Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Southwest Half Marathon Race Recap

As I mentioned earlier this week, I planned to run the Palos Half Marathon as a training run. When race day arrived, I met up with the FN Runners beforehand and also saw a few Yankee Runners before heading to the starting line.

I've struggled with progression runs in the past, and my coach had offered up the option to run this race as such. The plan was to run the first mile at 10:00 pace and increase the mile splits by 10 seconds. The hardest part about this plan was starting out slow. Everyone was blazing past me in the first mile. It was so, so difficult to keep a steady pace because I wanted to go faster! But I stuck to the plan!

Mile 1 9:52
Mile 2 9:47
Mile 3 9:46

I saw the FN Runner cheering squad at mile 3.5-4 and they gave me a boost!  (Thanks for the pics guys!!!)
Mile 4 9:36
Mile 5 9:16
Mile 6 9:04
Because I was so focused on my splits (and obsessively checking my Garmin), these first few miles felt easy. It was hard to keep a steady pace, but once I found it, it was easy to maintain. The sun was starting to come out but it wasn't bothering me. Who is this new runner who is doing well in humid weather? I like her! Once we got closer to the turnaround, I saw lots of other runner friends and cheered all of them on with a wave and a smile!

My new favorite race photo!

I saw the FN Runners again at mile 9 which was very much needed. My splits were getting tougher and I really appreciated the support our group gave us! My aunt also surprised me and gave me a high five on the course. It was a great surprise and I was feeling great!

Mile 7 8:55
Mile 8 8:50
Mile 9 8:40
Mile 10 8:29 

Right after all this talk and feeling so well, it started to hit me like a ton of bricks. That sun that wasn't bothering me now seemed blistery.  My legs were tired. I could feel my heart about to beat out of my chest. My breathing was super heavy. All warning signs that I was pushing hard in this heat--too hard. As I wanted to run this as a training run, I decided to slow it down and take it easy. If I was running this as a race, I would have kept pushing it. However, this was a training run and I shouldn't be spent on a training run. That last mile almost killed me though. I wanted to be done so bad.
Mile 11 9:03
Mile 12 9:07
Mile 13 9:43
0.1 7:56
This is my "Please let this be over" face

After it was over, I couldn't help but smile. I met my goal for most of the race and kicked up to some pretty speedy miles. Overall time: 2:01:49. Not too far off from my PR (1:59:32) and I felt like I could have kicked up much more, if I had been racing it. I am really looking forward to my goal half marathon in July. I'm ready to get acclimated to this heat and have a great race. After crossing the finish line, I met up with more running friends! I knew so many people doing this race so there were lots of post-race celebrations to attend!
With some of my FN Runner friends (L to R: Susan D, me, Aurelia)
More FN Runners! (L to R: Wayne, Susan M, Brian, me, Kevin)
Thanks Maggie for the great sign and for coming out to cheer for us!
After hanging out with the FN Runners for awhile, it was time to head over to another grassy knoll and celebrate with the Yankee Runners!
With my friendly 10:00 marathon pacers!

The Yankee Runner crew!

This was such a FUN race, not only for the out and back course, great support, but the many local runners that all came out to run this race! I am still on the runners high just from hanging with so many running friends all in the same place! It was easy to find people (as it was a small local race) and easy to hang out and celebrate afterwards! If you live in Chicago, I highly recommend this race! It was such a great time and I can't wait to run it again next year!


  1. Great job on the pacing! I think you made a super smart move to take those last three miles easier. I mean, my eyes about bugged out of my skull when I realized how much faster you'd have to go during the last three miles if you wanted to keep dropping your pace. Whew!

    Lots of my running club friends did this race, too, since it's on the CARA circuit. Maybe next year I'll be able to join them.

  2. The half I did on Saturday had a turnaround too and it's so fun to see all the people you know!!!

    WTG on an awesome progression run! It was a good idea to have that 3 mile cool-down at the end :) The humdity has been crazy lately! I ran 4 miles at 9:00 pace yesterday and it was starting to feel really hard! UGH! Bring on the summer training!

  3. It was cool to see not just the people we knew, but the elites too. I cheered really loud for the speedy women I saw. I just couldn't help it! Girl Power!! Haha

    Yeah, this humidity is a killer because it went from nothing to super duper humid! Once I get used to it, I'm hoping it won't be so bad. That's at least how I'm going into it this summer (which is a much different mentality than last summer where I was mostly terrified of the heat). A new summer, a new runner. :)

  4. Haha, yeah. It seemed like it was totally possible on paper and also while running those first few miles. Then again, they were the first few miles. Although, it did feel good to gain some ground and pass some folks as they were slowing down and I was speeding up. :)

    This run is super fun! I know Maggie did it a few years ago and plans to do it again (she had a wedding the night before this year). Chicago Blogger Meetup 2013! :)

  5. Great recap! I really like the idea of running progressively faster miles. Might have to try something similr at my half this weekend.

    Congrats on a speedy time!

    1. Thanks! It really is harder than it seems. Looking forward to the race recap! Good luck this weekend!!

  6. Middleaged RunnerMay 8, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    Awesome job especially in the heat (I don't tolerate heat very well!) I loved all the pictures- something I always fail at... Sounds like such a fun, smart race!

  7. These are probably the best race photos I've ever taken. Not to mention, I'm pretty much making the same pose in every photo! Haha! It was a super fun race... Thanks!