Well, well, well...SURE, I'll run a half on the Lakefront in Chicago...in JANUARY...during a POLAR VORTEX. To be fair, the high for the day was about four hours prior to race start time (10:00am).
I spent my early morning (after sleeping in!) enjoying sipping some coffee and doing some blogging. Around 8:45am, I started getting dressed and we took off toward Montrose Harbor. No lie, I've never participated in a race that started this late in the morning. I was beginning to get hungry! Since I haven't found a good food to nom on before any kind of run, whether it be long or short, I just don't eat before taking off. I have successfully completed 14+ miles without food, so I figured today wouldn't be any different. I realized it sort of WAS different, since I usually run earlier in the day. Much earlier. Like hours earlier. Ahhhhh.
When we finally arrived and found parking, which was about a half mile from the race start, we realized that it was FIVE MINUTES until race time! My emotions were teetering on the fact that I didn't feel prepared, but that it was a chip-timed race, and I wasn't *racing* it, anyway. I could waltz over the start line five minutes after they began the silly thing if I wanted to. Luckily, they started the race in waves. There were parts of the path that would've been just downright frustrating having to deal with everyone at once. The best part about being late? SO MANY PORT-A-POTTIES! Not ONE was occupied. This isn't to say that I took my sweet time and chose the cleanest one with the most TP in it, but it was nice to not have to stand in a line. The first wave had taken off before I even got near the start line; the second wave took off just as I finished up and was ready to go!
Despite my ridiculous timing, this race was clearly extremely organized!
As you can see, it was REALLY tight at the beginning! Everyone was running right on top of each other, stumbling over patches of ice and mounds of snow. We even stopped completely at one point; for what, I have no clue. They had shoveled and cleared the entire route before the race, but the WIND kept blowing more and more snow onto it. I just concentrated on people's feet in front of me.
Meanwhile, Harry took some really wonderful pictures! Welcome to #Chiberia!
The first half was pretty nice! I sloshed through mud, shuffled through snow, and slid ever-so slightly over icy patches. I kept the pace extremely easy, as I was just treating this like a long run. I tried to pick up and tempo a bit, but I eventually hit more snow and ice, so I slowed back down. My feet started to ache from all of the bouncing and dodging around people and winter elements. Up top, I was burning up! I had put on two layers, knowing that the temperature was going go drop quickly. I was ready to turn my back to the sun. The wind eventually started blowing HARD, nearly knocking me over into the oncoming race traffic. It felt nice. :P
I hit the turnaround and thanked several volunteers for being out there. If I was freezing my tooshie off while running, they must be absolutely frigid!
Eventually, I started getting REALLY tired. Why? I'm assuming from running in ankle-deep snow and sand (SAND! Sand had gotten up there, too!) and from dodging puddles. I took a GU (see above about me eating and running...this goes for DURING, as well) around mile 7, as I felt my tummy turning over itself. When I say that I "took a GU", I mean "chewed a GU slowly over a mile". Now I had a GU-cicle in my tummy. Great.
Miles 8-12 were really just me putting one foot in front of the other. Times were tough. My feet were muddy and freezing, and my legs were heavy! I kept saying "I'm not of my body, I'm not of my body", attempting to control the mentally enduring portion of this run. I did not want to stop for anything. I saw so many people walking, which mentally messed with me...taunted me..."You know you want to walk, Tiffany...it's only a long run...you can stop if you want..."; with which I would fire back with "NO, I don't care, I can't stop...I'm not of my body..."
I finally got to mile 12 (after successfully watching every tenth of a mile tick-tick-tick away...*le sigh*) and I got excited. Hooooray, food is near!
Harry found me grabbing food and water. I was trying to show him that there were ice cubes in the water...you can see what I suspect as frozen snot. *le blush*
All in all, this was an absolutely fantastic, fun, well-organized race! From packet pick-up, which had been situated in several locations all over Chicago a week out up to race day, to the traffic coordinators and volunteers. Plus, they had nifty Finisher's medals and 1/4 zip long sleeved race shirts! The hat was a gift from Harry. D'awwww.
Did you run in F^3 (EFFING FREEZING FROZEN) weather this weekend?