Chicago Half Marathon Recap

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.

I fell in love with three bands and decided to get them all. The glitter ones are too cute, and the colors in the chevron are phenomenal. 20130912-194632.jpg

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. 20130912-194656.jpg

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. 20130912-194735.jpg

Craft beers make for delicious race fuel. I also tried this delicious bowl of charred corn, veggies, salsa, sour cream, pickled onion, cheesey goodness. It was fantastic. 20130912-194854.jpg


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)20130912-195004.jpg

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!20130912-195021.jpg


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 1-10:46
Mile 2-11:05
Mile 3-10:57
Mile 4-10:40
Mile 5-10:09
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)
Mile 7-10:08 

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.

Mile 8-9:48
Mile 9-9:34 

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.

Mile 10-9:33
Mile 11-9:30 

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!

Mile 12-9:03
Mile 13-8:52
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.

And, for your viewing pleasure, some official pictures from the race. You would think I had a paparazzi, I was caught about a dozen times. At least one of them looked like I was enjoying myself….20130912-195104.jpg

The same can’t be said for every picture though. My guess is that it’s about mile 12.8 here and I’d rather not be busting out an 8:58 mile. 20130912-195126.jpg

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!20130912-195149.jpg


Right after the race we grabbed our free deep dish pizza, that both of us originally said we may not need the whole slice but both of us finished them quickly. 20130912-195227.jpg

Then it was time to head back up North to celebrate the Chicago Bears opening day with some great friends and these other good friends. 20130912-195241.jpg

20130912-195301.jpgA Bears win was the absolute best way to end the weekend!


10 thoughts on “Chicago Half Marathon Recap

  1. Yay! This all sounds amazing!! Congratulations on the PR, and congrats to your friend for finishing her first half! Aren’t race photos so funny? Mine always range from disgusting to okay, but I never look GOOD. Hahaha. (I think you look awesome though!) The Richmond Marathon & Half gives out pizza at the end too, and it’s just about the best thing in the world!!

    1. Thanks so much! I completely agree that race photos are ridiculous. This is the first time I’ve seen race photos that I am willing to show anyone…I usually look terrible!

      Pizza after a race is fantastic. I think every race should serve it.

  2. Congratulations on your PR!

    Last year I carpooled with some friends to the Chicago Half, and I remember seeing quite a few people who had yet to call it a night. One friend was confused and asked why so many people were up so early! We were like “no no … they are up really late.”

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