Drove down Friday night with the fam, got packet and checked in hotel easily. Got dinner and then we were off to bed by 10 pm. We got a two double room and my friend Tia bunked with us... however, they wouldn't let a rollaway in the room so we made our poor child sleep on a makeshift bed out of a chair and two ottomans. We all zonked out however I kept fighting for sleeping real estate in the double bed.
Morning of, got to the start line (Abe Lincoln Museum) at 7am for the group pace pic.The pacers were all really cool and I met some runners who were planning to run with us right off the bat. The start is really easy to get you even if you drive in same day. There is lots of parking and it is the perfect sized race to be able to get excited by the atmosphere but also not be overwhelmed by the size.
Made a quick potty break, took a pic with Abe/MaryTodd and we were off. [sidenote: my high hopes of my Mary Todd headdress was a bit of a #costumefail. But for the record... this is what i was going for]
We decided with our group that our primary plan was to Run 3min/Walk 2min and bank a few minutes on the first half of the race. We had about 5-6 people that were with us right from the beginning and a handful of people "floating" around us. As someone who never has committed to a pacing group, i have "floated"around pacers many times. Not quite interested in being part of the group but want to linger around them to see if i can hang or use pacers as my "can't go that slow" marker. However, after this experience, I definitely want to try to committing to pacer groups for a marathon.
Anyways, back to the race. The course is beautifully laid out running by all of the main Lincoln Sites. First half of the course is flat going past: You pass the Lincoln Home (with a few gravel streets), New and Old State Capital and residential streets in the first half. Our pace was right on and the group was great. Here are some pics of the crew on the first half.
|IT band had nothing on her today!|
|Heather and Hubby. 4 mths pregnant and still rocking!|
|Approaching new Capital|
|Mother/Daughter team seeing Son/Brother|
Second half of the race is much hillier than the first. There are 3-4 major hills and we figured we would adjust our pace accordingly. We decided to run down hills regardless of it is was time to walk and then walk up the hills. We ran through the outskirts of downtown and also through the cemetery of Lincoln's Tomb. The ladies were holding strong until we hit mile 11 as the wind REALLY started to pick up. They were projecting 20 MPH wind gusts and i wouldn't have been surprised if they were that strong. The last few miles winded through a park and were pretty scenic however the wind was a killer. At this point, the group spread out a little big b/c the hills and wind were fairly annoying. I tried to run back to some of the group at water stops/walking breaks which I was happy I had enough energy to do so! (after the race, my GPS said i ran 13.5 miles so definitely had some backtracking). All the people that ran with us were awesome, fun and great company. There was one girl that stuck with me the entire 13.1 miles and she was great! A fellow Chicagoan and ran Chicago last year, we had great conversation and a lot of fun!
|Looking good at mile 9|
|Approaching Lincoln's Tomb|
The race is really well organized and operated really smoothly. As someone who is so used to lakepath courses with tight paths and oncoming traffic/bikes to compete with, it is such a breath of fresh air to run on a course that was so spacious. I honestly didn't think about "traffic" once. It was great.
Overall, such a fun race and perfect time for me to pace. My pacing partner was awesome and really helped me learn the ropes! I learned a lot from the experience and definitely will be back to do it again. The pace coordinator is such an awesome guy and so grateful he asked me to be part of the crew. The rest of the day we spent visiting the historical sites and look forward to some family golf tomorrow!
|Me and Melanie- Sole Sistas! (thanks for the Tshirt. Love it!)|
|Coldstone Celebration! (Scott, Nick, Tia, Me and J)|
***For Chicago Runners or anyone that might contemplate if this race is worth the trip/drive, this race should definitely be on your radar to do at least once and a DEFINITE if you haven't been to the new Lincoln Presidential Museum. I have been there 3 times in the last 4 years and love it. I do love Mr. Lincoln and have read a half a dozen books about him (including Goodwin's Team of Rivals), however, i think anyone can appreciate how amazing the museum is. The museum along with the well run and organized race, it is worthy of a weekend getaway. And anyone that plays golf, there are great cheap courses down here too! (Look for me in Compression Socks at The Rail tomorrow!)