I am absolutely in love with this race.
In the spring of 2009 I was running up to (no more) that five miles at a time. My best friend (and roommate at the time) was a runner, and knew I was getting into running longer distances. She is from the Chicago area, and asked if I wanted to run a new half marathon with her that summer. I anxiously said yes, and thus began my training.
As this was my first real training plan I had no idea what to except. Training for the race went wonderful (I have my wonderful friends to thank for that!) My wonderful friends, who I was lucky enough to live with throughout college, helped me train. Kelly of course was running the race with me so it helped a great deal to have a training buddy. Katie, my other roommate, was on the Iowa rowing team and gladly offered to run with us for support.
Running in Iowa City is simply wonderful. There are trails, hills, and beautiful scenery to keep you occupied.
The weekend of the race was one of the best. My family and I drove to Chicago and stayed a couple nights downtown. The race expos are always held at McCormick place, and are the equivalent to heaven for a runner.
The morning of the race came and I was beyond nervous. My thoughts were something like this:
• What if I don’t finish?
• Will they keep the course open long enough for me to finish?
• What if I pass out?
Okay, I was a little dramatic.
My family and I met up with Kelly and her family before the race. Kelly’s family always has a giant Hawkeye flag that they hold throughout the course, and I love looking for it!
(I’m on the far left, Kelly is on the far right)
We made our way into the starting corrals and I nervously waiting the start. Finally, it was our corrals turn to go. I have a hard time explaining the adrenaline and pure joy I was feeling. I will never forget the song that was playing as we ran out of the corals- “Life is a Highway” sung by Rascal Flatts.
The race went well, and guess what? I finished! I have to admit, I was exhausted around mile 12, but knew the end was near. My family was cheering me on as I ran through mile 13.1.
Crossing the finish line of my first half marathon was one of the greatest feelings. After you cross the finish line you get your cool medal, plus all the fruit, chocolate milk, and popsicles you want!
I met my family after the race, which was a great feeling for me. I was proud of myself for completing the race, and thankful that my family was there.
I have nothing but fond memories of that race. I suppose that it why I have continued to run it every year!