Thank you all for your prayers. I was able to complete the race under what I thought would be a reasonable time (for me) of 2:30 by CRUSHING it by 2 minutes, zooming in at 2:28:00. It was an exhilarating race on a chilly but beautiful morning.
I really enjoyed this for several reasons, starting with the drive. As some of you know, I went to SIU Carbondale for undergrad. On several occasions, I made an early morning drive to Saint Louis to catch a flight to visit my brother in Los Angeles. It involved about an hour of country road driving and an hour on the interstate. Driving to this race early this morning brought back many fond memories of driving on similar backroads whilst the sun was rising.
I finally arrive in Mascoutah IL, a small town of 7000 folks, on the south side of Scott AFB. It was a charming “Small town USA” town, not unlike those near Carbondale. Basically one main drag through town with a few banks, a car dealership (who sponsored the race) and a bunch of other maw & paw places.
It would seem like much of the town came out to help this race. There were countless large American flags on metal poles lining the streets near the start/finish line. They even hoisted a large one with the help of the local fire dept. Local football players helped man the drink stops along the course.
At race time, it was a balmy 42 degrees…a little chilly but I’ll take it. I am glad I registered early so that Mascoutah could have this vehicle on standby…
A pre-race three-way selfie with me in the middle with the hat. Fellow life runner, CH, took the shot and his friend Mike joined us as well. He took footage with a chest-mounted GoBro camera.
Another view of the suspended flag:
Why all these signs of patriotism? The race was setup for the benefit of the Wounded Warrior Project. A vet told his story on how the WWP assisted him after suffering post-traumatic stress disorder when serving in Iraq right before the race to thank the participants and onlookers for their support of the organization.
GO time! 348 runners took off when the fire engine fired up the siren.
Away we go…first turn was down a residential block or two. You can see the aforementioned flags here as things get underway.
The local high school marching band percussionists played for the runners as they passed by.
The next several miles brought on the cornfields!
Up until just beyond mile #3, this was really not unlike any race I’ve done before. The 5-6K are roughly this length. Around mile 3.6, though, I started to feel this a little bit. The ball of my left foot started to get a little numb but otherwise I was ok.
The country roadway continues…around this point, between 4 & 5 miles, the uber fast folks were already coming back. The turnaround point on this road was around 5.5 miles. You can tell by the mile marker signs and the placement of the shadow.
At around 6.5, fatigue started to settle in a bit. I took a my ration of GU CHOMPS (GU gel in jujifruit form) at this point.
Throughout the race, I used my 13.1 trainer app on my iPhone to help me keep pace. I had trained to walk/run this thing as I knew there was going to be NO WAY I’d be able to run the whole thing…yet. The pacing was 4 minutes running, 1 minute walking. Up until this point, I was getting frustrated with the thing when it told me to, “start walking.” I wanted to keep running. But I knew that I needed to obey it :) I am glad I did because a few miles later, I look forward to the “start walking” command as the adrenaline was starting to run out.
OK..back to the scenery…a handful of cows and horses came out to watch. Again…stuff we don’t see here in the STL Metro area races!
Things continue to get more difficult after mile marker 7.5 or so. The wind, which had been calm, started to pick up to the ~15-20 mph range. This made things more challenging.
My feet really started to be numb and hurt at the same time (is that possible?) right around here. But I’m not going to call for the stretcher yet!
As I approached this water/Gatorade stop, a lady there noticed I had my rosary out and was complimentary of it. I made sure to thank her for that as well as the drinks! I did not pass up many of these stops…I mean, it’s free gatorade!
It was right around here…around 12.5 that my friend & co worker, CH, met me. He had already completed some time earlier and was going to be my wing-man on the remaining steps to the finish line. It was good to talk to someone along the way. I was pretty much out of puff at this point and needed to walk a little more than I’d like.
But FINALLY the 13 came…looking up, the finish line was ahead. I was able to muster a little more *umpf* to finish the race running strong and collect my hardware. DONE!!! Go crazy folks, go crazy! (whatever)
The three of us hung out for a little bit after the race. Bud Light awaited us. My run keeper app said that race burned 2,529 calories. I figure the beer helped offset that a bit :) In my swag-bag there was a coupon for a free small order of fries (only valid at the local McDonald’s) so I took part in that too :) I then headed for home.
It was really great to have done this race. I got the medal, which is nice & all. But I got a better award when I came home. Bubba (my oldest boy) made this for me. It’s on my fridge now. I love how he added a small Boeing 707 to the award. :)
What’s next? Mr. C, told me, “Do not resist the temptation to start planning your marathon for next year.” I gave it a courtesy laugh. NO WAY. But I shall do this race again and perhaps another one if I can find one nearby. Also intriguing…The Indianapolis Mini-Marathon is in May…and on a Saturday. That makes it easier to do as I really don’t want to disrupt our family’s Mass attendance. The neatest part about that race (as I’ve been told) is that 2 1/2 miles of the race is on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I’ve never been there and I think that would be really neat. It is a HUGE race…some 36,000 runners. We’d have to make a weekend out of it with the crew if we did it. But we’ll see what next year brings.
Thank you for your prayers and support again! I’m so glad I did this!