Saturday my sister and I drove up to Wisconsin so I could take her back home. We didn’t stop at the World’s Largest Truck Stop near Davenport, Iowa, but we did stop to see the new neighborhood she is moving into!
After dropping my sister off, I decided to drive back to Rockford that night instead of staying in Wisconsin. I didn’t want to make the 2 hr drive at 4:30 in the morning on Sunday. Great choice! I stayed at the Studio Plus hotel after Travelocity booked me at a sold out hotel. Shuttling between hotels wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do at 10 p.m. the night before a race, but it all worked out. For the sake of others who may consider staying in Rockford – book early, soccer tournaments are always buying up the hotel spaces!
The expo for the Rockford Marathon was, to be brutally honest, grim. You grabbed your bib and t-shirt and that was it. There were two stands – one for a medal display rack and one for the pace groups. At least I was in-and-out in less than 10 minutes! I know it was a smaller race, but coming directly from the Flying Pig Marathon I couldn’t help but wish there was at least a running store sponsor or some kind of nutrition product giving away free tastes!
Race day I woke up in a funk. I had gotten to bed pretty late, hadn’t really prepared, and was going into the race with some pretty sad training runs. I had been doing 9:30, even 9:45 min pace on almost all of my runs these last two weeks after the marathon. I didn’t have high expectations going into it. As a small town race, there also weren’t many spectators and there was no entertainment along the course. With the heat and boredom, I thought it would be all I could do just to finish this race.
Luckily, one step after crossing the start line I met Kathy! She had just run the Little Rock marathon and I had just read a race report about it on Dan’s Marathon. In unison, we both said “the medals were the size of dinner plates!” I ended up running with her for 12.5 miles until the half and the full marathon split.
What a gem! She was just lovely. Having also lost 50+ lbs and also working toward running in all 50 states, we had a lot to talk about. Toward the end, she did most of the talking though because I was was running on fumes for the last 5k. She held a great pace and really pushed me. I told her, “I’ll run with you until mile 5 and then I might have to slow it down.” Then it was mile 8, then mile 10, and finally I told her she had to run me in! She was just the enthusiasm and motivation I needed for the race!
At mile 12.5 she headed off to finish the rest of the full marathon, but by this point we had caught up with one of her running buddies Tim, who ran with me that last mile. Those two really pushed me in and I finished in just under two hours at 1:59:22! While that wasn’t quite a PR, it was only my second time finishing under 2:00! I also finished 5th in my division, out of 31! This was a huge victory for me because I never suspected age awards would ever be in my grasp. I might have some new goals to train for!
The race was also a success because I ran into two high school teachers. One I had as a teacher only for the second semester of my senior year. I’m surprised he recognized me because I barely made it to class that semester. I was so grateful to have run into him because I was finally able to personally deliver a much needed apology. Full of senioritus, I skipped class more often than I attended back then, and it was so nice to let him know I felt bad for slacking as a student, but that I went on to graduate college with honors and a job!
The rest of the weekend was just as fun, but I’ll save that for another post!
What races have you done that turned out to be surprisingly more successful or fun than you went into expecting?