I think the Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon (4th year in a row!) is the only time in my adult life that I willingly go to bed before it’s totally dark and get up before it’s light. But it’s an excuse to try to get a picture of the beginnings of the sunrise.

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I wasn’t sure how this race would go. My longest successful run as of late was 8 miles. I tried to foam roll as much as I could, and I got KT Tape applied to my knee at the expo. I did Divvy over 11 miles yesterday, probably not the smartest decision. But I like biking and it’s an efficient mode of transportation in Chicago. I regret nothing.

Anyway, I had no race goal. I wasn’t even sure if I would finish. I looked up the course time limit (~ 20 min/mile from the start gun). I mentally prepared myself for the options of walking a significant portion of the race, or dropping out.

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Thank you Erica for the VIP wristbands! I let Shalane cut in from of me in the bathroom line before the race. She needed to get to the start a little bit sooner than I did. 

My bib was for corral 6 (who was I kidding when I registered?), but I started in 19 with my husband. I ran into Mo shortly after the start and ran with her a bit, but she was doing a run/walk with her friend, and my motto for the day was “can’t stop, won’t stop. ” It’s the stopping that causes problems, when I try to start running again. I even bought a big 22oz handheld water bottle at the expo in the hopes that I could make it through the race without stopping. (And I actually didn’t hate it, I might like it better than my 10oz handheld.)

My knee started feeling feelings and getting all emo sooner than I expected. I started limping a little bit with my gait. By mile 5, it was painful. I had to stop running. I tried not to cry. I knew in about a mile, the course would go back onto Michigan Ave, by Grant Park and the finish area, and I planned to drop out. I was not in the mood to walk 8 miles to the finish.

Right before the course turned back onto Michigan Ave, I figured what the hell … let’s try running again. And … it didn’t hurt. That bad. So I kept running. Let’s see how far I can go. I kind of had this weird gait where I was landing on the front of my left foot (emo knee side), and mid-foot on my right (or heel striking, whatever) and that seemed to be the least painful. I alternated between that and my normal gait. Whatever works at this point.

I made it to mile 9, then the pain got to be too much, so I started walking. But hey! I was only 4 miles from the finish! That’s not so bad.

I walked until mile 11. (Side note: WHO thought it would be a good idea for ANY part of this race to be on the Lakefront Trail? Luckily I walked that section, mostly in the grass or gravel, but UGH.) Two miles to go. Maybe I could run it?

Surprisingly … I did. Dare I say that I felt good? (Not sure, the pain might have been creeping back, but I was too distracted by the sight of the finish line.) Because of all the walking, endurance-wise, I felt great, and I was passing a lot of people.

And I freaking finished the damn race. Second to the marathon, I have never wanted to demand a race medal at the end as much as I did today.

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And it wasn’t a personal worst. By two minutes. (Possibly additional motivation to run the last two miles.)

So … This is promising? With walk breaks, I can do it? Maybe the KT Tape did help?

I wanted to use this race to decide how to proceed with marathon training. When I was walking around mile 5, I thought to myself … that’s it. It’s done. Sell my marathon bib, drop down the 5K at the next two half marathons I’m signed up for, and work on rehab.

But … I finished. I was able to run 5 additional miles after I thought my knee was toast for the day. So, I’m still in this. Keep moving forward. I know there’s still a chance I might not make it to the end of 26.2, but I’m definitely not ready to give up.

This probably won’t be pretty, but let’s see how far I can go.

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