Race Report: Chicago Half Marathon

Amanda snapped this pic of me right before I crossed the start. Thanks!

Since I’m less than a month from my first full marathon, I decided to use today’s race as a training run.

Guess what?

Training runs aren’t as fun as racing. Shocking.

So, lesson learned. My goal for 2013 is to space out races so I can actually train for and race each one. No more registering for races to use them as supported training runs.

Anyway. Back to today.

My morning started at 4am. I headed downtown and carpooled to the race site with Emily, Erin and Kim. We found free street parking. (Where? I’m not sure. Nearby. I wasn’t really paying attention. 60th Street, on the other side of the train tracks, I think.)

We got there in time for a blogger meet-up:

Pre-race Blogger meet-up … WITH WAFFLES (the dog). L-R: Sara, Waffles, Lauren, Amanda, Me, Kim, Erin, Emily

The race itself was good. The start corrals went quickly, there were lots of aid stations, the course was nice – mostly an out-and-back on Lake Shore Drive. The views were nice – we were right by the lake, and you could catch a few glimpses of downtown, but it was easy to zone out. Also, it’s a big race – 18,000 registered. It’s a little tricky to get there – they kept telling us parking is limited, but public transportation isn’t really convenient (early on a Sunday morning), so they offered shuttles and extra Metra trains from downtown. I’m glad I was able to carpool, even if I had to drive downtown to do it.

My friend Jessica ran her first half marathon today in 2:13!!!! I did see this sign on the course (I stole this from her FB page) but I didn’t realize it was for her, so I totally missed her boyfriend Keith [who I’ve known for years] who was holding the sign!!!
Like I said, my plan was to just use this as my long run for the week. I kept my heart rate low for the first 10 miles, and then pushed it a little bit for the final three. I didn’t want to finish tired, and I didn’t want my heart rate to go above what I might target at the beginning of a half marathon.

The weather today was great. It finally cooled off, I don’t think it even hit 60 degrees by the time the race started, and we got a nice breeze off the lake. The final miles were a little sunny (not much shade on Lake Shore Drive), but not too bad.

Post-race, Erin hosted a delicious brunch.

After brunch. Please ignore my super-stylish bermuda shorts + knee-high compression socks … maybe Erin will ask me to do a guest post on her fashion blog?

Because I ran both 13.1 Chicago in June and the Chicago Half Marathon today, I completed the “Windy City Challenge” and got an extra medal.

windy city challenge

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18 Comments on “Race Report: Chicago Half Marathon”

  1. I think one of my favorite things about this race is that I always know so many people running it but it’s not so huge that you can’t plan meetups before and after!

  2. It was so great to meet you in person yesterday!!! And way to go on an incredibly strong race, despite you not “racing” it.

    Cheers to both of us finishing our marathon training seasons strong!!!

  3. I think I saw that sign too!

    I have done a few races as training runs and they have been as fun as races, but have been done with friends. So that was kind of what yesterday was for me. Bonus medal at the end! But it sucks when you want to go fast and have to hold back (although it’s good mentral training!).

    1. Right after the race started, I wished I had found someone to pace, or maybe had run with you and Emily. At least that would have been more fun than 10 miles of “I guess I’ll just keep running easy … “

  4. I went back and forth myself on how to run this race with the full marathon coming. I just couldn’t seem to get the itch out of my head to push it. Great job on the race. I was bummed I didn’t get there in time to meet up with all of you.

  5. Ok I am officially jealous of the blogger meet-up! I MUST make it out to one at the next race.

    I think I’m the opposite of you, as actually racing a race makes me feel anxious due to my own expectations. I hope to one day reach a point where you are where racing a race (wow I write so well) is exciting and exhilarating instead of stressful!

    1. It took me awhile before I started to think about “racing” instead of just trying to stick to a training plan and get through race day. Probably a year and a half. It also took a lot of reading up on running, and training plans, and speedwork, etc. But the first time I really focused on a training plan, and doing different type of training runs and not just covering the distances, and really started improving … race day was just so much fun. I’ve often heard that the training is the hard part, race day is just the icing on the cake. That was true for my goal half marathon in early June. (And hopefully the marathon next month??? Right now I’m not really thinking about that as a race, just want to compete the distance!)

  6. Congrats on completing your long run. Good that you and I stuck to the training plans for the Chicago Half, regardless of how frustrating it was to not race it properly. The full is the ultimate goal!

  7. Congrats on another half! And also yay for sticking with your HR plan. Its hard not to get caught up and push the pace to see what you’re capable of. You are a racing machine and I’m not surprised you’re starting to burn out. Even if it’s just a training run, you’re still waking up earlier and stressing about the event more so than if you were going on a normal long run. I like throwing in some races during longer training cycles to change up the motonony of the regular training. But it’s hard to not go all out for them.

    3 weeks to go! I’m so excited for you 😉

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