The Komen Promise Run was the biggest, pleasant SURPRISE race of my life! I signed up for this race as I needed a local (low cost) half to keep me motivated this Fall. Secretly, I wanted a PR too, but as I heard more and more about this race my PR spirit deflated. Friends started telling me that it was all hills, through boring neighborhoods, and a repetitive out and back course throughout the entire race. This disappointed me immensely. Honestly, if the race course map would have been disclosed prior to registering I wouldn't have even signed up. That would have been a HUGE mistake for me! A few days before the race I decided to change my attitude and just look at it as a fun race among friends that went to a great cause.
The morning of the race I met my friends Lori, Heidi, and Trinity to ride together and of course that started the morning off with many laughs. Yep, 6 a.m. laughing...who doesn't want that?! Then we met my friend, Kathryn and her husband, Kenny...more laughing ensued. Yes, my race attitude kept getting better and better. Then we ran into all our other fun running buddies for pictures, laughs, hugs, and cheers! That sealed the deal! An awesome race was ahead!
|Stephanie, Kathryn, myself, Laura, & the photobomber, Debi!|
The race was small with only 416 participants. It was near 40 degrees, which is my favorite race temp. It started quickly and easily. I was able to settle into my pace nicely. Of course, I had to dance, air guitar, and be goofy for the first mile as I decided to be the "special" (You can interpret "special" in so many ways....be nice...hahaha!) entertainment for my friends Trinity and Lori. It was Lori's first half and I was so excited for her!
|Trinity, Heidi, Lori, and me|
The course started with an out and back of the Bob Michael Bridge which is one of my favorite places to run. It's beautiful! I always feel like Rocky at the top and must sing..na na naaa...na na naaaa! One of the best race surprises was our cheering friends Debi, Shelly, Beth, and Renee who were waiting at the Bob Michael Bridge to cheer us all on! That started the race off with a ton of motivation for me and the best part was they continued to cheer throughout the entire race. They were at so many spots that I am not even sure how they did it! We had many hugs and motivating exchanges. I can't thank them enough for this! After this race they even drove an hour and a half to another race to cheer for our friend, Kassie who was finishing her first marathon. I am so lucky and proud to call them my friends.
|Renee, Debi, Shelly, and Beth|
Best cheerleaders ever!
Next we were off to Main Street Hill. I saw a few old family friends and Steph's husband, Joe. It was so nice to see all of the local faces! At this point we are getting close to already having 4 miles on the books. BAM! It felt good!
|The Peoria Sole Sisters!|
Yes, they rock!
Before I knew it we hit Lower Bradly Park where the Peoria Sole Sisters had set up a cheer and rest/water/supply station at the bottom of the hill. They were awesome! It was so nice to see all of their faces and hear them yell my name! I told them to keep yelling as I needed them to help me get up the Park Road hill that was behind them. This hill was huge!!! Here is a pic of my friend Stephanie hitting this hill hard core!
|Steph has always been a hill lover and she nailed them again!|
I never walked this or any of the hills throughout the entire race. I was very proud as hills have never been my friend, however I have forced myself to train them this year. This benefited me immensely! I figured that if I didn't earn a PR then at least I could say I never walked a hill!
One of the things that I enjoyed the most about this out and back course was passing each of my friends! It really motivated me! Stephanie and Heidi were ahead of me so I was able to high five Steph a couple of times and yell at Heidi (even if she didn't hear me over her music...hahaha!). I was also able to high-five, thumbs up, or yell at Lori, Trinity, Laura G., Linda, Melissa, Laura, and Kathryn as we passed each other near Springdale Cemetary. That was really neat as it made this previously thought boring course very fun!
As the course came to the final last few miles exhaustion started to set in, but I was not giving up as I glanced at my time and I was slated for a PR. I was so ridiculously happy I could have screamed! I pushed the mental envelope so hard at this time! I was even able to run a bit with a veteran runner friend, Louisa. However, at one point she took off and was then one minute out of my reach. I completely expected this to happen, but have to admit that I was very happy that I even kept up with her for a bit. I surprised myself...and probably her! hahaha!
As I saw the finish line I started sprinting. Ya know the kind of sprint where you make disgusting, unattractive faces while you hold the puke back from actually spurting out your nose and mouth like a thumbed garden hose. Luckily, Heidi got a great picture of that! She did ask permission to post it and of course I said yes. (Side Note: I sure love being the age I am as I don't care anymore about how I look or what goofy thing I do in public! What a blessing!)
|Almost to the finish!|
As I crossed the finish line I saw a 2:22:39! Yippee! Skippee! I had a PR hills and all!!!! I didn't expect this at all with the course circumstances. I was elated! My first and only other half was at the Illinois Marathon 4 years ago on a flat course when I weighed 10 pounds less, so you can see why I thought I wouldn't have a PR at this race. My finish time for the Illinois was 2:28 (I can't remember the seconds). So I took off 5 plus minutes on my time. I was ecstatic!
After we watched the rest of our friends finish we went to the after race celebration. I thought it was very nice. The hall exhibited white table cloths on round tables surrounded by pink decor. There was a hot/cold buffet and a few vendors. Although there was not a lot of bling, they made up for it with a free photo booth. I think this was a nice touch! The girls and I had a blast taking pics together!
|Lori, Trinity, Heidi, and I|
I am still surprised at how much I enjoyed the Komen (Hilly) Promise Run. It was a great learning lesson for me. Hills...I've got them! Lesson is, don't be afraid to try something new. Try something that you may not think you will like. Try something out of your comfort zone. You never know you may end up liking it, like me!
The best thing about this race is that there was $21, 236.53 earned for the Susan G. Komen Foundation and that I enjoyed a yummy cookie from an old friend and family! God's handy work was all over this!