Here are a few snapshots from the race expo:
|Brooks had their usual eye-popping displays.
|It was awesome that Sargento was one of the sponsors this year!
I thoroughly enjoyed the cheese sticks they were handing out.
|Met up with Xaarlin and Luis. Xaarlin and I decided to ham it up a bit.
The night before the race, I went to my friend Jenny's wedding. I am so happy for Jenny and her new husband, Kenny!
|Jenny and me at the reception
The next morning, I was back up and at 'em at the crack of dawn. Since I was in Corral 21, my plan was to minimize my wait time in the corrals as much as possible. I rode a Divvy bike over to Grant Park, stopped at gear check and the portapotties, then shimmied into my corral. Less than 15 minutes later, I crossed the start line.
The weather was very, very muggy. Thankfully the temperature was only in the upper 70s/low 80s - but that humidity was killer. It's usually not a good sign when you're already dripping sweat before you've even started the race!
The outset of the course included lower Randolph and other "lower" streets, affording some lakefront and river views, before winding through downtown. I was thankful for all of the shade and any breezes. I definitely wasn't shooting for any time goals so I took the pace easily.
I tried to absorb my surroundings as if I were a visitor. Gosh, the city and lakefront are beautiful! I smiled when I saw folks stopping to take pictures of things that I consider commonplace, such as the elevated train tracks.
The humidity kept wearing on me. By the time I got to about the 10K mark, I was already ready to call it a day. Some of the water stations were having trouble keeping up with all the runners taking the filled cups. I dropped down to doing run/walk intervals and was challenging myself to run as long as possible each time.
I tried to draw energy from the fun music being blasted at points along the course. There was a woman around Mile 7 who was shouting:
"There will be a day when you can no longer do this.
Today is NOT that day!"
Around Mile 9, the course included a half-mile out-and-back along Martin Luther King Drive. It was awful. I was very tempted to cheat and cut it out entirely. However, I grudgingly ran the whole thing. My biggest motivation was that I thought the race organizers might have a timing mat at the turnaround point. (It turns out they didn't.)
Thank goodness for the cold sponges that volunteers were handing out around Mile 11.5. The McCormick Place tunnel that followed was stuffy and claustrophobic, as always. But after emerging from the tunnel, we were rewarded with a gorgeous view of the Chicago skyline:
The day's humidity was definitely the worst I have ever experienced at any race. Along the course, I saw at least five runners down and being helped by medical personnel. I later heard that at least ten folks had been taken to local hospitals. Yikes.
Time for post-race fun! I met up with Xaarlin, Luis, Cristina, and CB. And I drank the most heavenly glasses of ice water in my entire life.
So ends the story of my 22nd half marathon!!!
As much as I enjoy summertime in Chicago, I am looking forward to running some fall races. Whew!
Linking up with April, Patty, and Erika for Tuesdays on the Run, and with Jessica and Stacey for Race Recaps.