We trained. We ran. We conquered!
This past weekend, Christopher and I crossed another finish line of another big race, the Quad Cities Half Marathon.
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
We crashed about 9:30 p.m. Saturday and woke up at 5:30 a.m. Sunday. We inhaled our tried-and-true banana and peanut butter sandwiches. And we got dressed.
I fretted about not being warm enough in running capris and a long-sleeved technical shirts. Christopher freaked about forgetting his running shorts. We high-tailed it to the nearest Walmart (open 24 hours, thank God), picked up a pair of compression shorts and a pair of lightweight athletic shorts, then
raced drove to the race.
We found a free parking spot about five blocks from the starting line, pinned our bibs to our shirts and affixed our timing chips to our shoes. We walked to the starting area—a nice, easy way to acclimatize ourselves and loosen up our muscles—and made a beeline for the portable bathrooms. We stopped for the race photographers to snap our picture.
We waited in a long, but swiftly moving line. Christopher endured the
word vomit conversation of two morons who reeked of alcohol and cigarettes. And then I hovered over a seriously soiled toilet seat just long enough to pee. We headed to the corral, made our way toward the front of the already moving pack and crossed the starting line.
We settled into our own comfortable, yet brisk paces to make up some ground. Christopher and I both hoped to set personal records.
I felt awesome through the first five miles! I was running at a nice pace, crossing the 3-mile mark at 32 minutes or so, and taking in the breathtaking sights. We ran about three-quarters of a mile through downtown Moline, Ill., then up the on-ramp and across the Interstate 74 bridge over the Mississippi River. The sun shone brightly overhead, warming us from above and dancing on the water below. We ran three miles through a residential area of Bettendorf, Iowa, then along the river into Davenport, Iowa.
Christopher caught up with me around the 5-mile mark. He had gone out pretty fast and knew he could not maintain that pace for the rest of the race. I still felt great. But I was glad to see him and knew his company would be valuable later in the race.
We stopped and walked through the water station at the halfway point.
I continued to feel pretty good through the next four miles. I maintained a good pace, crossing the 8-mile mark at 86 minutes or so, and really enjoyed running along the riverfront trail. We did a little loop through downtown Davenport, then ran across the Government Bridge (on a “carpeted” track over the metal grates) onto Arsenal Island, the largest government-owned weapons manufacturing arsenal in the country and the one part of the course closed to spectators.
We separated a bit on the island and ran about two miles on our own. Christopher felt strong and forged ahead, while I felt sore and slowed down, even walked a wee bit. We ran clear across the island, along the river and past beautiful old buildings.
We met up again at the 11-mile mark. We had just two miles left. I struggled to breath easily; I felt like I might hyperventilate. Christopher talked me through it; he said, “In through your nose, out through your mouth” a few times and forced me to focus. We pressed on. We ran through a quiet, undeveloped part of the island, past a desolate national cemetery and across the Moline Arsenal Bridge back into Moline. The finish line was so close. We could see and hear the crowds.
We picked up the pace down the straightaway. We saw the 13-mile marker and figured we could haul ass for a tenth of a mile.
We crossed the finish line, received our medals and had the photographer take our “official” finishers picture.
Christopher and I found our way toward a couple bottles of water and a couple cartons of chocolate milk. We grabbed a couple other goodies—watermelon slices, Fig Newtons and chocolate chip cookies—then got our post-race beers and stood in the sunshine.
The Quad Cities Half Marathon was an awesome race!
It was so well organized. It featured a course through four cities, over three bridges, in two states and across one island. It had great swag—a super soft long-sleeved T-shirt, gloves and gear belt—and a sweet finisher’s medal.
Christopher and I might not have reached the loose goals we set for ourselves—he to best his previous half-marathon time of 1:58 and I to run the race in 2:20—but we had fun. We just went out there and ran our race…together.
I marvel every day at the fact that I can do this—that I can run a mile, let alone a marathon. I thank God every day that He blessed me with the legs, the head and the heart for running. And I hope that my journey to be the best version of myself inspires those around me to do the same.
Another race, another medal to hang on the wall, another amazing chapter in this book.
And finally, the details:
Distance: 13.1 miles
Duration: 2:26:24 chip time (2:26:06 Nike+ time)
Average pace: 11:11 per mile
Mile 1-6.2: 1:05:49
Miles 6.2-13.1: 1:20:35