The HOT 2016 Quad Cities Marathon!
Check out my official review at Bibrave.com for race specifics.
It was time to conquer my September Marathon, for my marathon a month journey. I am no stranger to the Quad Cities Marathon, I have run it before, as well as the half marathon. The only thing that had me concerned was the weather. the week leading up to the race had the forecast in the 70s with some cloud cover. However the actual weather was warmer all week, and race day temps climbed to 85 with lots of sun.
Gear: BR Tank, Sparkle Athletic skirt, SpiBelt, Adidas 7″ shorts, ProCompression Socks, Brooks Ghost 9, Garmin Fenix, B1G Hat, Aftershokz headphones, XX2i USA1 sunglasses
It was Sunday, September 25. (day after the K2K5K) This race is only about a 50 minute drive from home, so no need for a hotel, WAHOO! Josh had stayed at my sister’s the night before, so I just had to get myself to the start line. I woke up with enough time to walk the dogs and then have some toast with peanut butter and coffee.
It was an uneventful drive to Moline, IL. I parked the car in the FREE iWireless Center lot and had to use the bathroom.There are many port-o-potties lined up near the start/finish area. I then found Josh (he was running the half) who had my bib, he picked it up at the expo the day before.
We had made plans to meet up with some of the 100 mile members prior to the start. We met up with Don and his daughter and Kevin.
It was then time to line up in the starting area. However, I knew my sister was around somewhere, she was going to be the cheering squad. In that moment she sent me a message and we quickly caught up before the race. I got a pre-race hug from my niece.
The starting area, is also the finishing area for this race. This means the tents that are set up for the post race food, massage and what not – when everyone is trying to find the right place to start the race. It’s very crowded. There are pacers though that help people determine where they should be. If you are late to the race, you have to enter in the back, and it’s hard to get to the front if you are a faster pace.
There was a live performance of the National Anthem and the race was underway. The sun was already heating up the day.
The first mile was nothing special, just needed to make sure to split from the 5k course at the correct time. I saw my sister, Amber and niece, Ella and her friend, Maddy for a high five.
The course is pretty flat overall, but because the race covers 4 cities (Moline, Rock Island, Bettendorf & Davenport) in 2 states (IA & IL), you cross the Mississippi River twice and have to climb over 2 bridges. The first bridge is part of Interstate 74, which is only closed in one lane. It’s also after the first mile, so the course still has the half marathon runners too, which means there are a lot of people on the bridge at one time, and you can feel it bouncing.
I actually met up with Kevin (100 mile friend) and we started to chat. We actually ran together until the two courses split. It was great to have a friend to chat with. It was his first official race at the half marathon, he has conquered the distance many times, but the first time he would get a medal. I think the course split around mile 8, and even though it was hot, we crushed the pavement without problem.
Then, it was as if the struggle began the minute I lost my running buddy. Ok, ok, maybe not that dramatic, but I seemed to notice the heat. My biggest mistake was I didn’t bring a hydration pack. If there is even one concern about hydration, I always run a race with one. I also had run this race before, so thought I was prepared.
Up to this point there were hydration stops with water and lemon lime Gatorade and I made sure to stop at all of them. I also was meeting my sister and crew regularly. She also had my 2toms, but I couldn’t keep ahead of all the sweat with the chafe. However the high fives and pep were great to see!
It was at mile 13, when we entered Arsenal Island, that I really slowed it down. There was a runner down on the side, getting medical attention. I knew I needed to just finish the race, as that was a wake up call as to how warm it was. I remember making some conversation with a passing runner, we wondered why the next water stop seemed soo far away.
When I finally made it to the next water stop, I really wished there was more shade. The sun was cooking me…but I kept moving on. I switched to running .75 of a mile and walking .25 of a mile. I tried this for a while, but lets face it, I am not a fast marathoner, and I just wasn’t having it.
I knew in the past at about mile 19 there is usually candy and fruit. So I changed my focus on that, an orange slice sounded wonderful. I also for the first time tried to get into my audiobook, that wasn’t working so I switched to music, and I just wasn’t having that either.
I made it to the candy / fruit stop. There were orange slices and those strange gumdrop tasting fruit slice candy pieces. The orange was great, but no water to wash my hands off. The candy was not my fave. I did have some Glukos gummies with me, but another thing I just wasn’t having. I was totally over it….
Then it was time for the worst part of this course. The last 6 miles….it’s and out and back, the thing that makes it so bad is you are reunited with the half marathon and at this point, they turn left and run to the finish, while the marathoners turn right and run out and back on non shaded pavement.
I did see the cheering squad and Josh at this point. I gave them 2 thumbs down, but kept on moving. There was a lady with a bag of ice near this section, so I grabbed some…but it was just a nice thought…I was still miserable.
Then .. the sky got cloudier, I was out 3 miles from the finish, it was also where the volunteers were handing out wet towels…. so I’m at mile 23 and this rain cloud came out of no where and BOOM, downpour! Yep, the relief from the heat came!! Then everyone was scrambling with trying to keep their phones dry, lol. (PRO TIP, run with it in a plastic bag.) Ok, so this rain did feel good, except for all those spots that were chaffed, ouch!! Also I now had soaking wet feet. I was cool though.
I made the turnaround and was only 2.5 ish miles from the finish, and the rain was done, and the closer I got to the finish, the sunnier it got. Back to the no shade, cooking in the heat. Also I know I was finishing close to back of the pack, but I don’t understand why the aid stations were sort of closed down, minimal volunteers if any. These people are on the course the longest and at the hottest part of the day. Make sure to keep them open if the course is open.
Ok rant over…. I could see the finish line! Someone passed me and encouraged me to run with them, that was soo nice, but I knew I didn’t want to run just yet.
I saw Amber and the crew, just before the finish.They were hot too, lol. I got my medal and a bottle of water, someone else gave me a carton of chocolate milk. I wasn’t too hungry, but I felt I should eat something. There was cookies, bags of chips and the remaining hot dogs that were grilled earlier. I know I finished back of the pack, but some fruit would have been nice. I don’t really want a hot dog after a hot marathon…same goes to the races with greasy pizza…ok ok ok…
The crew talked about the race and took some pics. Even met another runner hanging out under the shade of a tent.
I finished in a time of 5:55. Yep, that time sucks, but it was all about living to run another day. I think if you take out “America’s Toughest Marathon” it’s one of my worst road marathons ever.
As I write this, (three weeks later) I am ok with my finish, I really wasn’t having this race…and that happens, but I did finish it, and knew I would. The marathon doesn’t get any easier, but I do learn more about myself with each one I accomplish.
I will run this one again someday, it’s a nice race close to home…plus I get a cheering squad.