I can't believe it ... I kept it a secret all week. Here's how it started ...
My friend Cindy from St. Cloud is running the 50 states. She ran Omaha a couple of weeks ago and is running in Dublin Ireland the end of the month and she wanted to get in another state inbetween those two marathons. So 2 weeks ago I got on marathonguide.com and found the Prairie State Marathon in Libertyville, IL, a state she still needed to run but she didn't want to run Chicago.
Then, last Saturday I gave her a call after pondering the marathon myself and before you know it, a road trip was hatched. So late yesterday afternoon we were off to the prairie state.
We arrived in Libertyville at about 9:00 PM after our carbo-loading dinner .. a Subway sub. I had chicken. And we each had one of my cookies. Not my normal pasta meal, but we'd make it work. The race started at 8:00 AM and our hotel was less than a mile from the race venue. It was a beautiful morning ... but in the 60's already and forecast to be in the low 80's. Yikes. Waaaaaay to warm for this runner. But I'd do the best I could given the circumstances. The venue was a beautiful forest preserve as they call them in Illinois.
I didn't carry my camera on the course or take any photos afterwards, but the leaves were just beautiful. The first mile was on an asphalt trail and then we were on crushed limestone. I got a few small pebbles in my right shoe but the surface was nice for running. The course was very flat. But it was hot and there were many miles on the second loop that offered no protection from the sun. And we were all feeling it. I carried a bottle of Powerade in my left hand the entire race and I was so glad I did. I filled it an additional two times and took Gatorade or water at every water stop. Like Cindy said, given today's conditions (this in an email from the event yesterday morning "Weather: The weather forcast is predicting unseasable warmer temperatures. Be prepared and take proper precaution on event day.") there should have been water every mile after 20. And they advertised gel at two locations on the course, but there were none. One guy I ran with for a while had no gels, so I gave him one of mine as I had 4. Temp at the finish: 80 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. Conditions that really make me suffer. At 5.0 miles to go, I had 3:11:44 on my watch. With 10 minute miles, I could finish sub-4:00. But I knew it would only get uglier with the rising temps and another trip through the sunny 2-mile stretch to the finish. Sure enough at 24.45 miles, my adductors seized up and brought be to a screeching halt, doubled over and literally moaning. Embarrassing but I was in so much pain. I can handle calf or hamstring cramps, but those adductors bring me to my knees. Feels like a knife being stabbed in the medial size of my upper leg. I stood their massaging the cramps until I could start (barely) walking. I walked to mile 25 and thought I'd try to run once again. But after 10 to 15 strides all the leg muscles cramped up again (adductors, right hamstring, calves) and brought me to a halt. After a few more minutes of self-massage I started walking but was on the verge of tears. I knew that to finish, I could only walk it in. Embarrassing, humiliating. But I just wanted to get this over with. Finally finished with a 4:16 which I am not proud of. But I was glad to finish. 8 in my age group and I came in first.
First male finisher 2:49 and second was 3:02 or something close to that. Times were slower than last year, most likely due to the heat. I saw the winner when he was at mile 25 and he didn't look so great. Head down and not moving too fast. Tough day for all of us. EXCEPT CINDY!! She rocked it with a 3:28 just 2 weeks after running a 3:25 in Omaha. She is a marathon machine. I am in total awe of her. And very proud as well. :-)
I ran with a waist pack containing gels, a pouch of electrolyte capsules and some Werthers candies. Shed my white singlet before even starting as it was so warm and ran with that tied around my waist pack for the whole race. After cleaning up in the beach house on a wonderful little lake we hit the road with a cold Diet Coke for me and a cold Diet Dew for Cindy. And a cookie of course. And a sunburn for each of us.
We drove home through Milwaukee.
After arriving home and getting a shower, I got a pork sandwich and fries at Glynner's. I was craving their delicious seasoned fries. It totally hit the spot and I ate every bite. :-)
That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. :-)