I decided to sign up for my second half marathon for 2013 shortly after I had signed up for my first one of the year, which was the Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville. There were good discounts for both races if you signed up early so I decided to go for it and signed up in late 2012. Soon after running a PR (person record) at the half in Nashville I figured I could easily beat my time since I had more time to prep for the second half marathon of 2013, which would be 3 months later.
Marathon training started in June and I realized early on it’s a lot harder to run in the heat and humidity of Chicago than I thought. I actually have never trained in the hot summer months before, always sticking to Spring and Fall races. Before I knew it the Chicago Rock ‘n Roll Half was here and honestly I knew I would try to go for a PR (don’t we always?), but I told myself if I wasn’t feeling it I wouldn’t let myself be disappointed.
The race had an early start of 6:30 AM, which meant I needed to be up by 4 AM to make the 30 minute commute and get prepared for the race. The weather had cooled off a tad from the 90’s on previous days to 70’s at race start. I was placed in Corral 4 since my goal time was 1:45, which meant just a few minutes after the official start I got running my second half marathon of the year.
On a side note, can I tell you I have the best personal race photographer and I suppose boyfriend :)! David woke up with me at 4 AM to come support me! Here is one of his shots at the beginning of the race. I actually saw him 3 times during the race, which brought a smile to my face each time (the only time during the race I was smiling).
I felt strong until mile 6, actually sticking with the 1:45 pace group, but soon after I felt myself getting weaker at that pace and decided the PR was not going to happen. At mile 7 the race course turned onto Michigan Ave where there was a huge crowd cheering extremely loud, this was just the encouragement I needed to still push through knowing I wasn’t going to make a PR.
One of the great things about running downtown is the scenery. I always enjoy running through the city and seeing the buildings and the lake. There is always an awesome Chicago crowd cheering you on too!
Miles 8 through 13.1 were HARD! Miles 8 and 9 seemed to really drag, I think heading south where there weren’t as many spectators took a tole as well. Then mile 10 hit and it got even rougher! At that point I was honestly just wondering if I was going to be able to finish the race and kept telling myself to just keep going. I usually pick it up and have a negative split for races, but my legs were just to heavy and I was too hot to kick it in for the last couple of miles. This picture sums up how I felt on those hard miles. Save me……..
Here I am crossing the finish line and you can tell by the look on my face that I just want to be done and a big bottle of water.
The biggest thing I learned from this race is that summer races in Chicago require a lot more water breaks. I actually have never stopped at every water station in any race before until the Chicago Half. I actually grabbed more than one water cup at late mile stations and felt dehydrated the entire race. The guys spraying hoses at runners and the cold wet sponges they handed out at mile 10 were amazing! Here I am with my ice cold wash rag and water bottle at the end-Heaven! Oh ya, and another half marathon finishers medal isn’t too bad either.
My fellow race buddies Stacy and Kendal also agreed that the race was hell! Maybe we just aren’t cut out for hot races even if the course is primarily flat. Each of us did better on much hillier courses, which just goes to show temperature takes a big toll on everyone.
Celebratory brews with David, much deserved!
Here is a shot of my numbers, not to shabby for feeling like I was going at a snail’s pace.
One thing I realized after this race is that I really am a “runner”. Not every race is going to be a PR, but after running this race I didn’t feel like I had just ran a half marathon. Earlier when I started running I would have thought running the half marathon event was a HUGE thing. No, I’m not saying that running a half marathon isn’t a big deal because it is, but to me it just felt like something I do and is part of who I am.