On March 7, 2010 I wrote this in my running notes, "Great run! Signed up for Chicago Half with Candace tonight!!! This is who I am now! I run!" Up until this day I had logged a total of 240 miles in 7 months and had run one half-marathon. So when Candace called me to run the Chicago half with her it just seemed natural, I felt like a runner. I haven't looked back since. Granted I have had good months and bad months, but I have kept registering for races in hot pursuit of a great month!
I realize that it's January of 2011, but I'd like to recap my 2nd half-marathon in Chicago while it's on my mind.
On September 9, 2010 I flew from Houston to Chicago and met up with Candace, her friend Kim, and her family. Over the next few days we had a blast eating, visiting neat Chicago places, riding the train, eating, shopping, walking, eating, and hanging out! We ate a lot if you didn't get my gist. We had so much fun and the city was beautiful.
Candace & Me
The famous bean sculpture
The three of us in Millenium Park
I'm a Nike Girl!
Riding the train to and from Chi-town
Saturday afternoon we rode the train from Candace's sister's house into Chicago and checked into our hotel. We picked up our race bib and walked around the expo. I got to meet Coach Jenny Hadfield whom I had been following for months because she and her husband had started a Running Cruise that I had been researching. I came to find out she and her husband had done much more in the health and fitness industry than I knew about. I felt like I had met a star, she has been such a source of encouragement for me.
Meeting Coach Jenny Hadfield
We walked around a bit and then had dinner at Bucca di Peppo's, a famous family-style Italian restaurant. We wanted to get our pasta (carbs) in the night before the race so we would be raring to go come morning. After dinner I felt stuffed and wanted to burn a few calories so Kim and I went to the hotel pool. It was an indoor pool so all the kids' splashes, giggles, and yells amplified in the pool area. Not the ideal relaxing swim I was hoping for. I swam in place for about 20 minutes to burn off some of those carbs and also to try and make myself tired. (I always get excited the night before a big event and don't fall asleep easily.) Right before bed I got online for a bit and got an invite from the Goldins to come and run the New Orleans half-marathon in February 2011. The thought above replayed in my head, "I'm a runner now, this is what I do" and immediately said yes to another race! All of my best cheerleaders were on saying "good luck", "we're so proud of you", and "imagine us at the finish line waiting for you." These people have no idea how encouraging they are and how they inspire me to run mile after mile! Huge shout out to Mandy & Aaron Goldin, Teri Bayless, Courtney Tucker, my parents, Jason, and everyone else who has spoken life into my weary feet!
At the expo picking up our bibs
Laying out my gear the night before the race.
I used to do this in high school for my basketball games too. :)
Sunday, the 12th we got up early and hailed a taxi to the race. Future note to self, on race day arriving an hour early to the race is NEVER enough time to find your starting corral, stretch, take a potty break, stretch some more, get your iPod set, and get physically and mentally in position to run for the next 2 1/2 hours (in my case that is).
Ready to run!
At 7 am, the gun went off and the first few hundred people started running. We were squished behind those few hundred so we shuffled along until we hit the actual starting line where our chips would start registering our time and then we took off! I was so excited for Candace as this was her first half-marathon and because she is much faster than I am we didn't see each other again until after the race.
The first 3 miles went by fairly fast. We ran along Lake Shore drive for the next 9 miles. This was kind of brutal because it was a loop around course. We ran about 4 1/2 miles down Lake Shore drive and then ran up onto the overpass and turned back around running the next 4 1/2 miles in the opposite direction. So the first half of the race we could see the fast runners already making their way to the finish line and we were just beginning the Lake Shore trek! That'll make you feel slow! There were only a few bands playing on this course and to be honest they weren't very memorable. The fans I like best are the ones that have cool signs to distract you, the ones that yell out your name, and the ones that hang over the overpasses with huge speakers blaring fun music from "Rocky" and yelling for you!
Running and smiling for the cameras! (Note to race runners, you have to get the photographers attention...make a face, throw a fun hand gesture and they'll gravitate to your lovely face!) :)
Good fan signage!
The last half was good and I only stopped at the port-o-potty once. This race was different than my first because there were 20,000 people alongside me running the 13.1 miles instead of a half, full, and 10k combined. I was constantly surrounded by people and most of them were passing me, but some of them I passed. :) I try to pick a few steady runners and see if we end up finishing together.
The last mile was great because you could hear the music blaring from that far away and the announcer cheering in the finishers. There were also hundreds of family, friends, and fans waiting on the sidelines screaming, clapping, and taking pictures. As soon as I finished they put an awesome medal around my neck and directed me to all the bananas, chocolate chip cookies, and water that I wanted. I found Candace, her parents, and Kim and took victory pictures. Candace had finished about 30 minutes before me, she had a great PR for her record books!
We did it!!!
My Nike + GPS results
Stretching, popping Excedrin, and napping were next on my list and I accomplished those too. This trip and race was one I'll never forget. Can't wait to do it again and next time it will be in Louisiana!
Classic vacation pic...Feet up on the train ending a great day!