Saturday, May 7, 2011

Palos 1/2 marathon

I have never appreciated my teammates as much as I did after the Palos 1/2 marathon.

Ryan's big race (Elite Duatlon Nationals) was the Saturday before my Sunday 1/2. I was so excited/nervous for him but had to control my nerves as we were at Kristi's bridal shower. I can't even explain how sad I was for Ryan when I got his message. He had no power on the bike and was just exhausted. Putting on the race just last weekend really took a toll on him he said.

My running the week after putting on our Egg Shell Shuffle race wasn't the best. I thought I'd be fine though since mine was just running whereas Ryan's was running and biking.

I got to the race 45minutes before. I found my teammate Meg Sullivan right away and she graciously offered me a place to put my bag during the race (parking was somewhat far away). After getting my bib and packet, I went for a mile warmup, did a few drills and strides and found Meg again at the start line.

Looking around, I saw Erin Moffett (incredible), Columba Montes (the nicest person ever, and very fast too) and one other girl that I thought I had seen before. Turns out these three would be the lead pack for a good portion of the race.

I started the race conservatively like Cari had asked and ran two 6:25s. She wanted me to wait until mile 6 to really start cutting down, which was perfect since the wind was coming at us for the first portion of the race. By mile 3, I was up with Meg and her pack. I tucked in and ran with was really fun to run with two teammates!

Right around mile 6, I remembered that I didn't have my gel (I put it in my back pocket..... of my pants, not shorts, ugh) so I better start taking some Powerade. I also started having a real upset stomach. I saw a bathroom and thought about stopping, but didn't want to get out of the pack of four I was in.

Right around mile 8, I really started feeling my stomach hurting. I knew I had to find a bathroom. I was on pace to run a low 1:23, possibly high 1:22, and my stomach was getting me. So frustrating. I saw another bathroom just before mile 9 and just had to stop. To make things worse, a lady was in there...and took five hours to come out. I stopped my watch--it took me :52 seconds to wait for her and then go myself. Great.

The last 3.5 miles were not great. I went 6:21, 6:22, 6:26 after previously going 6:21, 6:26, 6:26, 6:23, 6:17, 6:31, 6:15, 6:12, 6:20, 6:17 and 6:21. Definitely a disappointment to be running the slower pace that I had at the start of the race, but I don't think I would have been able to complete the race if I didn't stop when I did.

To my surprise, I still ran a 1:24:55 official time despite my bathroom break. Even more shocking was the fact that I was the 5th overall female!

The best part of this day was running with Meg, Shannon and the guys. They were SO supportive of me and proud of me, despite not having the best day. It is unreal how supportive teammates can be and how just a simple cooldown with them can totally change your day around. I am very blessed to have the great teammates I do in my life. Thanks, friends!

Egg Shell Shuffle: Race Director Perspective

Why don't we put on an Easter themed race?

Ryan and I had this idea in December, right before we left for the Cruise. We started planning things a little bit during the cruise (during the ship days of course:)) and figured with me not having a full-time teaching job, we could plan things out easily.

Boy were we wrong.

I finished one long-term job the second Friday in January and started planning things right away. We got our Permit, started making postcard ads (thank you and started creating a website ( Luckily for us, with my dad being the President of the Hillstriders Running Club, we had quite a few resources at our disposal.

We had the logistics all down on paper and were busy planning....and then I obtained another long-term sub job, 7th grade Science. Let's just say it's a little more difficult to teach than Math, Language Arts or Social Studies, all of which I've taught before. Ryan had to do a lot more work to pick up for my throwing myself into school work.

We also ran into a problem with our egg hunt. Eggs didn't start appearing at stores until the beginning of April, so we really had to work hard in stuffing all of the eggs with candy. Luckily, Ryan's little brother was incredible and filled them every day after school for two weeks prior to the race. We had over 1,000 eggs out there! Next year, we are planning an "egg stuffing party," which we had wanted to do this year but just got too busy to do!

Shorts were our main cost and what caused a lot of people to sign up:) We had a local company (Think Ink) in Crystal Lake create them for us. The design that we used (thank you Tim Schocke!) was screen printed on 500some pairs of dri-fit shorts. We had a lot of people sign up on race day, so a reorder is in the works.

After waking up at 4:30am, we proceeded to drive with the big truck (full of water jugs, bottled water, PowerBar products, mile markers, etc) and the PowerBar car to Busse Woods. There was a cop waiting for us... turns out, we could have come at 3am (as we had planned), so we'll plan for that next year!

While Ryan and his dad put out all of the mile markers and water/Perform stations on the course, I prepared our registration table and Ken and John put the finish/start lines together. Right around 6:30, people started arriving in packs... it was crazy! We had a lot of people sign up race day, which I was better prepared for (side note: I put on a "Run for Hope" race for a student of mine with an inoperable brain tumor two years ago and did NOT staff the registration table well enough, so I made sure we were fully staffed this time around!).

I was busy literally until the gun went off for 5k....which started 15 minutes after the 1/2 marathon. While everyone was running, we started putting out PowerBar product for post-race and setting up the awards (PowerBar waterbottles stuffed with product! Easter Baskets with PowerBar product for overall male and female winners).

We got so many comments about how cool and unique the awards were too! Ryan did a GREAT job. The weather even cooperated--for the rainy two weeks we had leading up to it, the ground wasn't nearly as wet as it could have been. The sun came out right before we did the Egg Hunt too....Mother Nature sure was looking out for us!

JDRF will be getting a nice check from us thanks to all of the great participants we had. Our initial goal was to donate $1,000 and we'll easily be close to $5,000 when all is said and done. Incredible!

After emailing all of our participants, we found out that there were only a few major glitches for a first time race.

1. we started the egg hunt too early. In Ryan's defense, people were getting a little antsy (heck, I was getting antsy), as we had started the kids 7&under hunt at 11:30 with the intention of starting the regular hunt at 12. We'll have to better monitor that next year, OR have one egg hunt after the 5k and one after the 1/2 marathon.

the prizes for the egg hunt were outrageous: Cubs tickets for Memorial Day weekend, a signed Kane picture, a signed Cutler helmet, PowerBar product;), Alter-G treadmill passes, sunglasses, Timex package and a Starbucks basket.

2. we need to do a better job clarifying things on our website. We have never created one before, so definitely something we'll better research next year!

We had SO many compliments on our water stop workers (thanks WNHS girls track team, Ricky & Danielle, NHS volunteers, Starbucks volunteers, participants' family members, Grandma Larson/Carolyn and Ryan family) and other volunteers. We couldn't have done it without the incredible volunteers we had!

Thank you for all of the support and especially for coming out for the race! We are SO excited for next year and are already starting to plan!

Please feel free to email us ( or leave a comment on here about the race. We are planning on making this race much bigger and better next year!