Posted by : Jameson Durall Friday, May 03, 2013

Instead of running a normal Half Marathon this year, we decided to do something a bit different.  Lisa and I ran the Full Marathon Relay as a two person team.  So, this meant running six and half miles...resting for an hour while the other runs...and running another six and a half miles.  It sounded like an interesting challenge so we went for it!

As soon as we began training for it, we realized that it was going to be more difficult than we realized.  First of all, we are so used to running together that long runs alone are now awful.  In addition, we didn't anticipate how difficult it would be to get ourselves running again after taking such a long break.  But, we take challenges head on and worked to get ready for the race.

As race day neared, we sat down and made our plans for getting around the 26.2 mile course that winds through Champaign, IL.  We not only needed to get to the next relay station, but also wanted to be somewhere half way between each point to cheer for each other.  Lisa made us a great plan of back streets that got us around without much issue.  We decided to bike the entire course a week before so we could get familiar with the route.  It was a lot of fun, but my back was killing me by the end of a 2.5 hour bike ride :)

We decided to walk the 5k race the night before with family and friends to get our legs warmed up for the next morning.  It was nice to get out there and get rid of some pre-race jitters and ending on the field at Memorial Stadium was really cool.  We had a few friends running in their first 5k ever so it was awesome to be there and cheer them on.

There is a different feeling when you show up for race day.  All of your concerns about success start to go away and the energy makes you feel like you can do anything.  This is why we tend to run a bit too fast the first mile, but we get adjusted quickly.  I was there to see Lisa take off from the start line and then I jumped in the car with her mom to get to the first cheering location. Lisa came by at about mile 3 and we were there to take pictures and give her a high five.  We then headed over to the first  relay station!

The first six and a half miles wasn't too bad and I kept close to my normal running pace, but it was so much less fun running alone.  Once you have a running partner to talk to, encourage, and get encouragement's really hard to go back solo.  The second leg for each of us was really difficult.  Having stopped for so long and then running the second half of 13.1 miles was pretty tiring on our own.  At times, the only thing that kept me going was knowing that Lisa was waiting for me and that we got to cross the finish line together.

It was a great experience that I'm really glad we did, but I seriously doubt I will run this way again.  Running together is way more fun!

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