Monday, April 7, 2014

Race Recap: Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon

This Saturday, I ran a half marathon as a training run.  I did the Lincoln Presidential Half two years ago to get their famous giant penny medal (here), so I really had no intention of repeating it. I'm trying to focus my race dollars on the expensive mission of #RaceAll50.  But then, they announced a 50th anniversary edition bling... a $5 bill as the finisher's medal! As soon as I saw it, I registered within hours. (The $45 entry fee is right where I think a half should be, even as little as two months out.)

The $5 bling featuring Abe Lincoln of course!
The navy blue shirt was kinda goofy with the big Lincoln head, but I actually adore it.
It's a women's Gilden performance shirt that fits me perfect and is super comfortable.

My friend Cassie and I got up early to make the 1:20 drive into Springfield. Arriving just a 1/2 hour before the start, we nabbed a great parking spot one block from the start/finish. Another reason I love these smaller marathons - no fuss, easy in, easy out.  There simply wasn't enough time pre-race. I knew so many people running this race (which made it fun), but I still didn't get a chance to talk with everyone. Sorry if I missed you! Lots of pre-race photos and meet 'n greets with readers (thanks for snagging me when you saw me!).

My Peoria running group (left), Marcia from Marcia's Healthy Slice (top right) and Carmen from She Runs Everywhere (bottom right). Carmen went on to run a killer race - new PR and grabbed 3rd place in her division with a 1:37!

The race started in front of the Old State Capitol, a one-block change from previous years.  I was pretty relaxed at the start and chatty with my pals. I wanted a good run, but had no illusions of anything spectacular. I've had achey muscles this past week and was actually slightly worried how painful 13.1 might be. I smoked this course with a sub-2 a couple years ago. I felt a bit sad to know I am no where near that speed or shape right now. Sigh.

Since this race is all about President Abraham Lincoln, the course winds through the Illinois Capitol to give you a full running tour of all the Lincoln sights.  In the first couple miles, we ran through the section of historic building, including Lincoln's home. Then we veered back downtown and past the current State Capitol building...

By time the first few miles are under my belt, I usually have a good feeling for how the race is going to go.  Today, I was not feeling it. My legs didn't feel any better once I started running, and our pace felt  taxing to me. I was super glad to be running with my pals Cassie and Heather. I kinda tucked behind them and let them pull me along.
Mile 1 - 9:43
Mile 2 - 9:38
Mile 3 - 9:31

We ran through some pretty neighborhoods with houses I can only dream of living in. The temperatures were in the mid-30's. Perfect for (me) running, but understandably chilly for cheerleaders. I remembered there being a lot more spectators last time (on a warmer day).  We ran a scenic stretch through Washington Park and the rolling hills began. The first part of this course is fairly flat, but the second half is definitely a challenge.
Mile 4 - 9:46
Mile 5 - 9:47
Mile 6 - 9:36

Washington Park

As we exited the park, there was a steep hill to climb. I tried to glide up it smooth and quick. I pulled away from my friends at this point. I knew there were challenging hills ahead and wanted to find my zone. Consistent mile splits are kinda my thing...
Mile 7 - 9:54
Mile 8 - 9:50
Mile 9 - 9:53

Shortly after the mile 9 marker, we entered into Oak Ridge Cemetery.  There's a nice downhill to pass by Lincoln's Tomb... but it's easy to miss that landmark when there's a huge UPhill looming to get back out of the cemetery. This is the hill that kind of killed me. It felt like knives stabbing into my glute muscles. Although I powered up it, not giving in to my desire to walk, I knew I was fading... fast.

coming into Lincoln Park
Anna giving the photographer some love
while I turned to head up the final hill.
Ha! Love this!
We made a few turns and quickly found ourselves in Lincoln Park.  There's a nice big downhill, but this time I knew what was coming around the corner... another uphill. I was not amused. I slowed to a walk halfway up... which conveniently is right when my friend Anna caught me. We chatted our way through the rest of the park, which was a nice distraction from the pain in my ass. Literally.

I completely forgot about the final hill that we climb to get out of Lincoln Park. But there it was, waiting to torture me. Anna sailed up it and I was struggling on my own again.
Mile 10 - 10:01
Mile 11 - 10:07
Mile 12 - 10:30

I was about to reach into my shirt and pull out an earbud for music when Cassie caught up to me. We chatted a bit, but she had gas left and moved ahead as well. I tried to hang with her in the last mile, but just couldn't find the motivation. Ugh, I can't remember a race where I felt so worn-down in the last mile.
Mile 13 - 9:46

The finish line was different this year too. There were suddenly a lot of people but I had a hard time seeing ahead where the finish was. I must have looked confused because some guy yelled out, "Turn left at the light and you'll finish." Whew, thanks. Done.

Official Chip Time 2:09:46
average pace 9:54
Overall #905 out of 2???
Female #378 out of 1134
Div F35-39 #68 out of 209

I didn't have the best-feeling run, but it sure was a fun event. The course is very pretty, albeit not-easy. The entry fee is perfect and it's a close getaway from home.  I would highly suggest this event - especially if you don't already have their famous giant penny medal. (There were complaints of people wanting the penny versus the $5 bill this year. I thought it was cool that the race actually offered the penny option at the finish line.)  All around GREAT RACE!

Of course, we took a boatload of fun photos after the race...

Wearing a Badgers outfit (in honor of Saturday's Final Four game) was a blast. I got so many cheers along the course from Big Ten fans. At the post-party, I bumped into a fun Kentucky fan. We were both wearing the sparkle skirts too! 
How about just one more hill Mr. Lincoln?


  1. I looked for you but the portopotty line was SO long I never found any of the bloggers on my list I was looking for!

    The pennies given out were actually for the people who registered late - if you registred after a certain point they ran out of medals :o So those people got higher bib #s (over 2000) and a temporary medal, which I think was leftover pennies from last year. (At least that's what I took away listening to a couple people at the finish line - I know people were talking about not getting the $5 medal!)

    I'm sorry it was a rough run - this really is a tough course but it is BEAUTIFUL. It ended up being a gorgeous day too - the horrid winds from Friday didn't make a single appearence, it was just sunny and breezy.

    1. Oh, that does make sense about the medals. Sorry we missed each other!

  2. Sorry it wasn't a better race but at least you got "paid" to run it. And meet the president! This looks like a great one to check out some time.

  3. That medal!!!!! & a running Abe? That's awesome! :)

  4. That shirt is...uhhhh...interesting! I do love the thought of honest Abe in a singlet though!

    Sorry it was a tough run, but I'm glad you still had a fun time! I LOVED your Badger gear. Too bad we couldn't pull it off. Madison is a quiet and sad town this morning!

  5. Nice job! I wish I could have done this one with you. It is definitely on my "to run" list!

    1. I met a few people who were doing St Louis on the next day - IL/MO Double! ;)

  6. Great job! You were pretty consistent even with the hills!

  7. Great job--especially when you weren't feeling it. So good to see you again! Agree: a really fun race and the price is right. I may have to revisit this for the penny....although I love the $5!

  8. That shirt is just awesome!! I'm sorry you had a tough run but great job on seeing it through!!

  9. LOVE the last picture with you and Lincoln :) Good job on running a tough and hilly race. What a fun medal! Totally understand you had to run this race :)

  10. What a freaking FUN medal! I'd jump on that just for the medal too!

  11. Hi Jess, new reader/commenter here! That looks like a great race. I did the Go! marathon relay the following day with some people who had done the Lincoln the day before and all of them gave it great reviews.
    Way to go on pushing through and keeping your time fairly consistent even with the hills and pain.
    I love your goal to race in all 50 states...sounds awesome!


I appreciate your feedback and comments!