Saturday, April 6, 2013

Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon Race Review

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
Weather was perfect.  It was the type of weather that was just a little bit chilly before the start but then when you start running, you were so happy you didn't wear a jacket.  i wore just my short sleeve shirt and was perfectly happy.  There were 6 aid stations on the course.  One of which was staffed by soldiers in uniform.  Very touching and one of the many ways that the race demonstrates the community supporting their runners. I do wish there was one more aid station and was a little bummed when they ran out of gatorade at one of the stations.  But, they had tons of gu along the course if that floats your boat. 

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
Last quarter of a mile, we picked up the pace and kicked it to finish right at 3:00:XX.  We were penny-ed and high fived the crew and I was excited to see the rest of the group come in. 

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!)


  1. Great job! And thanks for the recap, I hadn't heard about this race until just a couple weeks ago!

    1. Definitely check it out. Next year is the 50th anniversary so they are saying it is going to be the best year yet!

  2. You two were awesome pacers, right on the dot. Thanks for the encouragement both during and after - and btw - we hit the museum after the race and saw her hair piece. As soon as we saw it both Keith and I went, "Ah hah, that's what it is - it totally does look like it!" So, not a fail - maybe just a little obscure, but pretty!

    The wind really was brutal - I remember going into mile 7 the dust blowing in my eyes, yeesh! But it was still way nicer than lake front courses, you're right - I love the lake but this was just really nice and there was never worry about crowding or cars. There are some races so unsupported you have to wait for traffic to pass - they did an awesome job supporting runners.

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words! (and for noting the headdress :)

      Yes, the wind was really crazy esp at the end of the race. You really did great! Let's do it again next year!

  3. I have heard many good things about this race and would love to try it out someday. Kudos to you for pacing! And I love your hat!

    1. Thanks! I think it definitely is in my top 5 races!

  4. I ran the race too! The wind got worse as the morning went on! This was the hilliest race I have ever done! Great job pacing

    1. Yeah, those hills were killer. One of my runners had done the race a bunch of times so it was nice to have her keep telling us "that isn't the last one"... "there are two bigger hills ahead!" Even though I did it before, i clearly blocked out the hills fr my memory :)

      Congrats on your PR! You definitely will beat your time on a flat course!

  5. Wow! That's so great! I got to be a pacer for the first time today. It was quite the experience.
    Great job!

  6. How fun! The medal for that race looks excellent as well.

  7. Wonderful colors and organic natural forms. Reminds me of a painting like Rainy landscape, by Russian painter Kandinsky,, that I saw at, from where one can order a canvas print of it. Really good place to browse the painter’s work and other work similar to your style of painting.