My first relay race was Ragnar Relay Chicago in June 2012.  On Sunday I completed a marathon relay and got to cross it off this list.

There were 8 girls doing this relay race (two teams: Pink Ladies and Faster than Snails).  One of my teammates offered to drive to Urbana-Champaign (about 2 1/2 hours from Chicago) and we left Friday afternoon.  There were two girls from the other team so it was nice to meet them and talk to them.  They had food and I snacked on crackers, hummus, and sweet potato chips.

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We arrived to pick up our bibs and to check out the expo.  It was OK but does not compare to the Chicago Marathon or RnR expos.

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I almost bought this headband.

After the expo we went to Destihl for dinner.  The food was delicious!  We had a few appetizers to start off along with beer.  For dinner I had pasta with spicy thai shrimp.  The rest of the teammates met us there and we all had a lovely time.  We then said goodbye because it was late and we still had to check in the hotel and get our stuff ready for the next day.

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From L to R: Lety, Liz, Rocio, Fabiola, me, Angie. We were missing Ana and Arasally.

As I was getting my things ready for the next day, I realized that I had forgotten my socks.  I had originally packed everything in my Apera bag.  I switched to a bigger bag because all of my things wouldn’t fit but left my socks in one of the pockets. Luckily, I borrowed a pair from a teammate.

I checked the temperature and got really nervous because all I saw was rain, rain, and more rain.

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I slept good Friday night.  I was up at 5am and got ready.  I shared a room with 2 other girls so I waited for them to get ready before heading out to get something to eat.  The hotel provided us with a  free continental breakfast.  Love it when hotels do that.  I had coffee and a waffle.  Not too much but enough for a 6.7 run.

It was cold and drizzling.  I was hoping the rest of the rain would hold off till AFTER the race.  It didn’t.  There was a long line to get to the parking lot.  One of the girls was familiar with the area and told us of a shortcut.  We parked the car and got out to meet up with Ana and Lety.  We quickly got a team picture and since I was runner #1, I headed over to the start line.

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Team Faster than Snails From L to R: Ana, me, Lety, Rocio

I don’t remember hearing the National Anthem but I realized the race was about to start.  I walked over to the start line, got in the corral and off I went.

I don’t remember too many specifics of my part of the race.  Here is what I do remember:

  • I felt really good the first two miles.  Unfortunately, I do not know my splits because the Nike + app in my phone did not work.  I turned it on but somehow it turned off.
  • I felt tired after the first water station.
  • The volunteers were wonderful!
  • The crowd support made me happy.
  • I would run, walk, and repeat.
  • It started to rain and I had forgotten to wear my visor.
  • I was running in new shoes and they felt really good.  Ha, little did I know what was happening in my right foot (too much callus remover and a lot of water is NOT a good combination).
  • One water station was after mile 2 and the next one was after mile 4.  That worked out for me since I had a short run but not sure if marathon and half marathon runners will agree with me.
  • Between mile 5 and 6 there were signs along the course with several facts about the University.   I don’t remember the exact words but I do recall reading about REO Speedwagon, PayPal, YouTube, and a Nobel Prize Winner.

I saw a sign on the floor and I thought it was the the 6 mile marker.  I told my teammates I would send them a text when I got there since the exchange was at mile 6.7.  There the volunteers were giving out oranges.  Yummy!  Up ahead I saw the actual mile marker. Oh well.

Finally, I saw the exchange spot.  I removed my belt and put it on the next runner.  I was done but I was also very cold.

We got in the car and drove to the next exchange which was about 10 minutes away.  It was raining so much harder and I felt bad for the runners.  Runner #3 got her stuff ready and then we left to meet runner #2.  We finally got a text from her that she was at mile 13.

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Runner #2 is done!

Two legs done and two more to go.  The next exchange took a bit longer.  I drove this time because the owner of the car was running.  I am OK driving but get nervous driving other people’s cars.  Luckily, nothing happened and we arrived at the next exchange spot.  Lety was nice enough to get coffee for the both of us.  It felt good to drink something warm.  Earlier I had changed my top but left my skirt. I was getting colder so I changed into capris.  Not sure why I didn’t do that before.

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Love my colorful shoes!

We got a text from Rocio that she was at mile 20.  We were meeting her at 20.5. One of the volunteers told us that the race was cancelled because of the weather. We were like “What?!?”  We couldn’ believe it.  We kept walking and asked another volunteer and she was not aware of the news.  Ana was the last runner and she said that she would run no matter what.  We saw Rocio and Ana took off to complete the race.  We told Rocio what we were told about the race.  On our way to the finish line, Ana sent us a text.  Yes, the race was cancelled and time would not matter.  She would keep going till the buses arrived.  She called me and I  asked her if she wanted us to pick her up. She said no and I told her that we would meet her before the entrance of Memorial Stadium.

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It was raining even harder.  We arrived at the stadium and went inside.  It was pure chaos.  There were so many people there.

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Definitely not a signage you want to see at a race.

While waiting for Ana, I used the bathroom and got some pizza.  There was also water, bananas, and bags of pretzels.  She texted us at mile 24.  We waited a little bit before heading out to meet her so that we could cross the finish line together. While waiting we cheered for the runners.  Some looked tired, cold but also excited to be almost done.  We waited and finally saw her.

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We ran inside the stadium.  We held hands and crossed the finish line together. Finally done!

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Our finish time is 4:29:47.

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Even with the nasty weather we all had a great time!  We made the best of it and felt thankful for being able to participate in this race.  We ran, laughed, motivated and helped each other out.  And the rain did not stop us.  Definitely teamwork!  We had so much fun that we are already planning to do it again next year.

Have you ran a relay race?  Which one and how was it?

9 comments on “Illinois Marathon Relay”

  1. Congrats to your team for finishing, despite the terrible conditions! I follow the race on FB so I heard about the cancellations on Saturday. That would be so frustrating!

    I ran the Illinois Marathon relay in 2013, and like you, was the first leg! And I think we ate at Destihl after the race – they’re pretty good!

    • I am so happy I did the first leg but then felt bad for the rest of my teammates. Luckily the weather wasn’t much worse (tornado, lightning) and we got to finish it.

      Destihl was very good! Everything was delicious.

  2. I love the IL Marathon and it will probably be my first marathon post pregnancy. Great job finishing in those conditions!

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