It's been in the 80s here for the last five days in a row, also setting temperature records for five straight days. Add to this that we've literally skipped spring and went straight from winter to summer. Ten days ago I think the temps were in the 30s. It's been like going from the freezer to the oven.
Adam very kindly drove me to the starting area, which turned out to be hugely the right move. I had originally planned to take the CTA green line to the Roosevelt stop, which I thought was just a couple blocks away from the starting line. The actual starting line was much farther from the train stop than anticipated. Had I taken the train I would not have allowed myself the time to walk the extra distance, and might have been late to the start.
The race was both a 7K race as well as a half marathon, and the half marathon race population turned out to be very small. I later found out there were only 360 half marathon finishers (I don't know how many DNFs there were). I made a quick portapotty stop, then listened to a recorded rendition of the national anthem while waiting for my Garmin to load up. An air horn sounded and off we went.
I was definitely feeling the temperatures, but a slight breeze off the lake helped a little. The race's website said that there would be aid stations every 2 to 2.5 miles. At 1.5 miles I was already starting to feel thirsty, so I was looking forward to the first aid station. However, the first aid station didn't come up until about 3.2 miles in.
|This is what it felt like for a little while.|
Going into the race, I had been worried about my knee issues or hip issues acting up. I felt intermittant left hip and knee pain here and there, but thankfully nothing that caused real issue. However, I did get some unexpected skin chafing from my shorts and sports bra. It was painful and I was regretting not using any Bodyglide.
I had my music on the whole race, but I didn't pay a lot of attention to it. I was more focused on trying to hug the curves of the path and making any passes on the inside curve. The course took place almost entirely on the lakefront path, which was still open to the public. Therefore, I also had to be careful to avoid colliding with any bicyclists, inline skaters, or people with their strollers and dogs, all of which came from both directions. A few fellow racers had some close calls and got into some angry shouting matches.
|Racers versus aerodynamic baby strollers.|
Around 12.5, I started seeing cheering race marshalls who all yelled, "You're so close! Keep going! You're almost there!" (I didn't really believe them, though, because I think everyone always tells you you're so close even if you're not.)
I saw Adam around mile 13, smiling and waving his Terrible Towel (this was a preset arrangement to help me find him in the crowd). It was such a welcome sight!
Adam jumped in and ran with me to the finish line, stepping off to the side at the very end. It helped to momentarily take my mind off of my overwhelming fatigue. My official finishing time was 2:34:10. It was a lot slower than I was targeting, but the heat had a much larger impact than I was expecting. At that point I was just happy to have finished.
My legs were aching and it hurt to stand without moving, so we kept walking around. Thankfully I never felt like I was ever truly in danger of throwing up! After a few minutes with some food and beverage I started to feel human again.
After getting home I took my first-ever ice bath, which I had always been terrified of doing but it felt terrific. I then showered, foam rolled, stretched, and put on my compression sleeves. Some quality time with the couch combined with some Bacino's Chicago-style deep dish spinach and mushroom pizza for dinner, and I was almost as good as new.
Takeaways and Lessons Learned:
- BodyGlide, BodyGlide, BodyGlide (or some other preventitive measure against skin chafes - yikes!) Use it even if you don't think you need it.
- I never thought I would curse the day when the temperatures were in the low 80s and sunny in Chicago. But, I guess everything has its time and place. I knew that the temps would negatively impact me, but I really had no idea the magnitude that it could have over an extended distance. Wow.
- The challenges of this race brought me back down to earth on wanting to run as many races as I can. Now I am glad that I didn't sign up for more races than I have (a 10-miler next month, another half marathon in July, then the full marathon in October).
- I have a LOT of training to do over the next several months to prepare for the full marathon. A LOT.
- Ice baths are a really, really good thing for post-run muscle recovery. Now I understand why people go through them. They are going to become a common ritual for me now.