New to Triathlons, New to Shropshire. An Orthotist tracks her training with a love of spreadsheets, graphs, photos and prose.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Chicago Half Marathon Race Report

Wow!  It feels great to finally finish a half marathon.  If you remember it was spontaneously signing up for the Great North Run that got me started running in the first place.  Now, even though i don't get to run that race, i have a HM under my belt.  A little earlier than my training plan had me ready for, but running 11.5 miles 2 weeks ago made me believe i could run the distance.  I didn't believe though, that i would be able to run it as fast as i did.  I had high hopes of hitting the 2:15 mark so when i came across the pace tattoos in the race expo i grabbed four: the 2:05 - for my Birmingham race, the 2:10, 2:15 and 2:20 as i didn't know what i was going to aim for.

The night before i decided by elimination.  2:05 was my Birmingham time.  2:20 wasn't a high enough aim.  2:10 and 2:15 were what i thought achievable so i went with 2:15 so that if anything, i would hopefully better my goals, rather then fail them.

Pace tattoo on my forearm.

I had a big steak and jacked potato the night before and as i had a little hangover belly i allowed myself two ciders. But i did make myself drink a ton of water too.  I didn't want to take this race too seriously, i was seeing friends who i see rarely and won't see for ages so just went with the flow.  I was in bed by 10pm though.

Everything prep'd for the next day.

Overly large 'medium' shirt.

At 5am my alarm went off, though i was already awake 10 minutes prior.  I got up, dressed and ate a small bowl of oats and yoghurt and drank a tall glass of water.  I mixed one of those hotel instant coffee sachets in to a couple of ounces of cold water and downed it.  Thankfully my wonderful husband offered to drive me down-town to the train that they had put on for the runners.  He dropped me off with the mobs of sports clad early risers.  I was getting really excited now.

I realised on the train that i forgot my shades and that really pissed me off. I rarely go outside in the sun without them, never mind run for 2 hours.  But i didn't let it spoil my mood.  I spent 30 minutes in line to use the porta-jon , ate my banana and by that time it was 6.45am.  The race started at 7am.

I ran a little to warm up and got in line in the 2:15 pace area.  I chatted to a couple of people, one guy had only ran a 5k before and when i saw him at mile 7 he said that that was the longest he had run ever - that's crazy! I hope he made it.

It took ten minutes to get to the start.  I forced myself to keep a slow pace, running over a ten minute mile.  I really wanted to run the race properly. A slow start, conserve the energy and have a faster second half than the first.  What actually happened was that there was barely 3 minutes between the first and second half split.  The that's just fine with me.  When i was hurting i was still running just a bit faster than the first half.

I had one packet of organic pomegranate chews and planned on drinking water at every station.  I ended up taking gatoraide 3 times and water 3 times and doubling up once.  It was warm out but with no shade and salt from the drying sweat it felt harshly hot.  I ran through a mister once and that was divine.

It was tough keeping pace. The adrenaline made me want to run faster, the crowds were spacious but everyone was running different paces so i just never settled in to a pace.  I checked my watch a ton. At the 8 mile mark i decided to push it a bit more.  I believe looking at my split stats that this just kept me on goal.

As i neared the end i really picked it up. I wanted to finish strong, knowing i was close got the adrenaline pumping again which gave me a boost.  The crowds were SUCKIE!!  Yes there were folks there, but they were't supportive.  They waited until their friends or family passed and ignored the rest of us.  I was very disappointed, and glad that the excitement of finishing my first HM was enough to turn on the adrenaline pump.  As you can see from the numbers i really tried hard at the end, and i passed a load of folks,  Only a few of us were really pushing for a strong finish. Everyone else just kept on moving.  I prefer my finish technique.  I may not be fast the previous 12.5 miles but i sure as shit will try to look it for the last .6 mile of the race.

And then it was over.  A bottle of water, a finishers medal, a dropped cookie which i grabbed for Jeff but then didn't want in my race picture, a granola bar also for Jeff tucked in my skirt out of sight, photo, banana, and then trying to find Jeff in the heat and blinding sun with sore legs.

What a fantastic morning!!!

I loved it.  

13.1 miles 2:10:44  (or Sally says 13.2 in 2:10:42)

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