Race Report: 13.1 Chicago

What a difference 20 degrees makes. And not running on fresh legs. BUT, I only had two goals for this race, and met them both:

  1. Finish happy. It was more “happy to finish,” but it counts. I finished. I didn’t pass out. Not everyone who started the race today can say that.
  2. Keep my heart rate in the 160s. My average was 165. (For reference, my average heart rate for last week’s half marathon was 163.)

But my time? I’ll save you the scroll-down: 2:12:25. Almost 20 minutes slower than last week. But, it was about 20 degrees warmer and there was less shade.

Getting to this race (and home from it) was a journey in and of itself. I carpooled with some F’N Runners to the Museum of Science and Industry for parking, and then took a shuttle to the South Shore Cultural Center. Classy joint. It’s where our President got married. Although we only got to see the outside.

car pool crew

Another plug for I Run With Fast Women shirts (all of my profits are donated to American Cancer Society!)

Pre-race, I met up with some other Chicago running bloggers (and one Miami running blogger!)

Back: Amanda, Kayla, Zach, Sara, Me, Deanna
Middle: Amanda, Cary
Front: Xaarlin, Kim, Britt

I won’t go into a mile-by-mile recap, just bullet points:

  • My first mile beeped at a 10-something pace and I couldn’t help but LOL at the fact that not only was this not a day to PR, it wasn’t a day for sub-2. However, I should feel good that had I not raced last weekend, today still would have been a PR. By 10 minutes. So that feels good.
  • They handed out ice on the course, and I followed Angry Runner’s strategy and dumped the ice into the front of my bra, which was awesome. Actually brought my heart rate down. For once I felt like the men were at a disadvantage. Where would they dump the ice? The obvious answer seems painful.
  • Also, I kept dumping so much water down my back, that it not only soaked my shirt (see carpool photo), but also the back of my shorts. I’m sure other runners thought I peed on myself. Although I thought that it would be great if I did need to pee, I could just go, but I didn’t, so I didn’t. (Sorry to disappoint. But maybe I’ll try this strategy at the marathon.)
  • Erin was on the course around mile 7 handing out red vines. <3 you.
  • Post-race we had Lou Malnati’s pizza (and Michelob Ultra of course). I’m not a big pizza person (I know I know, I’m so un-American) but I kept thinking “pizza pizza pizza” during the last few miles and that pizza was THE BEST PIZZA I’VE EVER HAD IN MY LIFE. And I’ve had Lou Malnati’s pizza before and it’s not my favorite. (Aurelio’s is, by the way.)
  • The course was pretty – the first part was through some very nice lakefront parks and then we had some awesome skyline views from the lakefront path.
Borrowed from a FB friend, Denny if you see this – thanks!!
  • When the course turned back into the SSCC, I thought we’d be done, but no, it kept going and going … so cruel when they set up courses like that.
  • Finishing a race next to the beach is nice in theory, but not in practice when I have to walk through sand in my newest running shoes. I was glad I put flip-flops in my checked bag.


We had another quick Chicago running bloggers meet-up post race, for anyone who couldn’t meet up beforehand.

Sara, Kelly, Kim, me, Amanda


Next race: Jim Gibbons 5K.

What’s your on-course strategy for hot races? Even though I was mildly embarrassed that I probably looked like I peed in my shorts, I really didn’t care. I still kept dumping water on myself, although I started aiming more for my shoulders/chest. 

“Free” post-race beer: Yes or no? I used to never get the free beer but now I do and usually it’s damn good. Even Michelob Ultra. Although after 13 miles, everything is good. I promise I normally drink much better beer. 

What’s your favorite pizza place? (I’m really only interested in your answer if you are from the Chicago area.) We often went to the original Aurelio’s (in Homewood) for extended family gatherings when I was growing up. So it’s not just the pizza that I love, but the memories. Chicago Dough is a close second, which is local to the south suburbs. And Giordano’s is good enough for third place. (Like I said, I don’t even really like pizza but in my experience, every Chicagoan has an opinion or three on pizza.) 

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21 Comments on “Race Report: 13.1 Chicago”

  1. It was rather warm yesterday, and I had that same exact race experience as you! Too hot to even attempt to PR and instead it was just a survival race. Never been that far south, and man was the course beautiful but the lack of shade on the way back really made me feel like I was cookin! I looked for the ice and didn’t see it, jealous that you found it! Love the iced sports bra method and I was hoping to do this to get my body to stay cool, but just never saw the ice stations.

    Congrats on your finish yesterday in UNBEARABLE conditions! Wish we could have had some more time to hang out and chat.

  2. I love Aurelio’s! My BF is from Homewood so he introduced me to it, and now I love it. I probably wouldn’t say it’s my FAVORITE, but it’s definitely on the list of pizzas I enjoy – especially when I’m down in the south suburbs!

    As for other Chicago pizza places, I’m not a huge deep dish fan, but if I had to get deep dish, I’d pick Art of Pizza. Pequod’s is also great (for deep dish if you like that sort of thing, or for their thinner, hand-tossed style). But I think my favorite pizza place in the city is Bricks. It’s more brick-oven style and it’s great.

    Mmmm. Food. I must still be hungry from yesterday. 🙂

  3. Congrats on finishing in those crazy conditions! I ran the 5K and couldn’t have imagined running the half! I hope you’ve cooled off by now:)

  4. I thought the end would never come for the 5k, too. Every time I thought I’d see the finish line, there was another turn. Blast! And I make a mean homemade deep dish.

  5. I actually love lou malnati’s! I just can’t eat pizza after a race though, especially a hot one. That beer was so amazingly refreshing though! Thanks so much for spearheading the before and after meet-ups!! 😀

  6. I kept dumping water during my first half (RnR Chicago 2010) and ended up with wet shoes and awful feet. Now I’m much more pointed on where I dump it. I also do the ice in the bra. I make sure to run through all sprinklers even if I have to cross the street to do it.

    The CARA Ready to Run 20 miler ends at the SSCC but you merely run in and then around to the left. You guys ran further?

    My favorite pizza is Salerno’s.

  7. I apologize for not getting a photo of you! Red Vines duty was a lot more complicated than I had expected 🙂 You looked like you were having a good time, though.

  8. wish i had thought to put the ice down my shirt, but I think I was kind of out of it and that didn’t occur to me until about 2 miles later 🙂

    it was such a pretty course and I’m glad I got to at least say hello to the great chicago run group! I really do hope to come back for a redemption run!!

  9. I am not from Chicago, but my favorite pizza is from Marianos..before you judge..go get the personal pizza from there. They tell you to come back in 8 minutes, and it is ready. I am planning on driving there the weekend before my birthday, for my birthday meal.

  10. The heat was no joke this weekend- I think it surprised everyone!

    I’ve only cashed in on post-race beer maybe once. Usually it’s because I’m with others (who don’t get the free beer) and we just go do breakfast. I don’t mind skipping it. But yes, there is nothing better than a cold beer on a hot day. So I get it.

  11. Great race! I was totally dumping water down my shirt too… and acidentally on another girl. I apologized. Oops. I didn’t get the beer or pizza. I really liked the Oreos! Ha ha! 🙂

  12. Congrats on a smart race! I felt bad for all the runners out there this weekend. It was most definitely a hot one! I’m totally jealous of that Lou Malnati’s pizza. And beer at the finish line always tastes better there than at most other places.

  13. Nice job out there! I was definitely pouring water over my head and I also dumped ice down my bra. I usually drink the post race beer, but this time I didn’t (although I heard they ran out) however I did enjoy the pizza. It was nice meeting you!!

    I have actually never had Aurelios or Chicago Dough, but I do like Giordanos or Rosatis (although rosatis gets extra points because I always had coupons and it was 1/2 mile from my house haha) but I usually don’t get their stuffed/Chicago style pizza.

  14. Congrats on finishing!!! I am so going to try the ice-in-the-bra trick – it sounds like it would be so invigorating and refreshing during a race.

    I’m in suburbia so I’m not too aware of pizza places in the city. However, a great place we have in the suburbs is Viccino’s. If you can hunt one down near you I would highly recommend it!

  15. Congratulations on a great race! It was definitely a hot one out there and I was glad to have finished in one piece. I had some logistical challenges that morning so I missed both blogger photo meetups. =( But I am glad to see that so many folks made it!

    I am an equal-opportunity deep dish pizza eater. I eat them all!!!

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