Monday, April 06, 2009

Illinois Marathon this Saturday

ORN:  5.3 miles, R7/W1, 51:59, 9:49/mile, icy, pelting, snowy mix
Perhaps it will quit being exciting at some point in time, but, shoot, I sure enjoy race weeks.  This Saturday, it's the Illinois Marathon in Champaign/Urbana, two hours from home.  I enjoy the buildup, the contacts from the organizers, the planning, the packing, the anticipating.  I got my gear half-packed tonight, as a busy week at work is at hand (but hey, since when is a week at work NOT busy?). 
This will be my first 26.2 as a Marathon Maniac.  Looking forward to wearing my singlet for the first time.  I've had email contact with a couple of other MMs from the Chicago area who will be there.  There is a bit of pride that goes along with the shirt; hope I can do all the heavy-duty marathoners proud as well. 
One very funny thing arose when I looked closely at the course map.  For those of you who have never driven through central Illiniois, I must tell you the most striking feature of the area is the lack of striking features.  It is flat, flat, flat.  Great place to raise corn; one county just north of Champaign calls itself "The Buckle of the Corn Belt".  But flat.  Anyway, just below the course map is the usual elevation chart.  And, as usual, it had the expected sharp ups and downs, which surprised me.  Until I looked closely at the scale.  The maximum climb will be 85 feet between miles 9 and 13.  Yes, 85 vertigo-inducing, lung-busting, death-defying vertical feet spread evenly over four full miles.  My calves ache just thinking about it!  Yep, this is the midwest. 
Bloggers are also so helpful.  I could not get to Champaign on Friday night for packet pick up. Friday is both my wife's birthday and we have Good Friday services I want to be here for. So I emailed blogging buddy Miranda who happily agreed to pick up my stuff and get it to me early Saturday morning.  What a huge help...thanks, Mir!
The goal here is to see how I can do in a marathon with out a real long training run for a while.  I had more miles in March than I've had since August 2008, but no 20+ mile runs.  So, I plan to take it easy.  I'll do a 2/1 run/walk and hope to get home under 4:50, feeling good.  Focus on hydration and electrolytes, using the same plan I used in Memphis.  Will it work??  We'll find out. I'll post my quick results on Twitter/FB Saturday afternoon and perhaps more that night.  It'll be fun. 
And, to top it all off, I'm sitting here listening to the Cubs and is back.  All good.


Backofpack said...

I think you're gonna be fine Joe, just fine! Have a fun week and an even better race. I can't wait to read all about it.

John said...

It's gonna be great, Joe! Looking forward to the post-race report.

Be careful on that huge hill.. I understand they will have a team of Tibetan Sherpas available for those who need them, along with oxygen masks and a few other climbing accessories (ropes, picks, etc.). Remember, you can always set up camp halfway up and rest a while if you need to.

Wes said...

That elevation change sounds like Disney! hahahaha! You'll have a great time! Good luck!!

Darrell said...

I'm glad that sentence read "both my wife's birthday and..." rather than "both my wive's birthdays" which is how I read it at first.

Too funny.

The race report will have to wait till later, my lunch break is over.