Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Running Chronicles: Half Marathon race report

I can, and I DID!

First, the results:

My official time is 2:05:39!

I remained calm even at the start line. The race went off about 10 minutes late which allowed me to get into my own head a bit, but not much. I was in awe that I was about to shoot off for a half marathon, and it still has me in a bit of a cloud. I am really amazed that I did it!

The race was amazing. I know each person has their own experience, and for my one friend, this race was not what she'd wanted.  For me, it was the race I've always wanted. It was my best race ever, my best run ever.

In summary:
3030 runners. 1963 women. The rest were men (I don't want to do the math)
Set out to run at least 10K (6.2 miles) before considering dialing back or kicking it up or even walking. Blew that out of the water. The first few miles were very crowded. I seriously thought I might scream for the first 2 miles. I was behind the 10:00 pace guy, and we were going closer to an 11:30. I could have walked it faster. So many people, so little room. It honestly didn't thin out until closer to 4 miles. I passed up the 10:00 pace guy around mile 4 or so. Crazy!
Mile 3.4 - took a Gu Chomp from the pack my girlfriend gave me after having been diverted onto the beach for several feet due to an ambulance pulling up where we would have been running. Not sure what happened, but the diversion sucked ass.
Somewhere between mile 4 and 6 {I think} we were in Lincoln Park and ran across the fields where they play flag football. Random! I started to think how fun it used to be to play flag football there back in the day. Nice diversion for the mind, to be honest.
Mile 7 - took a Hammer Gel they were giving at the energy stop (gels are bizarre, this was my first experience). I ran with it for about 2 miles, taking a little at a time.  Note: raspberry is not my fav flav.
Mile 8 - Look, I'm still running! Tried to dial back to almost a walk but my body wouldn't have it.  Kept running, and passing people.
Mile 10 - Look, I'm still running! And smiling!
I took water/blue liquid {we joked that it was windshield wiper fluid}/Gatorade(?) three times, walking only one of those times to drink the whole thing. I didn't hydrate, though, 'til after mile 7.
Mile 11 - 1:44 on the Garmin - look, I'm still running, and smiling!  This is awesome, and I just ran past Navy Pier!
Mile 11 - took the Gu my girlfriend gave me.  Note: the lemony limey flav was much better than the respberry Hammer gel.
Started to walk a bit at this point. I didn't care, and sort of did a walk/surge kind of thing for about a mile.
Mile 12 - holy shit, I am almost done! And there's the Field Museum!
Mile 13 - there are people lined up and cheering, we must be close!
That last stretch, uphill and with a big turn, was the best part. People lined up cheering, and I gunned it, big time! I sprinted to the finish, passing tons of people and feeling awesome.  Seriously, I could hear the cheering crowd over the music in my iPod, and it was invigorating.
As I crossed the finish line, I was in total disbelief as I saw the time on the clock. It was 2:10-ish, Garmin time was about 2:06-ish, I don't remember exactly. I grabbed my medal, went and got my picture taken, and broke down in tears. I did it! I cried as I took my goodie bag of a bagel, string cheese, and peanuts. Muscle Milk was there but they were out of product, damnit! Anyway, I got a water and headed for bag check. I got my phone out and stretched out while talking to another finisher who congratulated me on my time. I still didn't realize how fast I'd finished. I waited for my friends, and we compared notes as we each finished, agreeing that it was a really fun race. There were a few spots where it felt more like a trail race, but overall it was a great lakefront course.

It still has not sunk in that I just did a half marathon. I am hoping to get out soon to get my 13.1 sticker for my car. If I don't get it today, I'll get it next time I get to the group run at the store.

My legs are sore today, there's no doubt, but are much better than Sunday and Monday. Other than that, I feel great. I really haven't felt this good about or after a race - ever! I am so excited.

So that's my first half marathon. I officially love that distance!!