Race weekend recap woohoo! Let me tell you, I’ve never had to push through a half marathon so hard like I did on Sunday. Chicago has set record-high temps for the past week – in the mid-90’s – and it’s September!! It’s supposed to be cool, fall temps!! Agh! That kind of heat this time of year is unheard of. Everyone knew it was going to be rough on race day. Race officials were letting the half marathoners drop down to the 5k race even. But hell if I was going to admit defeat! I didn’t train for weeks just to run a few miles and call it a day. I was going to finish the Chicago Half Challenge! But I was secretly hoping that I wasn’t going to die.
Packet pick-up was on Saturday afternoon so I met up with my running bestie to pick up our swag and packets. That day gave us a taste of what we were going to face for race day. But scorching heat aside, I was getting pumped!!!
For anyone questioning doing this half or not, DO IT. The whole experience is amazing and it’s so well-organized from the expo to the post-race fest at the end. We got our swag and samples (new stuff not to be tried until AFTER the race) and then headed out!
After we left the expo it was time to carb-load! We continued our tradition by snagging some Noodle & Co. pasta with a rice krispie treat. NOMS. This is essential leading up to every long distance run. Carbs. So many carbs. Give them all to me.
After we were full of carbs, we queued up some Netflix movies and I spruced up my playlist for race day (another must). Those training days really make you start to hate some songs. I knew that with the tough weather conditions ahead, this was a job for a lot of Metallica, ACDC, etc. Once we had everything set for the night, we prepped our race day gear and set our alarms for the early morning wake-up call!
Getting there is always a nightmare since they close off streets so damn early, but it’s worth it! By the time we lined up in our corrals, it was 90% humidity and temps were close to 85 degrees already. Challenge accepted.
By miles 7 and 8 my head started to stray and my pace started to waiver. The internal battle started already because of the humidity. I even started the race slower than usual because let’s get real here, I knew that if I wanted to finish the race and not injure myself, it just needed to happen. Many people didn’t listen to their bodies and didn’t properly hydrate and they were carted off of the course or on the sidelines at the emergency tents getting oxygen. It was no joke. That’s what happens when you push yourself beyond your limits. And is it really worth it? No. Now, I’m not an elite runner. I don’t expect to actually WIN the whole damn thing so it’s easy for me to say. BUT really. The body can only take so much. Although I sacrificed a PR, I felt a lot better at the finish. I accidentally took this picture stopping my music literally right after crossing the finish. Priority #1…locate ice towel THEN get my medal.
I really have to hand it to the race officials and volunteers. They were so prepared. There were plenty of hydration stations armed with Gatorade, water and cups of ice cubes. And about halfway through, they had misters and some stations even broke out hoses and were spraying people down. At mile 10 a woman (bless her heart) dumped half a gallon of water on me. It’s moves like this that kept me going. That and the “punch here for more horse power” signs. The crowd support was amaze-balls as usual. This was the standard feeling of every runner after the race.
After I snagged my first medal, they also handed out the most delicious popsicles in addition to the traditional bananas and other salty snacks. BEST DECISION EVER.
After getting my shit together and realizing that yes, I did cross that finish line and survived that brutal race, I got my third medal for finishing the Chicago Marathon Half Series Challenge. HOLLLAAA more bling!
And although the last thing I want to do is eat after a half, I have to force myself to do it otherwise I feel like I want to puke up my insides. I mean, I DID burn 2,200 calories. That pretty much means I can justify eating any damn thing. Including the pizza they were serving at the post-race fest. Shortly after, I reunited with the bestie and we of course took several celebratory selfies. WE DIDN’T DIE! YAASSS!
Although the runner’s high was real for this race, I’m looking forward to chilling out for quite awhile and not training for another half anytime soon. I think I had to wash off three layers of salt off of my body once I peeled myself off of the train. The best was connecting all three medals that formed the Chicago skyline. How epic is that for a medal Monday?
This race definitely tested me mentally and physically. While I didn’t PR on time, I really pushed through and my training pulled off in the end. Here’s to another successful race day and yay for being sore AF today!