Monday, September 23, 2013

Women Rock Half Marathon

This past weekend I ran my first half marathon.  My goal was to run the whole thing, and do so in under 2:30.  I managed both!! I only walked through the water stops, and my official time was 2:21:50.  It was an absolutely perfect running day - sunny but cool.  Mid 50s at the start and mid 60s by the finish.  My sister came out to run it with me (although we didn't actually run together since she is faster than I am).

This was a new race in Chicago and a bit disorganized, but still fun.

1. Starting line was on sidewalks (they did not close off the street) which made for a very congested start.
2. Corrals unclear - we all assumed that they would be closing off the street so crowded up by an entrance near the barricades by the starting line - not lined up in the designated pace corrals
3. No PA announcements telling us what to do or where to line up at start
4. Even though the half marathoners were supposed to start 30 minutes before the 5k and 10k, no one really made that clear so everyone went at once
5.  The course was along the lakefront bike/running path, but it had not been closed off to other traffic.  In fact there was a Leukemia society Team in Training doing their final pre marathon long run also on the course.
6.  Bananas at the end were lousy.  The volunteers even apologized - apparently the bananas had been donated and in retrospect they figured the reason they were donated was because they weren't good.
7.  Congestion at quite a few parts due to the 3 distances/turnarounds

1. The course itself was beautiful - great scenery and views of the lakefront.  If it had been closed off, would have been perfect.
2. Finishers received a necklace at the finish line.  They allowed you to swap it out for a medal, that had originally been created for people who did the full 4 race team ortho series.  I was never planning on wearing the necklace, so the medal swap was great.
3.  Post race party included a glass of champagne - admittedly not the best champagne but a cute gimmick and we got to keep the glass
4. The congestion actually helped me keep on pace and make it so I was able to run the whole thing.
5. Very friendly volunteers receptive to feedback.  They were apologetic about the overlap with the Team in Training but apparently had not been informed that that would be happening
6.  Attention to the little details - like comp tampons in the port a potties at the start, announcing your name as you cross finish line

Would I do it again next year?  Probably, depending on the schedule.  After a quick stop at the post race party we went to lunch at Ed Debevics - kids choice, and then home.  My sister and I each took a shower and a nap before we headed out to dinner.  

Notes to self for what worked for me...
My playlist was perfect, started slow and built up.  Livin on A Prayer actually came on at 6.75 miles (Woah, we're half way there, woah, livin' on a prayer, Won't you take my hand and we'll make it, I swear)
One of my last songs was I Love this Town also by Bon Jovi.  At about 12.5, Jon and I had a little conversation...

You want it? You got it 
You ready? I'm on it 
Come on now, here we go agaiiinnnnnn...

That's why I love this town

Dinner the night before was grilled chicken with salad and quinoa (my sister's suggestion since I told her I didn't have a go-to prerace dinner yet).  I got hungry later and had a peanut butter sandwich and yogurt before going to bed.  Waffle with peanut butter and banana in the morning, and try to keep the water intake morning of to a minimum.  I did pop a couple of sports beans just before each water stop so I could wash them down with water.  

What not to do? Set up intervals on my phone.  I did it to help make sure I didn't bonk at mile 8 like the Fort 2 Base, but walking the water stations worked better.  I was afraid to try and switch programs mid run, but next time, I'll set it to keep me updated on my expected finish time. 

I was happily surprised that I was not sore the next morning, especially since I was after the Fort 2 Base.  I definitely want to do another one, not sure when though.  It's about to start getting colder here in Chicago, but I plan on doing a race a month to keep me going and hopefully can plan another half for early spring.  While I am very  happy with my time, I know with cross training I'll be able to do even better next time.   Another plus, we were running this as an MS fundraiser and managed to raise over $2200 for MS in our Mom's honor. Unfortunately she couldn't be there to cheer us on, but we made sure to post pics to Facebook so she could keep track of us and called her after the race.

I skipped my usual Monday morning run since my sister was leaving around lunch time, but was able to start running again Wednesday, a little sluggish and Endomondo was goofy, but it felt good..  The next few weeks I can take it a little easy as my next race is a 5k with my daughter - her 1st so I'll let her set the pace.  November I'll be back down to the lakefront for a 10 miler so I can't slack completely.  Not sure which race to do after that.


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