Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Quad Cities Half Marathon Race Recap

Disclaimer : This is my honest opinion of my experiences. I was in no way compensated by anyone for this post.

Boyfriend and I headed to the Quad Cities this past weekend for the Quad Cities Marathon series. We left on Friday morning for the 4 hour drive to Bettendorf, Iowa. We stayed at a Courtyard by Marriott in Bettendorf and absolutely loved it. The room was nice and the staff was fabulous for our visit. The hotel had a wonderful pool and hot tub that we made use of more than once. We didn't do anything to exciting on Friday night. We had both been having pretty stressful weeks so an evening of relaxation and enjoy each others company was exactly what was needed.

Saturday morning we slept much later than we usually do thanks to the fantastic black out curtains in the hotel room. I seriously need some of those for our bedroom at home! We grabbed a quick breakfast at a local favorite and headed to the race expo. We got to the expo just as it was opening and there weren't many people crowding the place yet. However I was very disappointed in the expo overall. Maybe it was just because we got there so early that there wasn't the same vibe that most expos usually have but there didn't seem to be many vendors. I went in with a list of purchases I had planned and ended up walking out with nothing but the swag bag provided and a business card to a local bicycle shop that said he might have the bike I had been looking for at a better price. We decided to visit the bike shop, I was able to find what I wanted - more on that in another post. After we grabbed lunch and went by a local running store to get what I needed. The rest of the evening was spent at the hotel and dinner at noodles and company.

Sunday morning finally rolled around and it was race day! The race was billed as the Midwest's favorite marathon and I expected something really big but I just wasn't that impressed.

Start Line
My favorite part of the start line were the heat lamps! The weather was pretty close to perfect to be honest, it was a little chilly at first but the 50 degree weather was perfect while we were running. There were no corrals and the 5K, half marathon and marathon all started at the same time. It seemed to be well organized at least and everything started without a problem.

Miles 1 - 5
Since all three races started the same and ran together for about 3/4 of a mile I got to run with boyfriend for a little while. Once it was time for the 5K route to split there seemed to be plenty of signs and volunteers to make sure that everyone was on the right course. For the marathoners and halfers it was up the highway on ramp for us, my least favorite. However once we were on the highway, headed out of Moline, IL and into Bettendorf, IA it was pretty beautiful. We ran on the I-74 bridge across the Mississippi River and it was a wonderful view for a while. Once we came off of the bridge we ran through Bettendorf for a while which was the hilliest part of the course until about mile 4.5 when we came onto a running path.

Miles 5 - 9
Mile 5 brought us onto a beautiful running path that followed the banks of the Mississippi. The weather was perfect and the breeze was so nice. I started to slow down in the these miles as I hadn't been training for distances longer than 3-4 miles. I knew it was going to happen and I knew I wasn't going to push myself any faster. I was actually feeling really good until the half way point and I reached the halfway point in 90 minutes. If I had been able to keep up my pace I would have probably been able to set a new personal record. However it was about mile 7 that I made it to Davenport, IA and when my left ankle started to really hurt and I decided to slow way down and just finish under my own power instead of causing myself to need medical attention. We were still running along the Mississippi so I decided to just enjoy my view.

Miles 9 - 13
Miles 9 - 13 started out across another bridge and brought us onto the Rock Island Arsenal, an active military installation, again the weather was beautiful and the scenery was fantastic. The marathoners that had split from us earlier rejoined us on the Island and then split from us again and rejoined us on the island at half marathon mile marker 11. We all ran together over one more bridge that took us back into Moline, IL and at the bottom of the ramp the marathoners split off one more time. At this point, I was hurting and I new I was going to have my worst finish time ever. I didn't feel dead though so I just kept walking even though my ankle was hurting me pretty bad.

Mile 13 - 13.1 and the Finish
I was so ready to be done and I tried to finish at a run and I did. Once I crossed the finish line and I went to have the time tag cut off my shoes, they were reusable - a new one for me; my boyfriend found me and was inside the finishers area which I was surprised to see. Before I could say much one the race officials asked me to stand over to the side and kind of kept me there, not allowing to me to leave. Finally boyfriend and the race MC came over to me and well....

So I got 2 types of bling that day! 

After the race we went back to the hotel room and enjoyed the hot tub some more. We ordered pizza to the room and just spent the evening together, relaxing and enjoying some time together. 

Not my best race but that's completely due to a lack of training. I'm glad I went and finished but I'm starting over and my few races will just be 5K distances and I'm going to get back to running 4 days a week.

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