Illinois Marathon …. 4th Marathon in 21 Days

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The 4 for 40 Challenge is done.  Complete.  Mission accomplished. It’s always a win when I am able to complete a goal.  However, this was not an easy feat for me.  I called it a challenge for a reason.  4 marathon in 21 days is hard.  Some people make it look easy and those people are crazy but I had no illusions that it would be easy for me.  It was a challenge.  One in which my only goal was to finish the 4 marathons, be happy, be healthy and be able to move onto the next big thing.   It was impossible to know when I started the 4 for 40 Challenge but my life is about to change dramatically.  Had I not had the courage to chase down this goal, I may have never been able to attempt it.  In fact, I’m not even sure when my next marathon will be due to the upcoming changes that are in store for myself and my family.  So I’m proud that I had the courage to try something so challenging.  I’m proud that I followed my heart.  I’m proud that I did it even though it was difficult.  Challenge complete! 

As for the Illinois Marathon itself, it was a very well organized event.  The marathon weekend offered something for the entire family.  There was a 5K with 6,137 finishers, a 10K with 2,532 finishers, the half marathon with 5,663 finishers and the full with a mere 1,682 finishers.  The weekend also offered an I-Challenge for runner who wanted to participate in the 5K on FRI evening and then one of the other events on SAT morning.  Fun!!  Plus a lot of my area runners were also participating so that ups the fun factor for me.  Here are are a few members of my running club pre-race, and pic with my speedy friend & fellow Touch Chik Carmen who I got to see before the start.

IL Marathon_fnrc start  IL Marathon_carmen

Then we all headed to the potty lines that were super long.  I must say after 5 weekends in a row of racing, if I NEVER see another porta-potty as long as I live, I’d be okay with that.  The entire area reeked of shit poo.  And the lines were ridiculously long.  And many people were still standing in line with the gun went off.  Why are there never enough potties? 

The gun goes off.  The first couple miles were fun with drunk college co-eds hanging off their porches and balconies cheering us on.  Then we moved thru a neighborhood with lots of support.  It was a fun charged atmosphere but I could tell that my legs just didn’t have much in them, so I slowed the pace and tried to find a rhythm.  I just need to finish the race to complete my challenge and become a 4 star Marathon Maniac.    I could do it!  Pace didn’t matter but I soon realized that it was going to be a more difficult challenge than even I had anticipated.  My “wheels” feel off early.  Things just kinda fell apart both emotionally and physically.  The weather wasn’t my friend either and to be honest, I was hot and miserable and tired.  Like really tired.  A combo of stress, lack of sleep and “maybe” 4 marathon in 21 days had taken it’s toll.  I was toasted.  Moving on mile by mile and hating every minute of it.    The bright spot was definitely seeing the kids at mile 13.  But that made me even more emotional and I just wanted to pack it up and go home but alas my keys were in someone else’s check bag.

IL Marathon_Michael

So I kept moving.  Fortunately I had a couple friends who helped me out a ton.  Amanda W from the FNRC was out to run bits of the course with a few of us who needed help and she kept me moving forward mostly by text messages.   My friend Lisa told me to suck it up and just walk if I that’s all I could manage but reminded me that I needed to keep moving.  Yep, I needed that.   I also met many people on course who helped me thru mile by mile.  SaraJeanne ran a few miles with me early on between 9 & 13.  Then a guardian angel in a Marathon Maniac shirt, Laurie, kept me moving until Amanda W was able to come back to carry help me to the finish.  It wasn’t pretty, so thank you ladies for all of your help!!   Photo below of Amanda W, Jill and myself.  Jill ran her VERY first marathon at IL.  Great job, Jill!!

IL Marathon_Amanda Jill Me

The course was mostly flat with a few inclines but no real hills.  We ran through town, a forest preserve, back thru town (more drunken co-eds!!) and a lot of neighborhoods.  Then some more neighborhoods with winding streets that drove me crazy.  Lots of community support.  Always runners around me so I never felt alone.  Aid stations were spaced about 2-2.5 miles apart, which was pushing it for such a warm day (temps were low 80s degrees by noon).   Medical was every other aid station or so, which may have also been pushing it for the temps because I saw a lot of a runners down who needed help and most were be helped by other runners.  However, where the aid stations were missing, local residents were there to pick up the slack setting up sprinklers, handing out jelly beans, water, and beer.  Lots of beer.  I bet there were at least 4-5 beer stations on the course.  To be honest, if I had been feeling better, I would have been tempted by the beer but I was on an emotional roller coaster and alcohol may not have been the way to go for me.  Smile

Overall, this was a good race.  I didn’t love it and wouldn’t feel the need to go back but it was solid and I did love those drunken co-eds!  LOL!  I also really enjoyed my finish in the stadium and appreciated the  F’N Runners waiting for me even though, I took so long to finish this one.  Thanks, all!

IL Marathon_fnrc finish

Swag:

IL Marathon_swag

Good times!  Now it’s time for this lady to rest.  I’ll catch you later!

** Amanda – TooTallFritz – 4 Star Marathon Maniac **

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