Friday, May 5, 2017

illinois marathon: 5k recap

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 to review find and write race reviews!

Angie, Andrey, me, Mel

See my previous post about the expo and pasta feed and head over to to read my shorter review of the 5k.

As previously mentioned, I had registered for the Full I-Challenge, which meant I would run the 5k Friday evening and the full marathon on Saturday morning.

Team Sparkle!

The Presence Health 5k had a start time of 7:30. According to the program, we were to be in our corrals at 7. I'm not sure why it never entered my mind that we would be running at night (when the sun would be setting haha). I didn't bring any reflective gear that I would normally wear at night, nor did I bring any lights. Luckily, it wasn't necessary, but usually I'd be more prepared. I thin my brain was just too much on the marathon to think much about the 5k haha.

On the way to the hotel from the expo, we went a different way than we got there, so we could easily get out of the parking lot. When we got back to the hotel we changed and I examined the parking lots map. Looked like on our way back I had unintentionally went by a parking lot that was close to the starting line, and would be easiest to access going back the same way rather than our initial trip, plus would cut down on pedestrian traffic.

This just made me laugh because my husband and I
had just watched an SNL skit about Papa Johns.

Headed towards the field!

We got back to the hotel around 5:45 and left about 6:15 and got to the parking lot 6:30ish. Parking was super easy and not a hassle at all, and there was a row of porta potties right there (which I think we both used... pretty sure I remember thinking how clean they were). Mom and I grabbed our gear and went to meet up with the other Pros. We were about 2 blocks from the start line. Mel was the first one there, so I tried looking for her in a sea of people. Usually orange is easy to spot, but being U of I, it was plentiful, but I found Mel easily enough. 

We chatted about the weather (being windy and colder than we were anticipating... but I'll take cold over hot any day). Soon Angie and Andrey had found us and we proceeded to chat and take photos. Angie brought the banner, so we went to the start line to take some photos with the four of us holding it. And of course there was a series of jumping photos which turned out really funny. 

Weather was in the low 50s at the start (feels like 47) and ended in the mid-40s with winds around 15mph. It was a little chilly, but ok for running. I was cold when we finished since I was sweaty and wet clothes usually means a cold post-race.

We wished one another luck, gave hugs and high-fives, and went to our corrals. We were scattered throughout. I was taking it easy, and my mom was one corral behind me, so I just went back with her to D. I think the corrals went up to H. They were VERY crowded. Trying to get back to D was difficult, as those trying to get into C were spilling out the walkway, so we went behind some bushes (following the lead of others) and were able to get into D without a problem. It was fairly open, so maybe it was just the first few that had a problem. I also wonder if they were anything like D, which had lots of spaces (people weren't getting close and friendly like at other races haha), so if they had pushed in more, maybe there'd be room? All speculation.

Anyway, we were behind the Sousaphone group... and were concerned. Were they marching and playing? Would we not be able to run because we'd get suck behind them? Turns out they weren't playing, and most seemed to run (pretty fast) carrying their sousaphone. It was quite impressive, really.

They sang the national anthem as well as Happy birthday to Alma (the whole theme around the race weekend was U of I's Sesquicentennial = 150th anniversary). Corrals were let loose about every 3 minutes I think. I don't remember much of the course. It was dark, and fairly crowded the entire way, even though we were running on streets so it was a wide course. There was one aid station with I believe just water. I didn't take any so I can't be sure, but seemed well-staffed with volunteers.

Me, Angie, Mel.

The course had volunteers all over the place and there was a good amount of spectators. I hadn't been down to U of I in exactly 10 years. I was trying to remember the bars we would go to when I visited friends, and where their apartments were at. It was funny how little I remembered... time does that doesn't it? (And no, don't say it's because I was drunk the whole time, that's simply not true haha). The course was well marked and had mile markers (though they were only on one side of the street, not always the same side, and they were a bit low, so if you were looking the wrong way, you probably missed them (or someone was running in front of you that you missed it). No biggie.

The cool part of the course was the finish. You got to run out onto U of I football field (Memorial Stadium) and finish on their 50yd line. At night. Pretty neat. After finishing, you received your medal and a bottle of water.

After we finished, mom and I waited in line for our photo and then met Angie and Mel (who I had spotted right after finishing) in the stands to go grab some food. Post-race snacks were inside the stadium, so you had to go up the stairs in the stands to get there. Food included bananas, Nature Valley granola bars, and 1/2 a Jimmy John's sub. I got the last turkey with mayo (they said more were coming), but they also had turkey no mayo, which I would have taken, and Ham (which I don't like, so yay for turkey). Delightful thing to eat as I was hungry after the race, but it was small enough that I knew it would be ok to be eating it at 8 or whatever time it was that it wouldn't upset my stomach for the next day. We eventually made it outside where the 4th Mile Party was, and where it suddenly seemed so darn cold. We waited in line for some cake while Mel went to buy a sweatshirt so she could be warm. After cake Angie decided to go grab a beer, but I was cold and wanted to get ready for the morning, so my mom and I left with Mel (we dropped her off at her hotel).

Loving our BibRave Pro Captain bags.

Behind the scenes of making a "flat runner".

I showered and then started gathering gear for the morning. I took my flat runner (and realized I never took one for the 5k! Being a night race had me out of my usual routine), joked around with Angie, and eventually we all went to bed with I think it was a 4:30/45am wake up call, as we figured we should leave around 5:45 to get to the race and Angie and I were good with about an hour to get ready (at home I only need a half hour, but sharing a bathroom and having to fill up my hydration pack with bottled water warranted a little extra time haha).

We take our Flat Runners very seriously and do what needs to be done.

Flat Runner for Illinois Marathon.

And next up - the marathon recap! Ahhhhh! This was just a 5k and it was wordy haha, just wait for how long a marathon recap will be. I surprisingly have never written one (because I'm wordy and therefore always put it off... which means I never get to it ha). Brace yourselves. A long recap is coming.

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