2 years they have given an extra shirt to the first 400 people who register. Last year we received two of the same shirt. This year we received two shirts, one in purple (standard issue) and one in white as our reward for early registration. This race always does it right between SWAG that can be used, plus a $15 off coupon to the running store when you register, then another one that is in your SWAG bag. Between the SWAG and the coupons, the entry free is usually a wash for me. I think they give me more than I actually pay.
SWAG – 2 shirts, Feetures no show socks, $15 off coupon at Running For Kicks, 13.1 First Midwest Half Marathon sticker & key chain, plus a nylon backpack.
Lots of fun at the actual race! I started easy and soon realized that between my breathing
or lack there of and my heavy legs from being sick for 2 full weeks, that easy was still too fast. So I slowed down and settled in by watching the other runners, looking for our F’N Cheerleaders and I just putting one foot in front of the other when I wasn’t roadside coughing up a lung and pissing myself heading for the turnaround.
This race is always an out and back course along Route 83 in Palos Heights, IL. It’s advertised as a fast & flat course but there are some slight inclines both up and down at different intervals in the race. Nothing major. For some, an out and back is not super exciting but it does allow you to see all the runners on course at one point or another. I’m usually in my third or fourth mile as the winners fly past me on the opposite side heading for the finish. Then I get to see my fast friends fly by, then my medium fast friends, then eventually when I hit the turnaround, I get to see the back of the packers. It’s a good race to run, which allows you to both run and still support other local runners with cheers and words of encouragement. My kind of race!
This course has potties, med support, lots of police & volunteers, and probably 4 water stops each way. One water stop did run out of cups toward the end but all aid stations had both water and blue Gatorade for everyone, even those at the back.
Speaking of those at the back, my plan changed a bit as I was running. I normally run my race, then go back to help run in friends and F’N Runners who are still on course but I realized early into the race that I didn’t have the energy for that so I revised the plan. I ran to the half way point, the turnaround, then stopped and waited for friends. Pam came first, whizzing by and totally taking me off guard (blue/grey shirt below), then I was more “ready” and managed to see Lisa in time to run the turnaround loop with her (white shirt below). Then I waited and ran it again with Nicki (running solo, far right photo) and settled in with her for the remainder of the race.
This was Nicki’s first ever half and I wanted to be there with her at the end. We had a fun time covering the last half together, me talking endlessly to try to keep her mind off her knee pain, and her just looking at me like I was crazy. Pretty normal for us really.
Thanks to all the F’N Cheer Squad members who stood out there all day, cheering in each and every runner & taking so many fun photos. It gets lonely at the back, the road gets disserted. They waited for everyone to go thru, giving high fives, encouragement and lots of F’N LOVE!
This is a great race. Its reasonably priced. The swag is good. There are prize purses for the fasties. The race always has a local charity component or two. Runners are protected by tons of police & volunteers. And best of all, there is lots of love and support for each and EVERY runner on course. It may be small, rural & “just” an out and back race but this is where you will find the heart and soul of our running community on the first Sunday of May, each and every year.
I’ll see you in Palos in 2014!!
** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **