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Illinois Marathon - RunMarathon

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Champaign, Illinois
United States
35F / 2C
Total Time = 3h 40m 10s
Overall Rank = 347/1619
Age Group = F30-34
Age Group Rank = 10/73
Pre-race routine:

Caravanned down the day before with Chris (coredump) and Laura (Whizzzz). We stopped in at my office (I'm in the Chicago area but we have an office in Urbana) and said hello to everyone, went to packet pick-up, and then went to my co-worker's house. She was really excited about the race, had decided to walk the half marathon (having never done anything like this before), and was putting on a pre-race pasta potluck for everyone. She was also my gracious host for the weekend. After everyone went home we went over the chip for her shoe, layering, bib numbers, etc and then I got in bed around 11:00.
Event warmup:

Woke up a little after 5:30 and got dressed. We ate breakfast, headed to the race and waited at gear check for Chris, Laura, Alaina (jazzwithnumbers), and Ryan (yeats). We never saw Laura and Chris, but after meeting up with Alaina and Ryan we headed to the start area. I realized I needed to pee one more time, but the lines to the porta potties were a mess. They lined up right into the start corral. I couldn't deal so I told Karen (my co-worker) I was going to look for a bush. I ran off and and realized I didn't give her a hug or anything for the start. Too late now. I found a bush and mid-business realized I was in clear view of the buses going by on a street about 15 yards away. Oops. I finished up, ran back over to the start area and crowded in with everyone else.
  • 3h 40m 10s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 08m 24s  min/mile

There was a lot of energy in the start corral, as well as a lot of navy and orange. U of I people have some serious pride I tell ya. We joked around and were grateful for the warmth of being packed in since it felt like the 20s with the wind and we were all scantily clad in our 50* running gear. Eventually we listened to the national anthem and then the announcer counted down the start. "10...9...8...therestofthenumbers...GO!" And then we stood there. After a couple of seconds the guy standing next to me yelled, "My world hasn't changed at all!" As soon as the words were out of his mouth the mass of humanity in front of us began to move - falteringly at first but with increasing momentum. And then we were off.

I tried hard to keep the pace I had planned on in training. I was a few seconds fast, but overall was pretty close to my target. I felt calm and my pace felt controlled. I could tell my legs would like to go faster, but I kept them reigned in. I also made sure to thank every volunteer I saw on the course for being out there. This race almost didn't happen due to lack of volunteers and the community really stepped up. I wanted them to know we appreciated it.

About seven miles in I started running with a guy name Mike and we chatted. We ended up running together for the next 10-12 miles or so and my pace was solidly where it should be. Around mile 17-18, when I lost Mike, it started getting tough. We were on the back side of the course and the wind had really kicked up. Most of the last several miles were into the wind and it seemed like there were a lot more false flats in the second half than there had been in the first half. I had a really slow mile - 8:40. I forced myself to focus and try to keep pace under 8:30 for the next few miles. I pulled it off, but I could tell I was digging way too deep with two miles still left. I hoped to push through and keep it up anyway, but my legs put the smackdown on that plan. The consequences of my attempt were swift and sure. I was back at an 8:40 mile only now it hurt far worse than it had before (which didn't seem possible). The wheels were definitely starting to fall off.

I had let go of my goal finish time (3:36-3:37) and focused on what pace I had to run for a BQ (3:40). As I entered the stadium I suddenly heard Laura screaming "Go Kelly. RUN!!" Although I think she was just screaming loudly to cheer me on I felt like I could hear the panic in her voice that I was feeling. I knew it would be close and I knew they knew it would be close. I mustered everything I had (I'm still not sure where it came from) and picked it up just a bit.

The run through the stadium involved two left hand turns to get you to the two far corners of the field and then a straightaway into the finish. When I turned the first left I glanced at my watch (3:39:XX) and at the finish clock (3:39:XX).


I focused straight ahead and ran as hard as I could. As I turned the last left into the finishing stretch I looked at the finish clock and watched in desperation and horror as the time ticked away and I felt Boston slipping through my fingers for a second time. And AGAIN it would be by mere seconds.

3:40:54, 3:40:55

Please, please, please.

3:40:56, 3:40:57, 3:40:58


3:40:59, 3:41:00

And then I stepped under the clock and onto the finishing mat.

Mile splits:
1 08m 06s
2 08m 15s
3 08m 06s
4 08m 07s
5 08m 22s
6 08m 17s
7 08m 16s
8 08m 11s
9 08m 10s
10 08m 23s
11 08m 06s
12 08m 09s
13 08m 06s
14 08m 01s
15 08m 07s
16 08m 20s
17 08m 05s
18 08m 19s
19 08m 17s
20 08m 44s
21 08m 10s
22 08m 27s
23 08m 15s
24 08m 29s
25 08m 44s
26 08m 50s
27 05m 00s 08m 17s /mile (.6 miles according to my Garmin)
What would you do differently?:

I possibly could have started out just a bit slower, but I'm not sure just a few seconds a mile in some of the earlier miles would have made that much difference. I wasn't prepared for the wind in the second half. And I think I need to do longer long runs in training. I didn't start to really fall apart until I surpassed the longest distance I'd run in training and I think having forced my body through longer miles prior would have made me better prepared on race day. Overall though, this is about the strongest I've ever felt for a marathon and I did the best I could.
Post race
Warm down:

I had absolutely nothing left when I stepped across the finish line. I felt like I would pass out. Alaina was there almost immediately congratulating me. Shortly after I saw Chris and Laura. I needed to walk just a bit and then I finally started to calm down. Then the obsession began about whether I should trust my Garmin time (which said 3:40:21) or the clock time. Chris was adamant the clock was messed up because he'd seen it short out earlier and everyone agreed the Garmin doesn't bend time to make your run time look faster than it is so I should trust that. I couldn't breath easy until I saw the official results though.

After we all hung out for a bit Laura, Chris and I decided to head out and get something to eat before we headed home. As we were at lunch my mom called and looked up the official results for us all. 3:40:10. I made it. :)

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Wind, need longer long runs, all covered in "What would you do differently?"

Event comments:

I didn't give this race a 5 only because it was the inaugural running and there were a few logistical issues they still need to work out. Overall though, the race was very well run, it's a scenic course, had good crowd support, and will no doubt be a top notch race when they get a few more things worked out. I would definitely recommend it.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2009-01-25 12:00 AM
03:40:10 | 26.2 miles | 08m 24s  min/mile
Age Group: 10/73
Overall: 347/1619
Performance: Good
Course: All around the U of I campus and the Urbana-Champaign area.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2009-04-12 12:20 PM

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Wellington, North Island
Subject: Illinois Marathon
The picture above is (L-R): Alaina (jazzwithnumbers), Ryan (yeats), Laura (Whizzzz), Chris (coredump) and me.

The sports of running and triathlon have definitely blessed me by bringing some wonderful people into my life. It was a fun weekend and awesome to have good friends with me when I finally achieved a BQ. I'm glad we all made the trip down to do this event.

Edited by MissKelly 2009-04-12 12:28 PM

2009-04-12 5:10 PM
in reply to: #2079397

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, North Carolina
Subject: RE: Illinois Marathon

Awesome race!  You trained smart and pulled it off like a pro.  Congratulations on the PR and BQ.  Dad and I will be there when you cruise through Boston next year.

2009-04-12 5:26 PM
in reply to: #2079397

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Madison, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Illinois Marathon
Wow....nice run Kelly!! I want to be fast like you. Awesome job girl!
2009-04-12 5:29 PM
in reply to: #2079397

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Subject: RE: Illinois Marathon
Nice job Kelly!  I am always amazed at the ones that can run these distances.  I watched Mike's race this weekend too, but decided that they are all nuts for doing that race!

I do like to run (even if I am slow as molasses) so I may try to get back at it.  I may even try for a few halves in the next year or so.  SHHHHHH don't tell anyone though!
2009-04-13 6:20 AM
in reply to: #2079397

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Westchester, IL
Subject: RE: Illinois Marathon
Fast Kelly, Congrats. Sounds like a fun day.
2009-04-13 9:29 AM
in reply to: #2079397

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Subject: RE: Illinois Marathon
Great run.  Congrats on the BQ

2009-04-13 10:20 AM
in reply to: #2079397

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Silver member
Subject: RE: Illinois Marathon

See? FastKelly!

That was panic in my voice. I wanted to help push you down the field.  Chris was like... "She's got until 3:40:59" And I was like... "That's 29 seconds!!!!" And then we started talking about how far back you started from the line... blah blah blah... and well I guess none of that matters because the end result was just what you wanted! Laughing


And I'm glad I was able to be there to share it with you! At the good old U of I!!!

2009-04-13 11:49 AM
in reply to: #2079397

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Atlanta, Georgia
Subject: RE: Illinois Marathon
WOW, congrats!!!!!
Pretty nerve-wracking for the 'official' clock to be WRONG! Uugh!
2009-04-13 12:28 PM
in reply to: #2079397

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Ann Arbor, MI
Subject: RE: Illinois Marathon
YAH!! I KNEW you did it! Congrats on a stellar race! And it was AWESOME to finally meet you You rock!
2009-04-14 9:57 AM
in reply to: #2079397

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Extreme Veteran
Olathe, KS
Subject: RE: Illinois Marathon
CONGRATULATIONS! You were great out there! What a dramatic race report - those last few minutes must've been so nerve-wracking. But you did it! YAY!
2009-04-14 11:22 AM
in reply to: #2079397

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St Charles, IL
Subject: RE: Illinois Marathon

So glad that I was able to be there to see you finally hit your goal of BQ'ing! 

I must admit it was a little nerve wracking for me as well, with you being so close to the bubble, but you made it!

Hope the legs are feeling better by now and that you're able to get to that laundry soon.  :D


2009-04-14 11:31 AM
in reply to: #2079397

Iron Donkey
, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Illinois Marathon


The splits are VERY consistent!

2009-04-14 1:25 PM
in reply to: #2079397

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Ann Arbor, MI
Subject: RE: Illinois Marathon
Great work grinding out those last few hundred yards and getting that BQ! I did the same thing running in the middle of the road and probably adding the extra .4 miles. Run and learn, right? You're a champ!
2009-04-14 9:26 PM
in reply to: #2079397

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Canandaigua NY
Subject: RE: Illinois Marathon

Great race and congratulations on meeting your goal!  BQ! That is awesome!

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