Chicago Spring Half Marathon - Run

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Chicago, Illinois
United States
Life Time Fitness Athletic Events
76F / 24C
Total Time = 2h 29m 18s
Overall Rank = 3257/4481
Age Group = F 30-34
Age Group Rank = 278/440
Pre-race routine:

I had to wake up at 4:30 am as I was the designated driver for our running team. I picked Liz and her partner, then Joe (Liz's friend - it was the first time I met him), and off to downtown Chicago. The weather was BEAUTIFUL and I started to worry that it would be too hot (what an awesome thing to worry about..)
Event warmup:

The original plan was to run for 10 minutes before the race to warm up, but we decided that 10 minutes walk from parking garage was sufficient. Also, we lost plenty of time in the restroom line and the volunteers started to warn us that the corrals were closing in a moment (as if they did not let us run...)
  • 2h 29m 18s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 11m 24s  min/mile

I signed up for this race to keep Liz company. She did this race last year (it was her first HM), but was not prepared enough and it was a painful/miserable experience. This time she wanted to have fun, and since we enjoyed training together, I promised her I would do that race too (my only hesitation towards this specific race was that I was not a big fan of large and super crowded races, and also – the beer they offered at the end SUCKS… that’s enough reason for me not to participate ;) ) With that being said, our overall goal was to finish with a satisfaction on our faces. We wanted to have FUN. We had a tentative goal of 2:30, so I came up with a plan to make it non-painful: first two miles at 12mi/min, then 11:30 for the rest, and 11:00 for the last two miles. With speedy mode at the 0.1 segment.

Joe, Liz’s friend, is much faster than us, but said he would love to stay with us as it would be more fun (Liz and I are goofy). They were kind of making fun about my schedule, as well as two bags of gummy bears I packed. I was like: you guys will beg me on your knees to have those gummies at mile 10…. Anyways, we started the run and I got super worried that we were two fast. My legs felt as if it was their first time running. It was a combination of wood and clay. It was like running in the mud. With wooden legs. I decided to ignore the feeling as J and L were in the energy mode. At the first water station I grabbed the cup and poured it over my neck – I love that cool feeling. A moment later I realized it was not water, but energy drink… I was uncomfortable at first, but did not worry about it later.

When we crossed mile 1 and I saw we were going under 10:30 I got concerned. Even during the trainings we were still above 11. I did not have enough sleep the night before and I was not looking forward to crawling for the last few miles. L and J were engaged in a funny conversation, and I could not share their enthusiasm. Then I thought if that would be the case we are all tired at mile 10 and have to walk, then at least all three of us will be walking. So at least, let me join the goofy club. We were doing surprisingly well and kept the steady ~11:00 pace mile after mile. We were joking, laughing, it was awesome.

At some point we run past the place where my dad died and I felt a bit of anxiety. L and J showed me their support which made me feel better, and we just continued running.

Guys, it did not felt as if we were running half marathon…. I was feeling fantastic!!! Legs were doing great work, my body did not feel any fatigue. I took Ibuprofen around mile 4 just in case. I don’t think it helped me with anything, as I started to feel my knees around mile 7 (it was not pain per se, it was rather feeling the existence of my knees), and it went away before mile 9. L and J had to stop for #2 on our way back, so we lost couple of minutes, but we were still on track for our 2:30, which made me feel so happy – especially since I felt really well and strong.

Everyone loved the gummy bears past mile 6. Two bags of gummies were gone before we even finished ;)

Around mile 10 I got the energy shot. I felt so powerful I could have smashed that run. During the race Joe and I were pacing the group, with either of us being at the front. This time I took the lead and only checking if Joe’s green shirt popped up in the corner of my eye. I also made sure I saw Liz’s pink shirt in the corner of my second eye. She was behind, but still within the range. I kept asking if she was okey and she yelled she was. I felt so strong I wanted to go faster, but I worried about Liz. I realized she was not going to go faster. As a matter of fact, I had a feeling she was struggling to keep up. Of course she would not admit she was not okey. Especially seeing two of us leading and not showing a sweat. I thought, you know what – this is Liz’s race, I only signed up because of her. My “mission” here was to keep her company and make it a fantastic experience. I have more HM races coming this year – I will have plenty of chances for PR. Feeling so much strength at mile 10 only proves I can do HM well. Right now my spot is next to Liz. So I slowed down and joined her. I started some conversations and made some jokes. Somebody had a sign “punch here for more power” I said come on, we gotta punch it for more power!! Then whenever I saw camera man, I encouraged us to do silly faces. Just anything that would distract her from having the hard time in the last 2 miles. Joe slowed down and joined us as well. At mile 12 we still had about 15 minutes to our goal time, so I knew we would do it (we run ~11:30 at that point). So I told L that we could slow down, we would be fine. Once we crossed 13 mark I started to sing silly songs to make her forget she just run 13 miles and to get us into speedy mode to cross the line. We raced the last few steps and had a blast crossing the line TOGETHER. All three of us :)
I was really happy that L enjoyed the race and was not even half as tired as last year. It was a phenomenal experience :)

What would you do differently?:

Probably nothing. At first I was mad and worried we did not follow my carefully prepared plan, but we proved we were capable to run at that pace and finished with smiles on our faces. Even Liz.
Oh, I know what i would do different: make sure you use water when pouring on yourself. Even if the liquid looks like water.
Post race
Warm down:

Walk to the restroom. Grabbed breakfast. Took post-race pictures.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The need to be there for my friend :)

Event comments:

I think I found the distance I was born to run! I was always so scared of half-marathons, the training and the distance, and the time on the course were terrifying. It took me four training seasons to finally make an attempt. Running HM is such an amazing experience. I love every part of it (well, maybe except first 3 minutes, when my legs are trying to figure out wtf).
Overall, I had a blast :)

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Last updated: 2016-05-23 12:00 AM
02:29:18 | 13.1 miles | 11m 24s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/440
Overall: 0/4481
Performance: Good
Course: Along the lake shore. It was beautiful and green around. I loved the view!
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4