Because I was an official Hospital Hill blogger, I got the opportunity to attend a reception down at Milano at Crown Center on the Thursday before the race. Now, even though I was a blogger, I didn't know many other people involved in Hospital Hill. I mean, I sit behind my computer and type, type, type away. I don't actually interact all that much with other people. So, I made Cory go with me so I wouldn't feel like an idiot standing by myself. Cory was excited because it promised free food and drinks.
Because we were driving all the way down there, it only made sense to pick up my packet while we were there. We walk over to the expo, and what should I see?
|Yup, that's me underneath a picture of me. I'm a dork and took a picture with it.|
|Posing outside Milano.|
The morning of race day, I rode down to the race with Sarah, her brother and her brother's friend. Now, usually, Sarah is perfectly content to show up to races 45 seconds before the race starts, but because she was riding with me, she kindly agreed to try to show up earlier. Cory usually comes to all my races, but couldn't come to this one because he was playing something for Corporate Challenge. (I think he's participated in approximately 4,768 events for Corporate Challenge. Not that I'm annoyed by it or anything.)
After all the races of this spring season, I had no desire to really race Hospital Hill. Sarah, however, did have a desire to beat her brother. Nothing like a little friendly sibling rivalry. We met up with Anne, Kelli and Marsha at the starting line. The race changed how the starting corrals were set up this year, so we couldn't figure out how to get into our designated corral. We all had to climb through a fence and still ended up in corral F instead of D or C. Oh well, I didn't want to race it, remember?
|With Sarah, Kelli, Marsha and Anne squeezed into starting corral F.|
We all started the race together going fairly slow. Kelli had just run a marathon in Vermont six days before, so she was definitely not going to push it. And, we were determined to be running together when we reached this ...
Yes, that is us, posing underneath our billboard along the course. I'm sure many of the other runners thought we were crazy for stopping to pose for a picture before we even hit mile 2. But, well, we couldn't help ourselves. I mean, really. When else would this even be possible? We had to do it, even if it took a good couple minutes while everyone else streamed past us.
After we were sure we got the photo (there was a little problem with my phone, so luckily Marsha saved the day with hers!), we started off again. We all ran together for a while longer, but Kelli's foot was really hurting, so she and Anne stopped to walk after a while. Then, Marsha, Sarah and I were together. It was kind of fun to run from behind because I got the chance to see a lot of friends along the course.
Sarah and I sped up in hopes of catching up to her brother, and we ended up passing both the 2:10 and 2:05 pace groups. The weather was absolutely beautiful - cool, overcast. Completely not typical Hospital Hill weather. But, we took advantage. We kept pushing in hopes of catching up to Sarah's brother. We ended up crossing the finish line in 1:59:37, but never managed to catch up to Robert. It was not my PR, but somehow we managed to beat Sarah's brother AND get her a brand new, shiny PR.
(If you're wondering how we never caught up to Robert, but still managed to beat him, well, you've got me. The only thing we can figure is that it must've happened during a bathroom break, or we just simply ran right by him without seeing him.)
|Woohoo, way to go, Sarah!|
|Then, we met up with Marsha! I love making all my different running friends meet :)|
|I made Sarah take my traditional medal-holding post-race pic.|
After we finished, we met up with all the other girls. The wind majorly picked up after we crossed the line, so we were actually cold standing around the finish line. Who would've thought that was even possible at Hospital Hill? I should've packed my new track jacket.
|Ashlee, Sarah, me, Kelli, Marsha and Anne. With Bill hanging out in the background. (All of us, minus Sarah, will be running the Chicago Marathon in October. So expect some more pictures of all of us in about 4 months.)|
All in all, the race was a blast. I'm happy with how we ran and really happy that we got Sarah a PR (even with a photo stop!). As much as I talk about time, races are also about fun and friends, and that's what was most important at Hospital Hill.
Plus, I finally finished my three-part medal:
That, plus a track jacket AND a picture of us posing with our very own billboard? Yeah, priceless.