Race Report: Chicago Half Marathon

Last year, I ran the Chicago Half Marathon as part of my Chicago Marathon training, so I used this race as a training run and took it easy. And I was also feeling some training burnout, so I honestly didn’t have much fun at the race. This year, with nothing other than a couple 5K’s on the calendar after, I could race.

We spent yesterday at my husband’s parents’ house – both of his sisters, bro-in-law and our niece and nephew were there, so it was great to be able to spend time with everyone. Also, I realized dinner with my in-laws is the perfect way to carbo-load. Their motto when it comes to family meals is “more everything.” Especially carbs. And my father-in-law is a fantastic cook and baker and made a delicious German chocolate cake.

When I was at the expo after work on Friday, I picked up a shuttle bus ticket just in case. But when race morning came, I made the last-minute decision to drive. Getting to the race via shuttle might have been easier (not having to deal with finding parking), but I hate having to wait around when I’m ready to go home, especially when I’m sweaty and tired. Luckily, I was able to score a free spot on 63rd Street not far from the start line.

I met up with some blogger friends before the race:

Screen shot 2013-09-08 at 5.01.15 PM

Me, Sara (and Waffles), Eric, Jennifer, Emily – thanks to Sara for letting us meet at the Run for HD tent! (And leave gear there.) Now go donate to her, she’s working hard raising money. 

I didn’t train hard for this race, but I did to the standard long runs, and I had been doing a little bit of speedwork for the mile relay, so I wanted to race this and see where I’m at. A little part of me thought maybe I could PR, and while it was overcast and the temps were comfortable, it was humid. But I wanted to run by heart rate and see how I did.

My first four miles were just over a 9-minute pace, but from there on, I was running around 8:40-8:50. So, no PR unless I went crazy in the second half. And given that I saw a few people down during the last mile or so (and one in the finish corral), I wasn’t really inspired to go crazy. My official finish time was 1:57:00, an 8:55 pace. My second fastest half, and just over 3 minutes from my PR, so not too shabby.

Overall, I think this is a great race. The course is a little crowded at the beginning – I’m pretty sure a guy spit and it got on my shoe (WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE) but once you get onto Lake Shore Drive around mile 3-4, the course widens and it’s comfortable. Running by the lake was great – it was cloudy, we could hear the waves crashing ashore, and there were a crazy amount of water stations on the course.

After the race I headed to the VIP area and ran into some other bloggers.

Screen shot 2013-09-08 at 5.25.19 PM

Lindsay, me, Jess, Amanda, Emily

I refueled with pizza and beer but my clothes were still wet from sweat and pouring water on myself during the race. Even though the temps were in the mid-70s, it was still overcast and I was starting to feel cold when there was a breeze, so I headed back to my car.

As I was getting into my car, a couple of ladies who had obviously also ran the race came up to me. They said they weren’t able to find a cab and asked if I could give them a ride downtown. (They weren’t together but I think ran into each other after the race trying to get cabs.) Given the neighborhood, I’m not surprised that there were no cabs (although maybe the race organizers could coordinate better to have some head that way post-race). I knew they would be hanging out for quite waiting for a cab and with no familiarity of the CTA. They seemed friendly so I said sure. Plus going through downtown to get home wouldn’t really take me too far out of my way.

I feel like a jerk, because I don’t remember their names, but I remember one woman was from Minnesota and recently got engaged and the other woman was from Columbus and is running more half marathons this season (including Detroit, I think). I dropped them off at their hotels near Grant Park and River North and then got back on the expressway and was home by noon.

So, up next I have the Oktoberfest 5K with the Wurst Running Club Ever on Sept 19, and then the Carerra de los Muertos 5K on Nov 2 (with a rare race appearance by my husband). A small part of me wants to look for a late September or October half marathon to try for a PR, but at the same time … I have fewer than $30 left in my 2013 race budget, plus it would be nice to enjoy running for a while without the pressure of a race.

Have you ever been stranded after a race?

Would you ever give a ride to a stranger? One time my parents were at the Garfield Park Conservatory and ran into a kid (college age) from out of town who was alone and horribly lost, and they gave him a ride to the South Shore (Indiana) train station. 

Share this post

30 Comments on “Race Report: Chicago Half Marathon”

  1. Fancy seeing you Friday! The humidity was gross, I don’t know that I’ve ever been that sweaty post race. Congrats on a great split!

    I was spit on too, only it hit my hand and stomach. I let out a big “ewwwwwwaaaaaahhhhh” an the guy looked at me like I was crazy.

    1. What is wrong with people?? If you need to spit, why is it so hard to move to the side???

      It was good to see you too on Friday! Hope you had fun at the wedding!

  2. Great race! I think I ended up getting to my apartment around 12:15 and took the longest hot shower ever. After being soaked during the race and then sitting outside for a few hours, I was freezing!

    Also, ew to the guy spitting on your shoe.. seriously? I had a guy pour water down one of my legs during a water station but by the point I was dripping wet already and I didn’t care.

    1. Pouring water on your leg reminds me that some people are rude at the water stops. Like, if you’re going to just toss your cup on the ground, at least crush it first.

  3. Great seeing you, Maggie! Good race with the stupid humidity.

    I’m registered for the Race of the Dead too. And Aby just asked me yesterday if we could run the Hot Choc. OH NO!!! She apparently didn’t get the memo that we are boycotting that race! And she’s begging. Let’s see how strong I am and if I can resist her.

    1. Talk her into the race of the dead! Age group winners get a cool decorated skull. She probably has a shot! Just tell her you’ll get her hot chocolate post race.

  4. Congrats and great job! After a race and runners would probably be the only time I’d consider giving a stranger a ride. They would have to be innocent, right?

  5. Congrats on the near PR. I ran in the humidity yesterday and it wasn’t fun, so I can imagine there were quite a few “casualties” during and after the race. I probably would give someone who was stranded a lift, especially fellow runners after a race. It would have been an elaborate scheme for criminals to dress up in race garb and hang out at the race at 9am!

  6. Wanting to get home right after the race is why I tend to drive (well, make people drive me!) to races more often than not.

    Nice time, especially considering you didn’t want to push yourself too hard (I don’t blame you there – seeing people down always freaks me out a little). I think high humidity is so much worse than heat.

    1. I don’t know if it was the fact that I was “alone” on the south side giving out rides to strangers, but after telling this story to Robert, he was like “I should give you rides to your races.” Oh. NOW he offers that. Better late than never, right?

  7. It sounds like you had a great run. Nice job!
    I gave someone a lift home once when the train doors in our carriage didn’t open at their station, so they missed their stop. Having said that, I’m not sure if I’d accept a lift from someone (even though I’m happy to give one). Is that weird?

    1. I agree, I don’t know how I would feel about getting into a strangers car. But if I was from out of town and seemingly stranded 7 miles from my hotel … I might be a little more willing.

  8. Great race, Maggie! Stellar time, especially with that humidity!

    I have given strangers rides and picked up rides too. One time, Steven picked me up at the train station and this guy got out and started walking down the street (middle of no where kind of place) and we asked and he said he was going to visit a friend at a clinic quite a few miles away. We offered him a ride. How fun that you got to chat with those ladies! And! Good call on driving! I don’t like to wait around after.

    I really liked this course last year. Such a treat to run on LSD!

    P.S. I am doing the Prairie State Half 10/12, but I think it is $55. Shady course though… barely any hills…

  9. Nice work! That’s an awesome, solid time! I love reading all of these race recaps because I am just getting excited to get back out there. And you’re super nice to give those ladies a ride:)

  10. The Chicago Half Marathon is a great race! Congrats on an AWESOME time!!

    That sucks about the guy spitting on you. Gross.

    As for the Carrera de los Muertos, it is a good race too but get there early because parking is just HORRIBLE. I usually wait on 18th street as close as possible to the start line. Plus, you have to pay for parking. Good luck!

  11. It was so great to see you both pre- and post-race! Congratulations on running such a strong race and yay for finding parking so close to the race start/finish line!

    After the Wisconsin Marathon/Half Marathon this past May, there was a man who had done the full marathon who couldn’t remember where he had parked. So he was hobbling around in his helium blanket trying to find his car. I remembered how I felt after finishing 26.2 last year, so I offered to drive him around and help him look for it. We did find it after about 10 minutes – and it saved him a ton of wandering!

    1. Oh man, that sounds rough! Although we weren’t able to hail a cab after the Chicago Marathon and ended up walking about 2 miles to our hotel. I think it help ease soreness.

  12. Looks like I picked a good year to skip the Chicago Half what with the humidity! Still, though, you had an awesome race! And that was nice of you to give those ladies a ride. I would totally do the same thing. I guess that’s why the race organizers push the shuttle option for out-of-towners. I’ve always driven or gotten a ride and never had any issues with finding parking in the area. And, yes, the first three miles or so are crowded but I use those as my warm-up 🙂

  13. Hello Maggie ~ I’m Christine (from Minnesota)… One of the strangers you picked up on Sunday after the race. This was my first time in Chicago and I still cannot thank you enough for the ride on Sunday.

  14. Sorry I missed you at VIP – however, since I was just there for the 5K it meant that when I finished there was no one else there (and therefore no line for a massage). Also I got to eat like I ran a half marathon without actually having to earn it! Hopefully see you at a race soon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.