Disclaimer:  I received a free entry to the Illinois Marathon part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find and write race reviews!

Whew!  It was an interesting weekend.  The weather was perfect after battling with Mother Nature with the never ending winter.  However, my race didn’t go as I planned.  I didn’t run the marathon but instead ran the half marathon.

Let’s go back to Friday before the race.  I worked for 1/2 day and then drove to Champaign.  It took me about 3 hours to get there.  No big deal.  

I arrived at the Activities and Recreation Center to pick up my bib at the expo.  The expo was pretty small.  I didn’t buy anything but did sign up to be a bone marrow donor for Be The Match.

Found a picture of the course and saw Abe Lincoln.  🙂

Later that evening I went out to dinner with some friends at Old Chicago Pizza and Tap Room.  I had pizza and pretzel sticks.  We didn’t stay out too late and I think we left around 9pm.  Earlier in the day I got my stuff ready for the race and that night I double checked to make sure I had everything I needed.

The next day my alarm went off at 5am.  I got ready and then went to Dunkin Donuts for coffee and a bagel.  It was cold.  I knew it would warm up and was glad to see lots of sunshine in the forecast.

I parked in the lot and stayed in my car to stay warm.  Finally I got out to use the port-a-potty and to check in my gear.  I saw a few friends and we talked for a bit and got more excited about my race.  I took one huma gel at about 6:50am.  The plan was to take one every 4 miles. 

I ran into Amanda (another BibRave Pro) and it was great to finally meet her.  Then it was time to run!

My plan was to start running “slow” and then pick up the pace after the 13 mile marker.  I was enjoying the warm sun and soaking it all in.  I was FINALLY running a marathon that I had trained for a very long time.  Training that took me outside running in very cold weather this winter.  Finally everything was coming together.

I took another gel at mile 4.  Still feeling good.  I made sure to drink water at the water stations.  Then after mile 6 my stomach began to hurt.  I felt like I had to use the bathroom.  I decided to walk a little and hoped that I would feel better.  I didn’t.  I kept walking and knew I was in trouble.  I could feel my heart beating fast but couldn’t understand why since I was WALKING.  I then got very tired, had some trouble breathing, and struggled to run.  There was some wind but nothing worse that what I had encountered during my training.  I wasn’t cold since I had a jacket.  By mile 9 I knew I wasn’t going to finish the marathon.

I was in tears and was so mad.  I was angry because I trained so hard for this marathon.  Angry because instead of allowing this anger to push me to keep going, I was allowing it to mess with my head. 

Yep, I went left. 

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The finish line was inside Memorial Stadium.  I got my medal and went up the stairs to the Great West Hall to get some food.

I didn’t stay there too long and then went back to the hotel to shower.  Afterwards I met a few Oiselle gals for brunch at Big Grove Tavern.

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I spent the weekend trying to figure out what went wrong.  Did I panic?  Did I get nervous/scared?  Was I a wimp and decided to take the easy way out by running 13.1 miles instead of 26.2?  Did I start off too fast?  Too many questions and honestly I am not even sure I will figure it out.  Below are my splits.

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Thanks to Athlinks I added another race to my profile.  I have now run 158 races (69 half marathon)!

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By Monday I decided to just let it go and stop thinking about it.  Regardless I still ran a half marathon and I should be proud of it.  

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I thought the race was well organized.  The half marathon course was pretty flat.  There weren’t too many spectators and the ones that were there did a good job cheering for us.  The best part was seeing a guy on a unicorn bike blowing bubbles.  🙂

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Source: https://www.instagram.com/jenhawleyprice/

So what’s next?  My next races are a 10K on the 20th for the Chicago Spring Half Marathon and the Soldier Field 10 Mile on the 26th.   I would like to continue running a half marathon in each state.  I will be running in CO in October which will make it state #39.

For now I don’t plan on running a marathon anytime soon.  I am signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon but plan to transfer my bib, so if you are interested in a bib, let me know.

Linking up with MarciaPatti, and Erika for Tuesdays on the Run.


24 Comments on Illinois Half (of a Marathon) Race Recap

  1. Ugh I’m bummed for you. You trained so hard. Why no Marine Corps?? That’s such a great race I hate to see you miss out.

    • Thanks Marcia. Right now I have no desire to run long mileage. I would love to PR in the half marathon, 5k, and 10k so will be focusing on those.

  2. I know you are bummed but the good thing about this situation is that there was actually a half marathon going on at the same time and you had an option to complete that race instead. Imagine all the people who opt not to finish a marathon and have no other race option. Good for you for sticking out the half! Be proud of that.

  3. Oh wow, I am so sorry. You trained really hard & in all sorts of weather. Sometimes we just never know the reasons a race goes south — sometimes there really aren’t any reasons. And yes, you should be proud of running a half — wtg finding the silver lining.

  4. I’m so sorry it didn’t go as planned. Race day is such a random event. Good luck with your races this month, and which race are you doing in October? You know we have a great group of birds here in CO.

  5. I’m so sorry about your race, but congrats on finishing the half marathon! I think trusting your body was the right choice, though I know it wasn’t an easy decision to make.

  6. I am so so so sorry that happened. You still ran 13.1 miles – that is still badass! Take some time to recover (both mentally and physically) and get back right on the horse. Sometimes our biggest victories come right when we least expect it. Hang in there! xx

    • Thank you! For now I will be running whenever I feel like it. I do have two half marathons in the fall. I would like to race one and run the other one.

  7. Making the choice to go left had to be hard, but like you said…YOU ran a half marathon!! It sounds like you might have figured out that half the right distance for you too. I never had ANY desire to run full marathons 😉 I’m only half crazy!

    • Haha! Thanks. Yeah, half marathons are more manageable. Plus the training is so much “easier”.

  8. Oh, bummer! But, you still finished the half, so that is indeed a silver lining to embrace. Race day can be such a crap shoot…I have had numerous races that I was prepared for, but nothing came together for me on the race course itself. As frustrating as it is, I find comfort (??) in knowing it happens to everyone, and it makes all the great races that much more significant.

    • Thank you. The training was tough but challenging. At least I have a great base and excited to see what comes next.

  9. I am so sorry Zenaida 🙁 You know that I experienced something similar in Chicago, but I foolishly suffered for hours to finish the race. If there was a half marathon option, I would have dropped out of the marathon and done that, so I totally think you did the right thing.

    • Thanks Kim. I know you know what it is like to put in the training and then for race day to not go as expected. ♥️

    • My favorite brand is Brooks. But there are many other brands to choose from now. My advice is to go to a running store and get fitted for shoes. They’ll recommend the best ones for you.

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