I signed up for this race at the end of May when I saw a coupon code and the price was increasing the following day. I debated a lot since August can be really hot in Chicago,and anyone that knows me knows,I am not a big fan of hot and humid weather. In the end I decided to just use it as a training run that I’d get a medal for doing. 😉 What sold me was the course. A lot of races in the city run on the Lakefront path,which means it’s also an open course. This course was going to be almost all on the the city streets. I figured this would be perfect for getting a feel of running Chicago before the marathon.
I need to get this part out of the way at the beginning so I don’t dwell on it during the rest of the recap. A few days prior to the race,the old race course was taken down from the website,and later replaced with a new one. The new course was going to be running on the streets, Mag Mile being one of them, for about 3 miles,then move onto the Lakefront path going south,out and back,for the remaining 10 miles. To say I wasn’t very pleased with this, would be an understatement. Watching the weather and imagining running on a path with zero shade wasn’t looking very enjoyable.
Fitness Meets Fashion Market and Packet Pick-Up:
There was only one location to pick up your packet and it was at the Fleet Feet location in the South Loop. You also could pick up your bib the morning on the race. I would much rather have my bib in hand since you never know what comes up race morning. I drove downtown with my mom,who was also going to be running the race,on Saturday morning. The location was easy to find and the free parking was nice. Bib pickup was very easy,in and out. They also had tank top exchange. Unfortunately,the tank that was initially advertised was changed to a different lower quality one.
There was a Luna tent setup outside with samples of Luna Bars on one side,and samples of shot blocks on the other. There was a Fellow Flowers tent with some clearance tops,and a few other tents set up selling some running clothes. Nothing stuck out and interested me,so I ended up leaving with just my packet.
I woke up at 3:30am to start my pre race routine. Ate my bagel with peanut butter,had some coffee,got dressed,braided my hair, and did some stretching. We were out the door and headed downtown around 4:45pm. Used Parkwhiz for parking,but with all the street closures,drove around for 30 minutes,asked 3 police officers,and still never found the parking garage. After starting to panic, since time was ticking,my mom and I just parked at the nearest garage and walked over. I only had about 15 minutes before the start,and this being an almost all women’s race,the porta potta lines were moving reallllly slow. Finally got through and ran up to A corral, unfortunately myself along with many others were shut out. The National Anthem was sung and the race started a few minutes after 7. Didn’t get to start with A corral,but got into B.
As soon as I started running, I knew this race wasn’t going to be great. My calves were cramping up on me,my legs felt heavy, and it was already too humid outside. When I decided to run a marathon,I started training with the Galloway run-walk method. I have done straight running half marathons before,but currently this is the method I use on long runs. I ran my first mile straight through to get out of the crowding,which really wasn’t too bad,and then started my intervals. I did a 1:30/:30 on my past 2 halves,so I used that today. The first 3 miles seemed to go by fairly quickly,and we were at the 5K/half split before we knew it. I admit at that point taking the 5K route looked pretty good,but I went on with the other half marathoners. 🙂
As soon was we hit the Lakefront path,I felt the sun just start beating down,and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky for it to let up. The volunteers at the aid/water stations were awesome at keeping the water moving and encouraging the runners. The few misting fans,along with the guy holding the water mister on the runners was an excellent touch. I took my Salted Caramel around mile 5 and was still feeling okay, my legs seemed to get over the fact that they were running today whether they liked it or not! Around the 10K mark,I heard over the loud speaker that course conditions changed to Moderate level. I knew I needed slow down and take it easier. Also around this point I started feeling super nauseous. I brought my own water,but decided to take some of the Gatorade they had at the aid stations. Started feeling a bit better,and finally made it to the turned around point. The only plus to an out and back is having fellow runners on the other side of your course. We were all in this together! Few more miles in and I felt super nauseous again. Drank one more small cup of the Gatorade,and kept counting down the miles,which seemed like they were passing super slow. I hit the long home stretch and sprinted as fast as my legs would move.
Even though I wore my Garmin,I was still super shocked given the conditions,I only finished one minute off my PR! Official time: 2:02:40
Right after the finish line,the first thing I was handed was some super cold wet washcloths. These felt like heaven with how hot it was! Food selection was an apple, 2 Luna bars, 2 biscotti bars,and a frozen chocolate covered banana. I wasn’t really into any of these,and the chocolate was melted on everything so I only ate the chocolate covered banana. They also had bottles of Gatorade and water. Then, I got my awesome medal!
I rested for a bit,then went towards the finish line to catch a picture of my awesome mom finishing her 6th half marathon.
Overall,this was not a great race. The weather,which we don’t have control over,and the course played a big part in that. Sometime after I finished,the course was raised from moderate to red. The race turned out more organized than I was expecting given the last minute changes,and the all the volunteers I encountered on the course were wonderful,a HUGE thank you to all of them!
Did you run the Magnificent Mile Half Marathon? How was your experience?