Yeah, I made you wait over a week for this. I wanted to see if I could get any cool race photos out of this event, so that's what was the real holdup. Turns out I was true to form in looking ridiculous in all of them. ;) Luckily, Harry took a ton of pictures, then shared them with me through the Cloud, which took me a long time to figure out how to get them here. *le sigh* Technology.
And speaking of Harry taking pictures, he took about fifteen of me walking down the stairs, leaving our apartment. *le headtilt*
We hit the road at 5:15am. Harry attempted to sleep during the trip, although I think he only zonked out for a couple of minutes. Other than that, he was trying to take pretty pictures of the gorgeous sunrise.
I didn't really understand why there was so much traffic at this hour, but it is Chicago. It looked pretty overcast during the whole drive (about an hour and a half). The temperature was cool, so I wasn't worried about it being too warm or humid.
But the clouds began to part and the sun came out! It was still cool, so it actually felt nice. The wind had picked up quite a bit.
Once we parked and found the race site, I had to use the bathroom SO.FRICKIN'.BADLY. That's what I get for downing two cups of coffee and probably 50 oz. of water! I stood in line for about fifteen minutes, and got into a port-o-potty just in time for the race to begin. It was chip-timed, so I wasn't worried about stepping over the starting line on time. It isn't a particularly large race. I knew I'd just have to run around some walkers. :)
Before hitting up the bathroom, Harry mentioned that I should take the first eight miles easy, pick up the pace for nine-10, then rock out the final 5K. That sounded legit to me, since I didn't really have a pacing plan, nor had I considered such a structured plan.
Once I hit the start line, it was on! I'm pretty sure I was one of the very last runners to take off.
Miles 1-4: Easy peasy, and enjoyed the rollers through a nearby neighborhood. I was running past walkers and slower runners, which were placed sporadically and far apart from each other, so I didn't have to weave too much. There were a lot of turns for these few miles, which allowed me to really concentrate on my footwork with corners. Side note: Believe it or not, I'm completely terrified of an awful injury brought on by improper footing with turns.
We went over a bridge then hit up a lakefront trail. The pavement here was EXTREMELY TORN UP. I was now catching up to runners that I should've started with, and the trail was getting crowded, which made me realize that I needed to concentrate on the rocky road even more.
Miles 5-9: More rocky road. This is where the hills began, as well. People started bailing in the middle of the hills, causing me to have to get technical in dodging and weaving (I guess I was now making up for what I didn't have to do at the beginning of the run). I kept my head up and dominated the inclines. Everything felt awesome in terms of energy and strength. I was passing people, and no one was passing me. Don't get me wrong: I'm not one to gloat about something like this. I started the race late and I was running past people who were running a slower pace than I was. Albeit, it felt good. We hit the turnaround ~mile 7.
As per Harry's advice, I picked up the pace just a bit at mile 8. We were now going back toward town and going up and down the hills we encountered on the way out. That made picking up the pace slightly less fun than I had anticipated. :P
And while this was all going on, Harry was doing a short run. He finished up and started taking pictures everywhere. It was so beautiful out!
My view for most of the run. The course took us along the lakefront for many miles. The course was also much hillier than I was lead to believe. Harry has run this event several times and explained that it was flat "as a pancake", as have other reviews I've seen; they must have changed the course. I didn't mind the hills, since I've been training on them out in the suburbs anyway. It was a nice..."surprise"...?
Miles 10-13: 5K mentality time. Although I still had a lot of hills to deal with! I picked up the pace even more and just convinced myself that all I had to do was three miles. THREE MILES. This was really the least fun part of the race. I wore a long-sleeved shirt that I wanted to rip the sleeves off. I took some Gatorade and water and huffed and puffed to the finish line.
Fearless Leader Greg and my speedy sole mate, Stephanie, from our Wednesday night speedwork group, the Chicago /R/iver /R/unners, ran the half, as well! They did great! It was Stephanie's second half marathon, and she rocked it out! We spotted them as we were walking through the finish line festivities, so we all grabbed a small beer and some brats together before heading off.
We retreated to a local pub for some noms and a beer to celebrate a fantastic race!
The ladies restroom gave me a giggle.
We said bye to our running buddies, then took off for home. I nearly fell asleep two or three times during the trip...exhausted!
Sorry that this recap is so terribly late, and to be honest, kind of crummy! Life has kind of caught up with me in other areas, so all I can do is promise that my next race report will be fantastic. :D