Tuesday, June 7, 2011

13.1 Chicago, Part Two

The morning of the race started off bright and early.  We popped right out of bed at promptly 4:15 am.  Wait a sec, that isn't how it happened.  More like, we crankily had to force ourselves out of the comfortable bed that we longed to get back in.  Yes, that's better.
All our stuff was dutifully packed the night before because I knew I would be in no mood in the morning,  I was correct.  Packed, dressed, and still way too tired, we were in the car and on the road to Chicago at 4:45 am.  On the way there we each chowed down on our breakfast, a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cliff Bar for him and a White Chip Macadamia Cliff Bar for her. 
There was actually one point were we ran into traffic.  Traffic! At 5 am! Who drives at these hours on a Saturday?
Since there was no parking at the start, we parked at the Museum of Science and Industry and took a shuttle to the start.
 We were still a lot a little sleepy and cranky.
 Once we got to the start we ended up meeting up with my friends Rachel and Mike and a few of their friends.  Running this half marathon was their idea, by the way.
 Obviously this is a before picture because we are both still smiling.
There was plenty of time before the race began to check our gear, run a little warm-up, stretch, drink some water, take a bathroom break, etc.  The boy was in a much higher corral than me so we split off before the start so he could run with the faster people and I could cruise along with my slower-paced homeys. Rachel, Mike, another friend, and I all started back in corral I.  The race started in waves so there wouldn't be a huge clump of people all running at once together.
I was so anxious just to start running since we had been at the start area for about 1.5 hours by now.  Finally we were off!  I lost Rachel and Mike at about mile 2.  See ya later! They were a little too fast for me.  The first two miles I was going fairly fast but slowed down a bit for the next few since I knew I had a ways to go.  Plenty of aid stations offering Powerade and water lined the course which followed along Lake Shore path.  The view was great and the route was nice and flat.  The first 6 miles went by absolutely fine for me.  I knew the turnaround was just past mile 7 so I was definitely bargaining with myself to just make it there.  A cold towel station was also awaiting me there.
It was really hot and humid on race day, already temperatures in the 80s so cold towel felt amazing.  It really helped cool me down and give me some go for the second half of the race.  Back on the inbound track, I was refreshed and kept my pace around a 10 min/mile.  At  this point, I hadn't walked yet except through some of the water stations to drink some water and/or Powerade.  I was feeling good but a little warm.  Around mile 8 or 9, I noticed they had put up the red flag which meant they had stopped official timing and were encouraging people to slow down and take in plenty of fluids.  Sadly this meant they had turned off the clocks at the mile markers, luckily I still had my watch on so I knew about what time I was at.  I was still going okay at this point and kept running.  I really started to get tired around mile 9.5 so I decided to take some walking breaks.  Walking 2-3 minutes to give myself a rest, then running 10 minutes or so if I could.
Then at about mile 11, I saw they had raised the black flag.  Basically it meant that the conditions were bad enough that they didn't want people running anymore.  They had people yelling at participants to walk and not run.  I felt okay so instead of listening I mostly just continued on with my walk/run stint.
And finally I was nearing the end.  My feet hurt and I was exhausted but I picked up the pace to run to the end.  I felt like I could see the finish line forever before I actually got there.  Apparently I was going not as speedy fast as I thought.
But then I made it to the wonderful finish line! Done, done, done!  After crossing, I was bombarded with water, more Powerade, banana, granola bar, pictures. blah!  My legs were sooo tired and starting to cramp so I just kept walking.
Then I walked some more looking around for the boy.  But I could not find him anywhere.  He wasn't at our designated meeting spot.  I finally had to stop and stretch my legs and hit the bathroom.
Finally, I ran into the boy.  Turns out, he had to make a trip to the medical tent due to some dizziness and sickiness. They wouldn't let him leave because his heart rate was too high.  He is recovering fine.
Here are some pictures after the race.
 Exhausted and sweaty. Gross.
 My time was 2:23:48! Yippee for completing my first half!
 The boy took off his stinky shoes.  I was afraid mine wouldn't go back on if I did so.
 The boy's time was 2:20:57!  I was so close.
 My poor tired legs and feet.
You can see more pictures of me here.  13.1 Chicago was a huge success!
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