Half marathon number 5 is in the books. It wasn’t pretty but it’s done. Let’s find out what happened and didn’t happen.
I ended up driving into Schaumburg on Saturday. It is so much easier to not having to deal with packet pick up the morning of the race. The drive was not enjoyable in the least. There’s heavy construction on I90. The bonus was that I snagged Aaron’s Ipass. I at least could sail through the tolls.
It took my nearly 90 minutes to arrive at the packet pick up location. It was a bit confusing. We went to an empty store front to get the packet and then down to the sporting goods store to grab my shirt. It wasn’t until I was in bed later that I realized I should have grabbed 4 safety pins on the waiver signing table. No safety pins in the packet envelope.
We were given a bright green neon long sleeve tech race shirt.
Not bad. The thumb holes are way too high up for me but otherwise fits.
I didn’t hang around for anything extra. I popped into a Taco Bell to use the bathroom and hit the road. Side note, dang TB smells bad.
Saturday was spent resting, hydrating, and eating pizza. I only ate 3 slices when I can easily take down 4 slices.
I crawled into bed around 10 and was asleep by 10:30. I slept pretty well until my alarm went off at 4am. I was ready to go!
First things first. Coffee. I grounded the beans, poured in the water, and pushed “brew.” My morning breakfast of choice was peanut butter and jelly toast. I picked up Great Harvest honey whole wheat bread to use. One slice is equivalent to two normal slices. It filled me up so quickly. It also didn’t help that Aaron kept snagging bites. I found it so funny that he was mooching off my pre-race fuel. That’s a test of strong love for a runner.
We headed out at 5am. The jacket I put on instantly came off. It was already warm. Damn.
Aaron drove us into Schaumburg. I had him stop at a gas station before parking. Indoor plumbing and no line. Brilliant idea.
There was free parking in a close parking garage. Free parking is so nice! I ended up hitting the port-a-potty again. You are acutely aware of your bladder when a race is in the air.
I told Aaron farewell for the next 2 hours.
I hopped into line and suddenly remembered to turn on my Garmin watch. Finding location took forever. I was really hoping that the race started on time and not early. Garmin needed all that time.
I started with the 8’47″ mile pace girls. I will hold strong to that they started out way fast. I was a step ahead of them when I saw a 7’40″ pace. I slowed down and they took off. Mile 1 hadn’t even hit yet and I wanted something to drink. And that set the tone for the race.
We took off down a road running parallel with I-290. It was about a 2 mile stretch before we headed up a ramp and over 290. We weaved around Busse Woods. There were tons of people out walking, pushing strollers, riding bikes, fishing, etc. One lady on a bike looked like she was trying to pick off runners.
We looped around mile 4/5. I was wondering where this would go since we weren’t at the half-way point. I hadn’t completely memorized the route. We took off for another loop which is where things were falling apart for me. I couldn’t keep a steady pace at all.
Water stations didn’t seem to come up enough for me. I usually say that races have too many water stations. The water and Gatorade cups weren’t distinguished either. I didn’t have any Gatorade until after the half-way point. I needed it by mile 3. I had to start shouting Gatorade to figure out who had it. It was a potent mix. The flavors also varied on course. Interesting.
I took a gel at about mile 9.5. I again probably needed one earlier. My legs weren’t feeling the miles and neither was my head.
I was trying to tell myself to enjoy the race but I just couldn’t. It was hot, I was too thirsty, my pace felt like it was all over, and I couldn’t zone out.
Then came that 290 overpass. People were walking it. I told myself to just not stop, no matter how slow my pace became. I climbed up it at a slow pace while baking in the direct sunlight. I made it to the top and knew I just needed to hold on.
I could tell that I was dehydrated. My skin had that dry, clammy feeling. I realized how people could so easily pass out during races. Again, I just needed to hold on.
The 2 mile straight away road came up again. This was brutal. We were in the sun and felt abandoned. When brief shade crept onto the road, runners migrated towards it. You could tell wheels were falling off for everyone. Luckily the spectators started popping up more and more as the final turns approached.
One lady was looking right at me and told me, “You’ve got this girl!” in the most confident voice. I give her a point in acknowledgement. She’ll never know what that meant. I hope spectators know how much they mean to runners.
The final portion of the run was slightly blind. No 12 mile marker was spotted and I thought I was farther along than I was. I took off too early. The uphill climb and taking off too early forced me to slow back down until I caught sight of the finish line.
How much was my head out of this race? I crossed the finish line and had no thoughts. No sense of accomplishment. No “I can’t believe I did it!” as always.
I just grabbed my medal and water and walked.
Clearly my pace slowed down progressively. Was this more error on my part of the weather? I think I went out slightly too fast but the heat tackled me.
I struggled to open my water and finally got it opened about the time that I walked into the sprinkling system that was set up. Now that felt good.
I finished at 1:55:35 (8’49″ pace). I can’t get out of the 1:55′s. It’s slightly annoying to myself. Granted, it was overall a “slow” race. The first place runner crossed at 1’18″ which isn’t often a winning time at most half races. Either way, 1:55′s are annoying me.
I downed 16 oz of water in a matter of minutes. I turned around and reached Aaron. I began stretching and quickly grabbed a huge bottle of Gatorade that was being distributed. None of the food interested me much, but no food usually interests me after running.
I stretched more, caught up with Aaron, and took a few photos.
We walked back to the parking garage where it was nice and cool. Unfortunately I found my car with the visor mirror light on. Um, please start-up. It did.
We headed to Whole Foods so Aaron could grab food. He said that it felt like it should be dinner time. We munched on some chips before taking off for the city. I love salty food after running.
First stop was Publican Quality Meats. We’ve been here before and loved it. We love all Paul Kahan restaurants. You’d think we have a stake in his restaurants.
We were able to sit outside. It was perfect weather and environment-the L was a block away. Perfect ambiance. I ordered the turkey sandwich which was shredded turkey with some spice to give it a kick and avocado. Perfection. I drank tons more water and finally needed to use the bathroom. I was hydrated again!
Next stop: Goose Island 25th Anniversary Party. The line to get carded wrapped around the building and took 40 minutes to get through. I was still in my running clothes, so standing in the hot sun wasn’t too bad. I already was sweaty and smelly.
We ran into a bunch of people who Aaron knows through beer connections/work. We had a few “basic” beers and then got in the super long Bourbon County beers line. Again, another 40 minute wait. Totally worth it. I had a Buffalo Trace. So good!
Security was all over this line since it was so highly sought after. It was also the coolest spot with the barrel room being exposed.
As we were drinking our Bourbon beers, we met John Hall. Aaron greeted him as an old friend. He “cheers-ed” with us and moved along. Aaron filled me in that he started Goose Island Brewery. Oh is that all?
Afterwards, we had an early dinner with people from Rockford and headed home. We were home by 7. All I wanted to do was washed my face. It had 2 layers of sunscreen and sweat on it. I showered and was asleep by 8. Twelve hours later I felt better. One sore hamstring muscle in my left leg. Otherwise, it doesn’t feel like I ran a half yesterday.
How am I feeling mentally? I want redemption which might be coming soon. Stay tuned!