Monday, September 9, 2013

Race Recap: Chicago Half Marathon

I finished the Chicago Half Marathon yesterday!  I was not particularly pleased with the time, but also not as upset as I have been over bad races in my past.  I finished it without quitting or crying, so that's a success in my book.

First of all, I was supposed to be picked up for the 7am race at 6am.  Mac has a history of oversleeping when we are supposed to run (ok it happened once) and thought it would be hilarious to text me at 5:58am saying he just woke up.  I freaked out for about 2 minutes until he called and said he was outside.  Well played.

After parking, we warmed-up by running about a mile to the start.  We were a bit late because of the parking situation (typical Chicago), so there was no time for the bathroom and we hopped in the corral and started almost immediately.

This was my first race in the 25-29 year old age group.  These ladies are much faster.  I've read that women distance runners peak in their late 20s, which seems consistent with the age group results.  I would've been in the top 20 of the 20-24 year old age group.  But none of that really matters, just an observation.

There actually wasn't anything super eventful about the race.  I obviously made a sweet playlist for the occasion - all my recent/usual favorites.  The course was flat, a few tiny "hills" like when we had to run up an exit ramp off Lake Shore Drive and over a bridge.  There weren't spectators throughout the entire course, but there were enough that it didn't seem desolate.  The volunteers at all the water stations were high school students who were very enthusiastic and helpful!

The splits that the tracking device got for me were:

5 miles - 36:18 = 7:16/mile
10 miles - 1:16:31 = 7:39/mile total average and 8:02/mile for miles 5-10
Finish - 1:42:04 = 7:47/mile total average and 8:13/mile for last 5k

I also know after the first 5k I was at 22:08, which I thought was perfect because that is the exact time I was at during the first 5k of the North Shore Half Marathon in June.  My plan was to try to do the same pacing I did there, but then not die as much at the end.  I thought I'd be able to do this because my training has been  better in between that race and this one than it was the few weeks/months before that race.

It was about 5 miles into the race that I really started to feel like I couldn't keep up my pace and became a little mentally overwhelmed.  Mac was with me for about 4 miles and then he got ahead (or I slowed down, or a combo of both) and that didn't really bother me because I knew he would be faster, but I also think I should have tried a little harder to keep up.

Throughout the last half of the race, I walked about 30 seconds each mile when I was going through the water stations.  I did have one walk break that was probably about a minute long, but managed to get going again with the encouragement of some of the other runners on the course.  I really should be able to get through a half marathon without walk breaks and obviously I know I can considering I've done it plenty of times before.  But at least I know that while I was running, my pace was still decent... but a few short breaks will really get ya.

After the race, I had a lot of time to stretch out and relax while we waited for Mac's friend Bryce to finish the race.  Then the 3 of us went to get our free slice of Lou Malnati's pizza which is basically heaven on a plate.  I'm pretty sure the walk back to the car was at least as long as the race was.  But after we got in the car, put Teenage Dream on, and were heading for pancakes, life got a lot better.

And once we got to Elly's, I ran into my friend Nani who ran a PR in the race!  Pancakes are always the answer after a race.

I also used this race to see how my Chicago Marathon outfit would work out.  I have to say that I'm pretty happy with it.  I was unsure of the spandex shorts because I have only ever worn them for short runs before.  I bought the compression socks Saturday afternoon with a Fleet Feet gift card I got for my birthday and now I'm basically obsessed with them.  But I'm even more obsessed with my new blue sparkly headband.  Overall, I think the outfit was successful and comfortable.

My mom thinks I should wear a headband like Rafael Nadal and sent me this picture as an example:

Maybe if you added some glitter to it, I would.  I hope I look that intense in my official race photos.  I would however like to personally hunt down the jerk photographer who took a picture of me during one of my walking breaks.  That was not cool, dude.

Photo credit for the pictures of the race medals goes to my friend Megan.  After the race, I saw she had posted a few photos on Facebook from the finish line and she said she was there as a volunteer!  I wish I would've known ahead of time to keep an eye out.

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