You may recall that back in January I set two 2011 half marathon goals. I wanted to PR (1:50:30) and break 1:50. I ran this race with an IT Band injury last year (1:59) and it completely sucked. I am proud to tell you (finally) that I crushed both goals last weekend! I had the perfect race.
At the very last minute the wife and I decided to find a hotel near the race....surprisingly, we found one! We drove to the expo Friday night, picked up our packets, and made a few rounds through the booths and shopping area. As much as I love this race, I really think they could do a better job with the expo...and the race shirt. But, I shall not gripe about the perfect race.
We woke up Saturday morning bright and early....ready to make it happen. The weather was a little chilly, but I was sporting some new arm warmers, so I was all good.
We both found our way to the start line...saying hello to a Boston Marathoner on the way!! While we were hanging out waiting for the race to start we also stumbled upon a few other folks...my friend KC and her husband GC! KC and I occasionally run together during the weeks....she also ran Boston! She ran Illinois just for kicks...mostly because it's a race that she'll do every year. I also saw a few other folks that I knew. One of them is a guy named Mike. Mike is an amazing success story of a lifestyle transformation. He has provided me with a lot of motivation as I have moved through my own transformation.
Seeing Mike there really made me wonder how many other runners were there that day saying goodbye to a lifestyle that was unhealthy, depressing, and no fun. My motivation spiked....I was ready to rock it!
My goal for this race was to finish in the upper 1:40s. I was thinking something like 1:47. As the race kicked off I stuck with KC and GC. It really felt like a normal weekday training run. My pace was very comfortable....we all kept looking at our Garmins and announcing that we were running a sub-8:00 min/mile pace....but it felt so good that we kept it up. In fact, we kept getting faster. The first 10 miles flew by...I've never felt so good during a 10 mile run. The next few miles even felt good....it was awesome.
We finished our last mile at 6:40-ish! This course finishes on the college football field. We sprinted out the final 50 yards and I felt super. I was actually wondering if I should have kicked it in a bit more and finished under 1:40! Next time!
Here's a little self-portrait postrace action
The best part about this race? It was for my bro. Every single step. When I felt like I needed some extra motivation to push forward, I looked at my hand.
Thanks for the motivation bro. Be safe and watch your 6 while you are over there. This one was for you.