01 02 03 corral b.: race recap: michelob ultra chicago spring 13.1 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

race recap: michelob ultra chicago spring 13.1

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sunday morning, i woke up to heat, wind, humidity, and clouds. i wasn’t sure how this combination would work out during the race, but i was glad there were no thunderstorms, as originally forecast. i got down to the race and in to my corral about 10 minutes before the race was to start. i noticed that i was seeded just in front of the 2:30 pacer, and i briefly thought i might be able to stick with them, before i reminded myself that my last run was 3 weeks ago, my longest long run was 8 miles, and i hadn’t done any speed work. as these facts dawned on me, my disney running playlist started to play the perfect lyrics: if there’s a prize for rotten judgment, i guess I’ve already won that. rotten judgment is right; attempting a half marathon after not training is probably never a good decision.

they released the corrals 4 minutes apart, meaning my corral g left the gate about 25 minutes after the race start. i was running for all of 20 seconds when i thought “hey, i feel pretty good.” i would sure hope so! i had to remind myself that this was going to be a long race. for the first mile, i paced myself off of a fellow runner who was taking things nice and slow. i felt great at her pace, and kept it up part way during the 2nd mile, too. but then my legs started cramping a bit, and i instantly started worrying, as i still had many miles to go. i figured it wouldn’t hurt to start long intervals, and started with 4 minutes running/1 minute walking.

once we got to the 4 mile mark, i took a clif shot and did a quick body assessment. as you might expect, i was already pretty tired. i decided to switch my intervals to 2 minutes running/1 minute walking. slow and steady. i also tried to distract myself with my surroundings (i had never been that far south on the lakefront path before), but it wasn’t really enough to get my mind off my burning thighs. it took quite a bit of time, but i finally saw the turn around point.

half way. on the one hand, i was like “i made it half way without keeling over!” but on the other hand i was like “i really don’t know if i can do that again.” i decided to just focus on getting to mile 8. that meant i got to take my next clif shot and i hoped that it would give me a boost of energy. my mind also irrationally decided that hitting mile 8 would mean i was almost done. however, once i finally did reach mile 8, i was super mad with myself “you aren’t almost done! you have 5 miles left!!” d'oh.

at this point, i was trying to do 1 minute running and 30 seconds walking. every once in awhile, i would get a little bit of wind and push the running a bit more, but it was never consistent. i was just trying to make it to each next mile marker. i finally hit mile 10, and it was nice to be back in familiar territory; i was hoping that last 3.1 would pass as fast as it did last year.



no such luck. i would say mile 11 is when i really started to fall apart. though i was trying to keep at least 30 seconds running/30 seconds walking, my thighs were burning, and i gladly allowed myself to walk longer if i wanted to. i knew i could walk the rest of the way, but i just wanted to be done, so i forced out running when i could. i took my last shot at the 11 mile marker and told myself just to get it done.

i don’t remember much of the last 2 miles. i know i hobbled through intervals and i know the first-aid ladies who were running the race briefly asked me if i was okay, but those are the only details that come to mind. and then i saw the mile 6 marker for the 10k. “i can run .2 miles. i can run .2 miles” i kept repeating, and tried my hardest to push myself through the rest of the race. finally, the finish arch was in view and then i was under it and then i was done, in 2:54:47

i went through the chute and got my medal and a bottle of water, and eagerly looked around for any bananas or bars or bagels. nothing. i don’t know if i was just too late or it was never there, but i was really upset about food not being at the finish. i felt a little dizzy and warm, so i sat for a bit before heading over to the brunch area. i found out, with much dismay, that the only vegan food offered was mandarin orange cups. not the best recovery food. next time, consider offering bagels instead of pancakes, please!

i ended up walking another mile to meet up with alex outside of his work and grabbed a bagel at a starbucks near there. i was definitely hurting, so i went home as soon as i could, and scarfed down some thai food. then once alex was off work, we celebrated with my customary milkshake. although i'm disappointed that this race wasn’t everything i originally hoped it would be, my time after not training makes me that much more excited for my potential if i do train.

and what did i think of the race? like last year, i loved this race. it’s really well run and organized, and if i ever had the energy after a race, i bet the post-race party would be a blast. my biggest complaint this year would be the food, but i do think i’ll be back next year, despite that, maybe with some pre-packed bagels just in case.

did you race this weekend? have you ever done a race with no food in the finisher's chute?

-b

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