Tuesday, April 18, 2017

illinois marathon race week

Disclaimer: I received an entry for Illinois Marathon to review as 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!


I can't believe that the big day is almost here. It seems so long ago that I chose my spring marathon and registered, and now suddenly, it's days away. You may or may not have noticed that I, as usual, fell off on my training recaps. I was doing going for the first few weeks, up till November, and then it went downhill. December was a a trip to Mexico, and then I was sick for basically the entire month and I did very little running. January came longer mileage, and suddenly here we are, at the middle of April. Anyway, all of my training runs were recapped on Instagram, so I don't feel too bad about not writing blog posts about it just repeating myself haha.


Overall, I am very happy with this training cycle, and I think if all goes well, I'll be getting a new PR on Saturday. My main goal is 6:10, but I would be so ecstatic if I could hit a 6 hour finish time (which is sort of the pacing requirement, but they say the finish line will stay open for 7 hour finisher, you'll just need to follow pedestrian laws as I think the streets open back up). I just finished my last training run and I'm feeling good.

I of course started looking at race weekend weather about a week ago. Yes, I know everything can change by the time the race appears, but I like to have a general sense of what we might get. And even a week later, it's still saying rain. Oh well - if it's warm that might feel good. I'm just hoping for light rain and not downpours, because squishy shoes are annoying haha. Also, it's calling for 20–30mph winds, so I might change my race goals a little. If I'm pushing against winds I think 6:10 will be what I'm chasing. Whatever comes, I'll make the best of it. Weather cannot be controlled, but my mindset and how I choose to deal with the hand we are dealt on race day can be. And I'll choose to be positive and happy. I did the training, now I just need to run the race. 

Here's some information you might find useful come race day.

Official Race Guide:
http://illinoismarathon.com/wp-content/uploads/RaceGuide.pdf?x16837
Basically, you'll find anything and everything you need to know in this guide.

Expo:
Thursday, April 20, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Friday, April 21, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

The expo will take place at the University of Illinois Activities and Recreation Center (ARC - 201 East Peabody Drive, Champaign, IL 61820) and feature national and local vendors, as well as national organizations and prominent running events. Most importantly, the expo is where you pick up your packet (race number, goody bag, and race shirt). Parking for the expo is at the State Farm Center, bordered by Kirby, First, and Fourth.

I received an email with my unique QR code today. If you haven't received yours yet, just keep an eye on your email (and check that Junk Mail folder). You'll grab your race number in Gym 2; you'll grab your race shirt and goody bag in Gym 1.


Guest Speakers:


Pasta Feed:
The awesome Biaggi’s Pasta Feed will be held on Friday, April 21, in Gym 3 at the Activities and Recreations Center (ARC) on the U of I campus. The pasta feed will run from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Come any time during that window to enjoy your meal.

Purchase a Pasta Feed ticket here.

Menu:
  • House Salad
  • Bread
  • Choice of Meat Lasagna or Penne Marinara*
  • Iced Tea / Lemonade
  • White Chocolate Bread Pudding or Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

$16 for adults, $7 for kids. (Note: The pre-race pasta feed is not included in your race entry fee.)

*If you need gluten-free pasta: Send Jan Seeley (jan@illinoismarathon.com) a note to reserve a gluten-free meal.

Tickets
You can pick up pre-purchased tickets in the lobby of the Activities and Recreation Center (ARC), where the expo is located. Additional tickets will be available for sale in the same location on a first-come, first-served basis.

Pasta feed speaker 
We are thrilled to welcome Marathon champion Dick Beardsley as our 2017 guest legend. Dick will give a brief talk at the pasta feed at 6 pm on Friday, April 21. Learn about Dick’s visit here.

Tracking
Track your favorite runner(s): http://illinoismarathon.com/logistics/tracking/

Course Maps
All the maps you need for race weekend can be found here: http://illinoismarathon.com/course-info/


Parking
We will have free parking for runners and spectators. See the map.

Hydration Stations/Gu & Snack Stations
There are 16 hydration stations on the course. Hydration stations will be stocked with water (all stations), Lemon-Lime Gatorade (most stations), and GU (at mile 6.7, which is shortly after marathon relay exchange zone A; mile 13; mile 17; and mile 21). Each GU station will have the following flavors of GU: vanilla bean, strawberry banana, and chocolate outrage. All flavors of GU have caffeine except strawberry banana.

Fruits on the course
There is also an official oranges stop (thank you, Meijer, for the oranges) at approximately mile 6, hosted by The Atkins Group. There is also an official oranges and banana stop at mile 21.5 (thank you, County Market and Meijer).

Toilets
Relax. There will be plenty of portable toilets at the start and even more along the entire course than in 2016. Course Porta-potties location/quantity map

Entertainment
You will not be able to run more than a couple of miles without being entertained by musicians, cheerleaders, or other performers. Check the entertainment page for more information as it develops.

Race Photography
Our official race photographer is MarathonFoto, the leader in sports photography around the world. Photos will be available for purchase shortly after the completion of your race.

ARC Day Pass
You can buy a day pass for ARC ahead of time online, or at the ARC lobby during expo hours. This pass gets you a locker and access to the facilities – pool, showers, weights – for $6. I'm very tempted to get one of these so I can shower before driving back to Chicago. The thought of being in the car two hours after running a marathon without a shower makes me feel gross haha.


Honestly, all of the information you need to know can be found on the website and race guide, but I thought it might be helpful to go over the main pieces you might want to know about. I am very impressed with how much info is provided online – not all races are as organized and communicate as well. Not to mention the emails keeping us up to date.


Who else is running a race that weekend? You'll find me at the expo Friday, the pasta feed around 5, the 5k Friday evening, and the marathon Saturday! I'll probably be in BibRave orange everywhere I go, and with my pal Angie at all times (except for racing, because she's faster) ;) 

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