It's funny, though. The more and more I run these races these days, the less effort I put into training for them and the less that I care about performance.
However, I do still like adding to my medal collection. And since I ran both the Allstate Chicago 13.1 Marathon back in June as well as the Chicago Half Marathon yesterday, I earned an extra medal for completing the "Windy City Challenge." Excellent!
Pre-race I met up with some bloggers at Sara's Run for HD tent. Many thanks to Sara for hosting us there!
|From L to R: Maggie, Sara and her dog Waffles, Eric, Jennifer, and me|
Now, onto the race itself. Let's go with "the good, the bad, and the ugly"-type race recap today.
- For once, I did not have trouble getting up at the usual ungodly hour on the morning of the race!
- The race start and finish are in Hyde Park. Having previously worked in the neighborhood, I knew exactly where to park, which helped take away a lot of potential pre-race stress.
- Fantastic course support. Countless enthusiastic volunteers and tons of aid stations along the course. From mile 9 on, it felt like there was an aid station almost every mile.
- The portion of the course along Lake Shore Drive has some good views of the lake. Plus, since all the streets are number-streets (e.g. 47th Street) it's nice to have a sense for exactly how much distance you've covered/have remaining.
- Lots of spectators and funny signs along the course that said things like, "The only time I run is when the ice cream truck is doing sixty."
- The weather was decent. It was in the 70s and overcast, albeit quite humid.
- No issues with fueling pre-race or during the race. For the most part, despite fatigue setting in around mile 11 as usual, I felt pretty good out there.
- There was apparently some kind of a corral system, but I had no idea what corral I was in and didn't see any indication on my bib. It seemed like nobody else really knew, either. So instead, I just lined up in between the 2:20 and 2:30 pacers.
- I had to make a stop just after mile 3 to use a portapotty. One of these days I will get my pre-race hydration routine down so that I can consistently avoid losing time to portapotty stops.
- As much as I love spectators, there were areas where the spectators were crowding into the course and the runners had to weave around them.
- I went into this race without caring very much about my finishing time, but was ideally looking to finish sub-2:25. I kept the pace fairly comfortable for the entire race, didn't look at my Garmin too much, and forgot to hit the lap button at several of the mile markers. I didn't even attempt to pick up the pace during the last couple of miles. It wasn't until I was probably 50 feet away from the finishing line that I saw on my Garmin that I was approaching 2:25. So I sprinted the last 50 feet. But I ended up finishing in 2:25:04. Had I picked things up just a tiny bit more, I could have easily broken 2:25. Grrr. Oh well.
- You may recall that I was plagued with groin pain starting last year around this time. This year, up until this point groin pain had not been a problem for me (which I was crediting to more cross-training and more yoga). But lo and behold, I started experiencing some groin pain again yesterday. I don't remember exactly at what point it started to hurt, although I think it was somewhere around mile 9 or mile 10. In any event - clearly this problem is not entirely behind me.
- Usually at any given race I will only see a couple of runners down and/or in need of medical treatment. But yesterday, I think I saw at least seven or eight runners down. There seemed to be an unusually high presence of medical personnel zooming around in their vehicles and frantically communicating on their walkie-talkies.
- Near mile 9, I saw a woman who, shall we just say, had obviously needed to use a portapotty but clearly didn't make it in time. I won't go into further detail other than to say that it looked very, very uncomfortable. Nevertheless, she was just plugging along as if nothing had happened. Kudos to her for not giving up!
Post race I met up again with some bloggers:
|From L to R: Lindsay, Maggie, Jess, Amanda, and me|
Final Thoughts and What's Next
I did enjoy this race, the atmosphere, the views of the lake, and the energy of the crowd and the volunteers. But I won't kid you that I am sore today and walking more slowly than usual. Basically I am reminded yet again that the half marathon distance should not be taken lightly. And oh my god, I still have two more of them to run this year, including what is supposed to be a PR attempt for my next half marathon in five weeks.
I continue to not be very motivated to keep the training dial turned up. Last year, after running a full marathon, I said that I wanted to tone the distances down a bit this year and just focus on half marathons. But now, I am thinking that next year I might want to tone the distances down even further and just focus on 10Ks, LOL.