Short version: To paraphrase Homer Simpson, this race was the suckiest suck that ever sucked. 

Because of the weather. The race itself was great, I had a blast running this last year and it did not disappointment in terms of logistics, entertainment, etc. 

Long version:

The race started at 6:30am, and I was carpooling with Kelly, Amanda and Kim, so my day started at 3:30 when I got out of bed. Awesome. We headed downtown and parked in our “secret” $2 lot, which was a mile from the race site, so unfortunately we were late for the Chicago Running Bloggers meet-up that I had set-up. We ran into some other F’N Runners, and then Kelly and I ran into a couple of other late bloggers, Kayla and Markemmanuel.

 

Then it was off to the corrals, where Amanda and I ran into Nicole in corral 9, which surprised us – she’s speedy, and based on her bib, she should have started in corral 3. She was running her fourth race of the weekend (a 5K on Thursday, half marathon and Muddy Buddy on Saturday, and the RnR half on Sunday) and was going to run with a friend for her [friend’s] 52nd half marathon in 52 weeks, and they were starting in corral 9. It should go without saying that they are both already Half Fanatics. (And I am too … joined this weekend!)

Amanda, me, Nicole

Plug: Get your own I ❤ Fast Women shirt! Proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society. 

I knew the day was going to be a warm one; I’ve been stalking the weather forecast for the past 10 days. But it’s July, what can you do? (Not sign up for races in the middle of summer? But then what would we complain about??) I knew it wasn’t going to be a day for an actual PR, and my goal race right now is the marathon, but I just wanted to beat my last “hot half marathon” time from 13.1 Chicago. Beat 2:12.

I turned off the auto-lap on my Garmin, knowing that this race is through skyscrapers and tunnels, and manually lapped myself at each mile marker. At the right are my mile splits. (I missed mile marker 4, so lap 4 is actually 2 miles.)

The first mile was a warm-up, then I just kept my heart rate in the low 160s for the next few miles, worked my way up to the high 160s for the later miles, and got up to around 170 or so for the end. Worked out pretty well, considering my pace kept improving. I was feeling it by the end though. But, I kept focusing on my heart rate, knowing if I just kept it where it should be I would be fine, and kept chugging along.

Shiny, new “hot half marathon” PR = 2:03:50. Which I think is exactly 10 minutes slower than my actual half marathon PR. Just a little trivia.

My Garmin measured 13.63 miles, and it’s always fun to look at the resulting map for races through the Chicago Loop.

This is TOTALLY how I ran it too.

This was the first time I raced with a handheld water bottle. Even though I hate having stuff in my hand, I was so glad to have water with me at all times for this race. I just sipped on it the whole time, refilling it at most of the water stations. I also had some Margarita shot bloks, since those have extra sodium and I knew I would be sweaty.

Around mile 4, I took off my shirt. (Sorry to disappoint, but I had a sports bra on underneath.) I dressed and bibbed myself planning to do that, and it felt great once it was off (and I was wearing my shirt-cape). Also, I passed not one but two gentlemen with rather hairy backs, and they were running shirtless and owning it, so I told myself to get over whatever lingering body insecurities I had. So thanks, hairy dudes.

After the race I regrouped at the UPS for DownS tent (Amanda ran for them, and they let the rest of our carpool leave our bags there), and then attempted a post-race blogger meet-up. Much more successful this time:

Left to right: Kim (carpooler), Nina, Me, Amanda, Zach, Cary, Marcia, Pete and Sarah. And, of course, the most important thing at a race – the port-o-potties.

Then Amanda and I regrouped with the F’N Runners.

Kelly was off in the V.I.P. area, interviewing former Bachelor and Navy Officer Dr. Andy Baldwin while we were boozing it up with the F’ers, but I got a text from her that she ended up making a visit to the medical tent, so Amanda, Kim and I went to stay with her there until she was ready to go. Then it was the long walk back to the car and drive home. By the time I made it home, I was beat. I was tempted to just take a nap on the floor of my bedroom in my sweaty clothes. (Much like I felt after 13.1.)

Even though I had a “decent” race – I beat my adjusted goal (had the weather been nicer, I wanted to try to finish in 1:50 to qualify for a corral at the Chicago Marathon), so I consider the race a win – I know a lot of folks had terrible races. Missed their goal by a lot, or didn’t finish at all, or just generally had a crappy day out on the course. Overall, I think we’re all just done with racing in the heat. Too bad I’m signed up for the Chicago Half Marathon on 9/9/12. I’m kind of dreading it.

BUT … the best part of the day … The Sailor is home! He returned Sunday evening from two weeks on base. I feel bad for him. He hasn’t had a day off in probably 10 or more days, and has to work [his civilian job] Monday-Friday this week. So that’s 15 days in a row of working.