To celebrate, Jeannie and I went down to Springfield on the Amtrak. I rarely am in Union Station and it's always so majestic in there.
It was extremely windy and quite cold. We were a little worried.
I took Jeannie to Maid Rite.
It's the original location and the first drive through restaurant in America.
Jeannie was a little nervous, because she's never heard of a "loose meat sandwich".
I don't know if she became a convert, but she admitted that they were tasty little burgers. We talked to the proprietors for a little bit and they told us the whole history of the place. It opened in 1900 and was a registered restaurant in 1924. They became the first restaurant in the world to over drive through service. Very cool.
After our lunch, we headed over to the Abraham Lincoln Museum. One of the gifts Jeannie got me were Abraham Lincoln socks.
If you haven't been to the Lincoln museum, you need to go. It's the most technologically advanced museum I've ever been to. It's really a marvel and wonderfully educational.
After the museum we made our way to the Hilton. You see, our trip to Springfield wasn't for my birthday. It was for the Abe Lincoln Half Marathon. At the expo we picked up our packets and got our shirts. It's easily the best race shirt I've ever received.
Because it was so cold, we grabbed a Zipcar and went to the mall to get some warmer running gear. Jeannie grabbed some gloves and ear warmer and I bought some running tights. We then grabbed dinner at The Olive Garden and loaded up on some carbs.
The next morning we got up early and went to the old state house for the start of the race.
It was a smaller sized race than we had run in before so there were no corrals. There were just a little over 2000 runners and we all gathered on the corner as Mary Todd and Abe gave an inspiration speech to encourage us through our long race.
The race started when a group of Union Militiamen fired their rifles.
And, we were off.
Here's the thing about this race. Our first 1/2 Marathon, Jeannie and I finished in 2 hours and 10 minutes. Our second 1/2 Marathon, we finished in 2 hours and 4 minutes. Jeannie felt like she hadn't trained as hard for this race so she just didn't want to finish worse than our other 2 races.
I figured that meant she wanted to finish close to 2:10, which was 10 minute miles.
However, when we started, she was going faster than that. We creeped up on the 2:05 pace setter and she asked if we could pass him. I was surprised by that, but I thought that gave me free reign to bump us up a bit.
We cruised along and I really enjoyed all the sights of the capital that we ran around.
At mile 4, we hit our first hill. It was slight, but more of a hill than we're used to in Chicago. Past mile 6 hit a few more hills. At mile 8, we turned the corner and I saw my mom and sister.
Jeannie was real excited when she saw them.
She was especially excited to see that they made us signs. She's always wanted someone to hold up a sign with our names on it as we ran so it made her so happy.
You'll also notice that the right side of Jeannie's body is totally wet. I didn't notice it until I looked at the pictures. At the end of the race, she wasn't wet at all. "How were you sweaty at the middle of the race, but not at the end?" I asked her. "It wasn't sweat," she told me. "I tried to drink a whole cup of water as I ran and spilled it all over myself."
After mile 9, we went into the cemetery and I knew we were going to hit some substantial climbs. I've visited Lincoln's Tomb several times and I knew we were going to run up some hefty hills. They were pretty brutal. They didn't zap us, but they definitely slowed us a bit. We were running 9:02 miles and the hills in miles 9 through 12 knocked us down to 9:28.
As we headed down the final stretch, I knew we were close to hitting a significant goal. My Nike running app was telling me that we were ahead on time, but that app is not always dependable. As we turned the corner to the old State House, my phone chirped and I looked down and knew we had to hurry. We sped up and crossed the finish line and I really thought we'd made it. We got our time and my stomach dropped.
We just missed it. We were 8 seconds away from finishing in under 2 hours.
The hills had definitely slowed us down. They weren't monstrous hills, but were much tougher than we'd ever run.
We were very happy to have beaten our previous 1/2 marathon times, but it would have felt so great to have shaved that time below 2 hours. Something to shoot for, I guess.
We grabbed our awesome medals...
Took our photo with Abe and Mary Todd
Got a better look at the posters my sister Jeni made for us...
And then went to Monicals Pizza and I ate my face off.
For some reason, they served us a pizza that had one of the edges completely missing.
Jeannie likes the extra tiny slices.
My sister Amy in the background wasn't that amused.
It was a great trip. Great birthday. Great Race. And, all around great time.