Monday, April 9, 2012

Chi Town Half Marathon Race Recap

Hi everyone. I'm back from vacation and am excited to get back to blogging! New Orleans was fun, but it is nice to be home and sleep in my own bed. Time to catch up! Before I left, I ran the Chi Town Half Marathon and here is my race recap...

A few weeks ago my friend Kate S had asked me if I wanted to buy her half marathon bib from her as she was getting over an injury and wouldn't be ready in time. I figured since My distance would be up anyways from the Get Lucky Half Marathon, why not? Also, my friends Maggie and Nicole were running the race too so I figured I'd at least have some friends to hang out with before and after. As this was my 3rd race in 3 weeks I was dreading this decision for a few reasons. Since the Shamrock Shuffle, my legs have felt very tired as I haven't given them as much rest as I probably should have. Not to mention, it rained the entire way from the suburbs to the city. But when we got to the race, I had a different feeling.
Running as Kate!

The storm cleared and the sun was starting to come out. We had met some more bloggers and online friends at the Ben Franklin statue before heading towards the start line.

First I had to gear check my bag. The lines were incredibly long and kind of frustrating. I don't think they anticipated as large of a gear check line so they were a little unprepared. They did have plastic bags to put your bag in just in case it rained which I thought was a nice touch. Maggie and I ran into Nicole before the race too.

When it was time to head to the start, My competitive switch turned on and I was going to try to break 2:10. If I ran less than 10 min miles, I knew it was possible. I started off with the 9:55 pace group but our first mile was 9:22. I was feeling good so I stayed at that same pace. The more I was running, the better I felt.
The two above photos are sourced from here.

The course was an out and back ish kind of course that went north along the lakefront path. It was a change of pace which I welcomed. We went all the way up to Montrose harbor, then circled around another harbor before heading back.

Once I started to see some of the people coming back, I got pumped up. My pace picked up again for the next few miles.

I tried the new Gatorade chews during a training run a few weeks back and absolutely loved them. They were selling them at the Shamrock Shuffle expo as well as giving away free samples so I tried to stock up as much as I could. Four chews come in a pack and I took 2 at mile 7. They are soft and very easy to chew (unlike the shot blocks). With all my stomach issues, I was elated when I didn't have any rumbling during the race!

As I kept moving along, I continued to feel good and didn't know what kind of finish time I was headed towards. Miles 11 and 12 were both under 9 minute pace and I couldn't believe it. (I took the last 2 Gatorade chews at mile 10.) At mile 12 I saw that my Garmin was at 1:50. If I really picked it up for the last mile, I would be able to break 2 hours. At that point, I took off and went as fast as my legs would carry me. We came in through the last turnaround and I kept checking my watch. Last mile was 7:46. I did a full sprint to the finish (chicking 2 guys at the end) and looked down at my Garmin. 1:59:32... I could barely catch my breath and I was talking to myself saying "I beat 2! I beat 2!"

I grabbed my medal, took a finisher photo and headed for the post race snack tent.

The details

There were bananas, an FRS booth, some 5 Hour Energy, some peanut butter sample packs and pretzels. I saw Nicole afterwards and we talked about how we both enjoyed the course and the weather. Nicole ran another half marathon the previous day in Kentucky so she was happy with a better time and less hills. I then went to the finish to look for Maggie and her friend as they were running the race together. I cheered them on as they crossed the finish and also had a great race. It was quite chilly afterwards so we didn't really stay long for the after party.
Maggie and I with our medals!
All in all, I thought it was a fun race and one I would recommend to others. There was great support out on the course and there were pacers doing a good job of keeping folks motivated (I stayed with the 9:55 group for the first mile). I'm now interested in trying other events put on by All Community Events.

And I was able to submit my half marathon time for the Jelly Bean virtual race!


  1. Great job!!!! Hopefully in June I will join the sub-2 half marathon club :)

  2. Holy cow! A HM report with almost negative splits! You ran smart and were really rockin' it! Congrats, Kate! :P So happy you got your sub 2:00 in.

  3. Thanks! I just wish I could claim these results on Athlinks! I guess that means I have to rock my next half marathon on May 6! :) I was completely elated with the finish. Now, I'm aiming for a 1:55. Considering I just kind of "winged it" and met my goal, I'm hoping I can spread things out a bit more for another overall great race. :)

  4. excellent race!! I love all community events. I can't wait for their turkey trot this year!! (Even though i laid down and cried in the middle of it last year, i still thought it was totally worth running again.) Super speedy - now its time to get my butt into gear!! :D

  5. I went back and forth on running the Schaumburg Turkey Trot but ultimately decided against it because of too many other races. Who knows, maybe it will be in the cards this year! :)

  6. Congrats on sub 2! Is that your first? I also started with the 9:55 pace group and ran with them for most of the race. I'm actually in one of your photos! I'm behind you - #1521 haha.

    I'm hoping for a sub 2 sometime. I was thrilled coming in just under 2:10 at Chi Town. ;)

  7. Haha that's funny! This is my 3rd half marathon. I ran the Get Lucky Half Marathon on the scorcher weekend of March 18 and was looking for a redemption event. The weather was perfect and I was completely ecstatic to (surprisingly) meet my goal.

    Congrats on a great race!

  8. Congrats!!! Finally breaking sub-2:00 is an awesome feeling. You ran a really great race.

  9. Thanks! I'm super pumped that this happened and I am hoping to do even better next time! :)

  10. Congrats on an amazing time and race! And holy crap!?! Where did that 7:46 mile come from at the end! You had a heck of a kick at the finish! :)

    1. Haha, I have NO CLUE where that mile came from! That was my average pace for this year's Shamrock Shuffle 8k. I think that means I have a faster 8k time in me after all! :) Thanks! :)

  11. Britt @ Chicago Runner GirlApril 9, 2012 at 9:20 PM

    Congrats! Love the pics of you smiling, you look like you were having a great time! One of the runners I was coaching ran this race and said that the mile markers weren't marked very clearly and that it wasn't very organized at the start. But I suppose it's tricky to organize a race on a busy and open lakefront path.

    Congrats again, you did amazing!

  12. Oh really? I did know the start was a bit crowded, but I thought the mile markers were pretty clear once you figured out to look for them closer to the ground (instead of above eye level like a larger race). There were lots of turns in this race and I thought the volunteers did a great job of directing traffic and keeping the 10k/half marathoners on the right path. Definitely much more organized than the Get Lucky Half Marathon and much less bikers on the path!

    Thanks Britt! :)