I'm not sure when I decided to do this half marathon. It was one that I always wanted to do but Springfield, IL isn't that close so I would have to go the night before. I not one of those people that can drive 3+ hours on a race morning. Looking back at my entry confirmation, I registered on February 28th and my total cost was $50. I was able to secure a room at the host hotel (the Double Tree) for only $97. This is also where packet pickup would be and a two block walk to the start/finish area.
Being the frugal person that I am, I packed all my food for the entire trip; dinner that night, race breakfast, food and snacks for after the race and the drive home. Always having my own food means 1) I will have things that I can eat and that will agree with my digestive system 2) the more money I save on food, the more money I can spend at the Expo...cause, you know, I need more race stuff.
I also had packed my lunch for work that day since I would be working most of the day and only leaving a few hours early. Thus I carried in THREE lunch bags that morning!
I made pretty good time getting to Springfield aside from encountering this accident. It didn't appear that anyone was hurt, thankfully.
On the way there I never even stopped to pee! (who was I on that drive?)
It was drizzling when I arrived at the hotel and there weren't any carts so I had to make numerous trips up to the room to get all my stuff in there. The gentleman at the front desk - after giving me my complementary cookie - told me there were three options for parking; valet (no thank you), the garage that was "connected' to the hotel was $7 for 24 hours, or street parking that - because it was after 6:00PM - was free the rest of the weekend. FREE?!?! Yes, please. I found a spot just on the other side of the parking garage and was set! * I later discovered that this was a smartest thing to do because people were trapped in the garage after the race. The gates weren't working properly.
So after getting all my stuff to the room, I headed down to the Expo. Not many vendors but I did find a booth that was selling the travel "Stick" so I bought it. It helped that it was also on sale. Do you have one of these? If not you really should get one. They are fabulous. https://www.thestick.com/
Personally I liked the shirt. "If you build it, they will run" (a play on the Field of Dreams, "If you build it, they will come.")
Back up to my room to heat up my dinner, get things ready for in the morning and then just relax.
RACE MORNING (April 2nd)
A group photo with the 50 States Half Marathon club had been scheduled by I opted to sleep a little while longer instead.
Got this text from my husband which made me smile. Every time I leave for a race, he / "they" (the dogs) say this to me:
I wasn't 100% sure where the start line was from the hotel but figured I'd just follow other runners. The initial problem was - while looking out my window - I saw people walking in EVERY direction! Then there was the debate on gloves vs. no gloves. I brought them and a throw away but just wasn't sure if I needed gloves. As I made my way to the lobby, people were dressed for sub-zero weather. I began to worry that I was going to be cold and had chosen the "no glove" option.
I was even more worried about how the wind would play a factor in the day.
I found my way to the start line and assessed the situation. After being there for just a little bit and with the hotel so close, I decided to go back and get my gloves.
Made it back in plenty of time before the actual start and got some pictures.
|The original State Capitol Building|
|I think this guy ran with this thing on him the entire time...and probably finished super fast as well!|
|They call this "Abey" Road|
I think I remember that there was a cannon firing to start the race but I'm not 100% sure of that now! I do remember thinking that the start - other than the cannon - was a little unceremonious in that there wasn't a banner or arch. And we literally made a left turn not even a block into the start. I'm a little puzzled as to why they don't just start it on the road differently unless it is because THIS (Abey Road) painted on the street represents the start banner. But the timing mat isn't until we turned. I don't know. I'm still puzzled.
Barely into the run, we go through the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. People were dressed up in period pieces and this is where we first saw Abe, himself and Mary Todd. One of my goals was to get a picture with Abe so I ran over to take a selfie with him. Mary Todd had been yelling at people to keep running and to not stop but I was near the end and didn't care. I was stopping!
Here is a description from the website of the rest of the course:
Runners will start the race heading south on Sixth Street, pass the Old State Capitol, then turn east over to the Lincoln Home site, head back downtown and towards the State Capitol, wind their way to Washington Park, loop through the park and exit on Lincoln Avenue.
After heading north for more than a mile on Lincoln, runners will head back to the east and over to the Oak Ridge cemetery, where they will pass the Lincoln Tomb. For Abe’s Amble veterans, there will some familiar terrain as the course loops through Lincoln Park before heading back downtown.After having gone through the Lincoln Home site section of the course I wish I'd gone exploring rather than just lounging in my hotel room the night before. I was hoping that I could make it back after the race. SPOILER: I did not!
Although I didn't think it was that cold, my phone obviously did. I was able to take the traditional "2 Mile Marker" picture and send it to my friends and a couple of other pictures but then...it once again shut down and could not be powered back up. There were lots of interesting things to photograph along the course so I was just going to have to drive some of it before heading for home and get my pictures that way.
|The State Capitol - one of the last photos I was able to take during the race.|
The following pictures are "in order" of the course but from me having gone back and driving it afterward:
WASHINGTON PARK - this was a very large park and beautiful. I couldn't get back to all of the things we ran past because some of the streets were still blocked off.
The three pictures above are of the Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon. I wished I'd been able to hear it chime. http://carillon-rees.org/
The next point of interest was Oak Ridge Cemetery where Lincoln is laid to rest.
Then we ran through Lincoln Park. This park isn't as big as Washington Park but was also beautiful. There was a non-race organized (I think) aid station and they were handing out popsicles here. It wasn't really warm enough to need a popsicle but I was a little hungry so I thought the sugar might be good for me and took one.
As we were headed back into town and the finish line, I noticed this mural.Another slow race for me but I finished nonetheless. The wind played some factor in the day. As luck would have it, whenever it was at my back I think I was walking so that was no help at all.
I headed into the post-race festivities area and saw that people were standing in line to get a photo with Abe and Mary Todd. Since my phone was dead, this was a problem. So I quickly grabbed a chocolate milk and a couple of other snacks and hurried back to my hotel room to plug the phone in for about 5 minutes. I didn't want to dilly dally too long. My guess was that there weren't too many people still out on the course. I didn't want to miss the opportunity to get a picture with them because all the finishers had come in and they were done.
Back over to the finish area and thankfully there was still a line. The lady in front of me was a "single" as well so we agreed to take each other's photo.
|You can't really tell in this photo but Abe is wearing bib #16 |
(since he was our 16th President) and Mary is wearing #16 1/2.
|The nose looks discolored because people rub it for good luck.|
When I posted the picture of me, Abe and Mary Todd on Instagram and Twitter, I got a "like" from Abe himself!This was a good race and I'd love to go back - and bring my brother - and do it again. I was surprised that they didn't have a little more "themed" stuff along the course but other than that, it was a good race.