Sunday, September 9, 2012

Race Recap: IVS Half Marathon Relay 2012

Today I teamed up with my track buddy Anna for the IVS Half Marathon Relay.  I ran this event last year and swore to never do it again. The hills are a huge challenge and the road that winds up and down through the cemetery is a little rough. But the sheer comaraderie of local runners gets me signed up every time. It's a true 'local runners' event, put on by the Illinois Valley Striders club. All the regulars show up to run, cheer or volunteer.

Anna and I made a great team together. We met many moons ago in the bar scene, but in recent years became closer friends through running. We often run track intervals together on Tuesday mornings. She's faster than me, which is always nice for that extra push. We're also both football fanatics... which gave us our idea for today's race outfits. It was opening weekend of the NFL season, so we decided to sport our team colors. We seriously drive each other crazy since we're Division Rivals.

A Garmin reading from the hilly course

I started the race for Team "Girls Gone Track". It was a perfect morning for running, slightly chilly and cloudy. I couldn't have asked for better... well, except for a healthy toe! I haven't run in four days, hoping to give it time to heal for today's race. I gingerly babied the left foot. I altered my stride, running back on my heels (ugh!) which totally killed my pushoff. I felt like I was working so much harder with every stride.

The course has quite a few two-way traffic spots, which makes it fun to spot and encourage other runners. Those areas helped me to take my mind off the throbbing toe. Oh, and the hills too... do you know how hard it is to run hills without a toekick? My mile splits were all over the board with the variance of the hills involved. I tried to take advantage of every flat away to make up time.

Around mile 5.5, I hit the homestretch where it was pretty much downhill. I buckled down, cranked on the rock tunes and pushed to the exchange zone. The mantra I kept repeating to myself was "I have finishing speed. Use it." It felt so good to be running smooth and fast. In fact, I kinda forgot all about the toe at this point. I came into the exchange zone and gladly handed it off to Anna.

I am so lucky to have friends that watched my daughters so they could attend the race with me. The girls made themselves helpful (?) by assisting with the water station and cheering on the runners. But really, they just wanted the big food buffet after the race! The post-race picnic is simply the best part of this event, especially when the weather is good. Burgers and hot dogs were grilled up by the running club and all the runners brought a dish to share. What a spread!

{Me}  6.55 miles in 58:47 (8:58 pace)
I beat my time from last year by over 4 minutes!

{Our Team}  13.1 in 1:55:51 (8:51 pace)
We placed 2nd in the Women's Open Division!

The cool finisher's medal that doubles as a Christmas ornament.
2012 marks the 10th year for this event.

It was a splendid morning for runners in Peoria. I'm so proud of the many women who PR'ed and/or ran their 'first half' on this difficult hilly course. They get an extra star bonus in my book! 


  1. Love Springdale - embrace the hills!

  2. Way to go Jess. That looks like a lot of fun.

  3. How fun! I have always wanted to do a relay. Even a short one like that looks like a blast.

  4. There needs to be a Bears jersey representing ;)

    Great job!

  5. Awesome run! I love the rival football team outfits. Way to push through and PR it!

  6. Wow, awesome pace and congrats on 2nd place!! I like the idea of relays and need to look into doing one with my running buddies!

  7. Congrats! love the Packer gear! I too am a displaced Packer fan. On a recent stair climb in Mile High, I had retired Bronco Reggie Rivers rooting me on by saying GO PACKERS! Can't take the Wisconsin out of the girl for sure.

  8. Your shirt is awesome!!! So glad your girls are cheeseheads too ;-D Go pack Go! Great run!


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