Monday, September 9, 2013

Race Recap: Chicago Half Marathon

I ran a FREE half marathon last Sunday! Several months ago, I won a giveaway contest for the Chicago Half Marathon. Somehow, I made a place for it amidst my busy weekends. Best of all, Amanda offered me a free place to crash and picked up my packet... saving me a ton of travel time into downtown Chicago the day before.

When the alarm went off at 4:15 am Sunday morning, I felt completely out of sorts. I took a quick cold shower in an attempt to wake my body up. Dressing quickly as "neon twins", we were out the door, picking up some other runners on the way into Chicago. Let me just say... the amount of driving big city people do amazes me. I could never spend that much time in a car on a daily basis.
I'm standing UP on the curb and I'm still
a little shorty next to

After a bit of parking confusion, we were finally out of the car. There was no question where to go... just follow the thousands of runners heading towards Jackson Park. I've run a number of races in downtown Chicago - many on the lakeshore path, so I was delighted to hear this event was a different location (southside). Knowing that I had a well-versed hostess, I literally did zero logistical prep for this race. Shoot, I didn't even know the route! I was pretty much a little puppy, following Amanda wherever she led me. We lined up a little behind the two-hour pace group and waited for the start.

I had no goals for this race other than to run comfortable. I wanted a long training run that felt good and strong. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. My 18th half marathon was one of the roughest 13.1's I've ever run. Boo...

The morning temps were in the lower 70's, but that damn humidity hung in the air (again). As soon as we started running, the sweat immediately began to trickle down my forehead. I wore a visor instead of my usual BondiBand and was immediately regretting that decision. Thankfully, the sun was tucked behind cloud cover. It could have been so much worse if that sun was blazing.
Our outfits were pretty much designed around the last month's Sock-of-the-Month.
We are both huge fans of ProCompression.

Mile 1 - 9:31
Mile 2 - 9:34
Mile 3 - 9:35
Mile 4 - 9:37
The start was a cluster, as all these big city races are. I didn't bother with much bob and weaving as I didn't really care and we were moving consistent. The first four miles wound around Jackson Park before we headed north. Once we hit Lakeshore Drive, the road opened up and the run was less congested. This is also about the time my quad muscles started to remind me of how much they needed a rest day. (On the way to the race, I had massaged my achey quads with muscle cream, but it just wasn't enough to revive them for a race.)

Mile 5 - 9:45
Mile 6 - 9:59
Mile 7 - 9:55
Mile 8 - 10:29
The course was fairly flat (it's Chicago!), but my poor quads felt any little incline, no matter how faint. I grew tired quickly and was utterly disappointed with how I was feeling. Of course, it was all my own doing. (Don't ever underestimate the importance of rest days. I'm having a hard time fitting them in lately while teaching at the gym.) Amanda and I were running together - kinda... in the same vacinity, but not side-by-side. I'm not a fan of chitter chatter during races, so our conversation was a combination of one-words, grunts and pointing.

The lakeshore views were pretty and there was a nice wind blowing off the water. The mass of people running in front of me was overwhelming. I kinda felt like I was in last place... until we hit the turnaround. I started walking through every water stop around mile 6. Surprisingly, I remembered to take a GU at mile 7. I was covered in wet sweat and had to wrestle with the gel to get it open. As promised, I allowed myself to flip on the music at the turnaround point (mile 8.5)... a welcome relief!

Mile 9 - 10:13
Mile 10 - 10:03
Mile 11 - 10:41
I found myself a bit bored on the way back. I had to concentrate to keep a healthy pace, but continued to walk through every water stop. Unlike last week's race, there seemed to be nonstop aid stations. I almost felt guilty stopping to walk drink so much. I was consuming way more fluid than I'm used to on the run and it was sloshing around in my belly... yet I was still so darn thirsty. I find humidity such a tricky weather condition to run under.

Mile 12 - 10:18
Mile 13 - 9:28
The end was near and I focused soley on that. Evidently, I found some extra energy to bring it home as my last mile was the fastest of them all! Even at the finish, the road was full of people. As we picked up speed down the finishing chute, I had to weave around runners to find an opening. My run buddy Amanda and I finished at exactly the same time... right down to the second.

Official Chip Time 2:11:06
avg pace 10:00 min/mile
Overall  #4777 out of 10,594
Female  #2013 out of 5958
Div F35-39  #295 out of 856

After our exhausting finish, we couldn't get over how WET we were. Literally, we were ringing out our tanks and skirts for the next hour. My legs were slippery wet, like I just got out of a pool. I can't remember the last time I had sweat like that before.

Amanda scored us VIP passes, so we made our way over the big white tent by the finish line for a huge spread of yummy food, beer and ice cold soda (which I was totally jonsing...)
best post-race plate ever!

The best part of the Chicago Half Marathon for me was meeting up with all the bloggers that run this race! I loved chatting with new friends and finally meeting some whom I feel like I've known forever... It's amazing the bonds one can make online with people of similar passions.
Bloggers Rock!

Overall, I thought the Chicago Half Marathon was a great event, despite my disappointing run. The race seemed well organized from my perspective, and the course could easily be a PR run. I wouldn't mind seeing more corrals or graduated starts to alleviate the early cluster. Thanks so much for hosting and running with me Amanda! You made this "big city race" so easy for me.


  1. Way to stick it out on a tough day. The humidity was ridiculous. I've run that one a few times and it always seems to be hot. Also a royal PIA for me to get to.

  2. Ran the race but was alot further back - first time on that course - worst was in the cab waiting to get to it - ended up getting out and walking and then REALLY had to use a portapottie but the race was starting - made it to 3 miles before I could just walk into one - enjoyed it immensely - and yes did ring clothes out, but after all our heat - just a normal run!

  3. You two look amazing! And, that finisher's plate looks delish! Congrats!

  4. Love the outfits! Congrats!

  5. Chicago Half was my very 1st half in 2010!! LOVE your socks & your outfits :)

  6. Congratulations - way to push through! You and Amanda looked ADORABLE in your matching outfits. It was great to chat with you post-race at the VIP tent!

  7. Love your outfit! I MUST get those socks.

  8. Congratulations! Love your matching outfits. I also ran the Chicago Half this year, a decision made 3 days before the race and 4 days after completing Disney's Dumbo Double Dare. I liked the race but it was pretty hot and humid for my taste. I finished right behind you. My blog is

  9. It was so great to meet you! way to make it through a tough 13.1!

  10. What-I LOVE your socks and outfits, so fun and bright! Congrats!

  11. sounds like you made the best out of a tough run. I run my first ever half this weekend and I'm getting nervous. Thanks for sharing your story!

  12. Way to keep going!!! Love the outfit btw!

  13. Nice job on getting it done. You and Amanda looked great in your matching outfits.

  14. Great job toughing it out!! Oh and as always love the outfit!! Humidity is such a killer...I am looking forward to runs where I'm not drenched and fighting for air!

  15. Awesome job Jess!! Awesome getting to meet you and look forward to seeing you at another race!

  16. I see you met Karen, I'm JEALOUS!! Glad it was fun overall though. =)

  17. Love the outfit. Congrats on another great run.

  18. Yay for blogger meet-ups! Loved your outfits :) Humidity will suck the will to run right out of you. You did great :)

  19. Doh! Read your blog and was so close to a hello... I was at the table behind you when you took a group photo in VIP. Next time. :-(. Didn't even connect it was you!


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