It would be just like me to get fantastically sick on the last few days of summer. I’m at home eating chicken noodle soup and sipping tea to make my throat feel better. Now if this could just clear up, like, yesterday, that would be great.
Anyway, I promised you a half marathon recap so here it is! On Saturday, Caitlin and I went to the Half Marathon expo, which was held at Navy Pier. It was crazy hot that day, even before 10AM when I was headed down, so stepping into the AC was one of the best feelings ever.
The expo was relatively small and pretty well organized. Packet pick up was a breeze so we had plenty of time to walk around and see all the booths. The booth that really spoke to us was the Sweaty Bands booth. Both of us had heard tons of great things about them so we had to visit them.
The swag for the race was a long sleeve technical tee. (Bonus points because it’s in Bears colors). On a side note, this race re-vamped its gear check policy and everyone had to use the clear plastic bag that your shirt came in. I know the Chicago Marathon is going to use a similar procedure so it was nice to see how successful it might be on a smaller race. Spoiler alert: it worked great.
After the expo, Caitlin and I stopped by the Chipotle Cultivate festival that was taking place in Lincoln Park. I met up with some friends from home that were down for it, and we hydrated the best way we know how.
What a great way to get our minds off of the race!
After calling it an early night, we woke up super early to get to the shuttle for the race. The race itself started at Jackson Park, which would have taken me at least an hour and a half to get to via public transportation. Thankfully they were offering round trip shuttles from three different areas in the city, and one of those happened to be just a few minutes away from my apartment! The hands down, most entertaining part of the morning was walking past bars that hadn’t gotten to last call yet, several Saturday night bar goers wanting to take our picture because we got up at 4AM to run a half, and the accidentally most hilarious photobomb by this sleeping guy on the bus. (I swear, I’ve had this picture for a week and I just now realized how hysterical it is)
Clearly we’re not sane because it’s 5AM and we’ve got smiles on our faces.
We got to the race with loads of time to spare. The shuttle service was very well organized and there were no delays with anything. The whole race area was pretty empty and we got to check our gear really quickly. Gear check, for the record, was exceptionally well organized with the clear plastic bags. They had the bags hanging numerically in rows and it took me about 3.5 seconds to get my bag back after the race. With the bags checked and our power stances practiced, we were ready to run 13.1!
The race itself went almost entirely great for me! The first three miles wind through the Jackson Park area, then you do an out and back on Lake Shore Drive for the rest of the race, so some of it felt familiar while other parts were new. Caitlin and I ran together for the first 3 miles at a really easy pace, and then we split apart at the 5K mark so she could take a walk break and I could torture myself. I ran some crazy negative splits, which is how I like to do it!
Mile 6-10:18 (it was right around here when I saw the winner run past me in the other direction. They are crazy fast)
Up until this point I tried really hard to keep my consistent, comfortable, 10ish min/mile pace. I was really nervous about hitting a wall or losing my desire to run, because my long runs have been pretty difficult for me lately, so I kept it reined in pretty heavily. It was a little slower than I ideally wanted to race, but I had been slacking lately so what was I do to? Once I got to the turnaround I picked it up a little bit.
Right around here I started entertaining the idea of finishing the race in under 2:10. It was definitely a long shot, but it might have been possible. I spent about a mile going through the mental math of when do I push it before realizing that there was no way I was going to break 2:10. Oh well. Kept chugging on.
It was time for the home stretch and I hauled for the last 2.1 miles. It felt great to finish on a strong note!
Last 0.1 mile-1:48
Official time: 2:12:04
It wasn’t until several hours and some internet creeping later that I realized that I PR’ed by over 3 minutes, so that felt swell.
I had a few minutes after I finished to stretch, drink a bunch of water, and jog back to mile 13 to catch the fabulous Caitlin finishing her very first half marathon! Look at how effortless she made it look! I am so proud of her!