if you're tuning in just to find out if i finally broke 2:30 or got a pr, the answer is no :( if you're tuning in to find out how the race went overall, keep reading!
i went to the expo the day before the race with alex's mom, who was also running (and who ended up doing awesome!). i had no ankle pain at the expo and was feeling really, really excited about the next morning. it probably helped that the expo was pretty large, and we had fun going to all of the booths that caught our attention. i also picked up my special bib (i was part of a 26.2 challenge for doing both the spring and fall half), running vest (for signing up early), and race shirt (a nice long sleeve tech shirt). then, we headed out for a yummy vegan dinner with cookies for dessert. carbo-loading, right? obviously, i was just having a good time and looking forward to the race.
race morning, i woke up nice and early to catch the shuttle down to the race location. i had a new running playlist set to go on my phone, kt tape on my ankle, and my flip belt filled with all of my race essentials. i got to the start at 5:30am (for a 7:00am start) and ate a banana while stretching on the grass. i still felt really really good, so when it came time to go in to the corrals and i spotted the 2:30 pacer, i decided to line up next to them. this was my morning.
the course for the chicago half is a unique one that takes you around jackson park and then actually on to lake shore drive (the freeway) for 10 miles. most races in chicago are focused on the lakefront trail, so this is a cool perk of this race. however, except for the awesome skyline views you get, i wouldn't say there is anything really notable about the views during this race. instead, i just focused on my breathing and my music and my goal.
the first 5 miles went great. i mean, perfectly perfect. my plan was to run even splits (which i was able to do during my 10 miler that left me with energy) until miles 9 or 10, and then decide to either pick up the pace or stay with the even splits depending on how i felt. so when i hit mile 5 with an 11:27 min/mile pace, i was ecstatic. my legs didn't hurt, my breathing wasn't labored, and i really felt like i could do this. the only concern i had was that my ankle was kiiiiind of starting to hurt. but i tried to ignore it.
power walking like a champ...
fast forward to mile seven and things were actually hurting. i tried to move to the center median of the freeway (lake shore drive tilts and it was driving my foot crazy) to be on more flat ground and started using intervals, but in my head i knew that if i kept moving, the pain was probably just going to get worse. there was no worse feeling than stopping at a water stop to take ibuprofen and watching the pacer move farther and farther away from me. at this point, i knew that 2:30 was probably done for, but i wasn't ruling out a pr. walk/run intervals would get me there, right?
nope. by mile 10 it hurt to put weight on my foot and i was almost in tears. why did i decide to run this so soon after hurting myself? did i really want to do 3 more miles? i wanted to give up, but...i really wanted that challenge medal. and so i decided to walk it. i mean, literally, not even intervals, i walked the entire final 3 miles of the half marathon. my foot still hurt, but considerably less when i walked, so i tried to keep as fast of a pace i could and power walked my way to the finish line.
i won't lie. these were the hardest 3 miles i've ever done. so many times i just wanted to get on one of the medical carts and have them drive me to the finish. i started out so strong the first 5 miles and had such a good final long run of training that this was just absolutely not the way i wanted to finish this race. i just kept going, and saw the 13 mile sign, and tried to run again for those last .1 miles. as soon as i crossed the finish line, i went straight to the medical tent. as i sat in there, i saw my finish time of 2:54:39 and felt just so disappointed at how this whole year of half marathon racing went for me.
crossing the finish line in pain.
so yeah, that's how the half went. i'm obviously pretty upset with how it went (as i sit here in my brace) but i'm trying to keep myself optimistic about my future of running. i have plenty more chances to race strong and meet my goals, i just have to make sure i'm healthy and strong when i do it, right?!
and what did i think of the chicago half marathon? it was really cool to run on lake shore drive and i really enjoyed the 26.2 challenge. it was well organized, the volunteers were awesome, and i enjoyed the whole atmosphere. that being said, i don't think i'll be back. we lucked out in having an overcast day, but the area we ran on lake shore drive is completely exposed, so in a year that isn't overcast i feel would be really uncomfortable. plus, the slantiness of those last 10 miles is super uncomfortable for me. but at least now i know!
also, the medals were huge/ridiculous!
have you ever been super disappointed in a race performance?