The week prior to the race was not exactly what I had planned for (aka..relaxing) I had an unexpected trip to Florida tossed in, no real sleep, or normal meals for 4 days and a 2 am flight back home...you get the picture. But maybe it wasn't all that bad..I didn't have a chance to obsess or worry about what was coming up.
We headed over to Champaign, IL on Friday afternoon. First was a stop at REI in Indianapolis. Cincinnati is getting one of these stores this fall, and we wanted to check it out in person. Very nice indeed. Picked up a few extra nutrition bars and back in the car to head to downtown Champaign for packet pickup and the Expo.
The Expo was small, not too many vendors, but the Jazz Apple people were there handing out apple samples and a free apple cutter. Very cute! Lindsey had mapped out a back route to our hotel which was 1/2 hour south of the city. This was the closest hotel we could find... but first..on the way out of town we grabbed some lunch at Atlanta Bread Company. (Remember when we used to have these in Cincy? I always liked them more than Panera!)
On the way to the hotel, we passed signs like the old Burma Shave signs posted by a place called gunssavelife.com They were very entertaining! Like
"DIALED 9-1-1 - AND I'M ON HOLD - SURE WISH I HAD - THAT GUN I SOLD"
but our favorite....
" ROSES ARE RED - MY GUN IS BLUE- I AM SAFE- HOW ABOUT YOU"
Hotel was comfortable and a quick trip to the IGA provided salads for dinner. 10:30 came around quickly and we needed to be up by 5:30 am to drive back to Univ. of Illinois campus and park. It was after dinner I realized.. my phone was missing.. GRRRR searched the rental car, searched the room, called the Expo and Atlanta Bread Company... bingo.. they found it and said they would lock it in the safe until I could return after the race. But in the stress of running around looking for my phone, I managed to eat an entire packet of Raisinettes..and I didn't even realize it???
We woke up to rain storms and 40 degree weather.. Ugh.. but by the time we got to the parking lot, the rain had stopped Yeah! It was chilly out, but the rain held off all day and it was actually perfect running weather.
Kudos to the entire city of Champaign Urbana for an extremely well run event. Great crowd support, water stations every mile, music on course , happy police protecting the street crossings....all of this made the running a little easier. At the point where the half marathoners split off from the full marathoners I got a little emotional. I had always left Lindsey at this point and headed in to finish my race. The thought of doing another 13.1 scared the shit out of me! Lindsey stayed with me until mile 18, motivating me and reminding me to look around and enjoy the journey. I was starting to drop behind her and while she was very willing to hang in until the end with me.. I knew I just wanted to be alone with this. I popped in my head phones and tried to use that as a distraction from the pain that was starting in my back.
I had run 20 miles during training but at 21 things got bad. My back seized up and I was reduced to walking. I panicked a little, started hyperventilating, and spent the next miles talking to myself and remembering to just breath. Once I got to 23 though I knew this was in the bag... I mean.. I only had a 5K left.. piece of cake right? I was able to start mixing in running with the walking.
Lindsey was waiting at the finish line and snapped a picture .. of me with my classic running pose of my head down on the ground... Is it any wonder my shoulders and neck are killing me today?