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