The Illinois Marathon

DSC0194716 weeks of training and hard work have lead to this.  That’s what was running through my my mind at the starting line of the Inaugural Illinois Marathon.  Steven and I left Friday night after work.  It takes a little over an hour to get to Champaign.  We had dinner reservations at Houlahans at 5:15.  We went to the hotel just to get checked in before dinner.  ( Side story, we were at the wrong hotel.  I’m having a panic attack in the car because we don’t have a room.  Turns out we were across the street in the Homewood, not the Hawthorn.)  After dinner we went to the expo.  I picked up my bib and chip, and got a bib for the pace group. 

Back at the hotel, I got everything ready for the next day.  I think I changed my mind a hundred times about what to wear, and if I should carry my H2O bottle, or not.  I was starting to get nervous.  I went to sleep around 0930.The alarm went off around 0530, I ate breakfast, and had a cup of coffee.  We walked to meet Jenni, Allyson and the rest of the group for some pre race photos.  Then I headed to the start and found my pace group.  I gave Steven my long sleeve shirt, and huddled in.  We were packed in like cattle.It helped keep me warm while waiting for the start. 

DSC01952The race started and we moved pretty slow the first mile.  The first three miles went by quick.  I moved ahead of my pace group.  I felt like they were running too slow.  I settled in a nice pace, running with 2 other girls who had started in the 3:40.  “Meg” and “Brittany” .  According to my garmin we were keeping a 8:00-8:15 pace.  At mile 10 I was feeling good.  It was awesome to see Jenni and Steven in the crowd.  By mile 13 the two girl I was running with, fell back.  I had a hard time finding anyone after this to keep running with.  I saw John, Leah’s husband, around mile 18 and he gave me a shout, and I saw the Schaefer sister at some point.  The crowds were awesome the whole race!  Lots of people cheering! 

At mile 20 I couldn’t get my sports beans open.  My hands were numb.  I finally got them open with my teeth.   I ran with a gy for the next 2 miles.  He was hurting bad, but wanted to make 3:40.  I tried to push him, but there is only so much you can do.  I passed Jason at one point too.  I can’t remember what mile.  Really there is not much I remember from the whole course, it’s all skewed in my brain.   At mile 23 I saw Steven, my Brother, and Jenni again.  I was starting to hurt.  I kept saying ” It’s just a 5K”  but the worst 5K ever.  The last 2 mile my feet feet were burning and my quads screaming.  I think I did 10min miles. I was close to mile 26 and I saw my brother.  ” Kick it in ”  He said.  “Give it all you got”.  I did. I came out on to the field, in Memorial stadium.  You had to half circle the field, and then run down the middle of the field to finish.  I was about to cross the mats, and I head them say ” Kimberly Sharpe is going to Boston”.  I crossed the finish in 3:39:00.  I lost it and stated to cry.  I was ecstatic.  This was my goal and I reached it! 


I found Steven in the stand and gave him a huge hug.  I never could have done it with out him.   I picked up my drop off bag and got some food.  I changed into my compression socks ( yes they work),before we walked back to the hotel.  I got a shower and some food .  

This was my first marathon, and it was better than expected.  I felt better the whole race than I thought I would, but felt worse than I thought I would on the last 2 miles.   Does that make sense?   I feel worse a day later than I thought I would too!  The stairs are no fun.  Overall it was a great time. I thought the city of Champaign did a great job putting the race on.  Congratulations to everyone who ran.  Now it is time to start planning for April 19th 2010.  Bean town here I come!