I remember when I signed up for this race, I was super excited about it. The week leading up to the race, I kept forgetting that I was even supposed to be running it.
The Rock 'n' Roll series put on a good expo. I went on Saturday to collect my race number, etc. I wandered around the stands but didn't stay long as I was a bit hot and tired and frustrated by the crowds.
Meh. Disappointed with the design. It's been relegated to the bottom drawer and probably won't come out unless it's running gear laundry day.
Easy. As it turned out I didn't really need anything that I checked so I could have missed the process. But when there's no hassle, why not take the extra precaution?
Pre-race meet up with the Chicago Running Bloggers. It was nice to meet a few new people. The group split up and I chatted with Eric for a while before lining up in my corral.
|Before the race (stolen from here)|
As with a few other races I've done, early on in the race we went under cover and my Garmin lost satellite reception. I'm not a slave to my Garmin when I'm racing but it is frustrating to lose timing so early. Of course, it was easily fixed by using my lap setting at the first mile marker and it was pretty close to accurate for the rest of the race.
I enjoyed the course given how much I've been racing on the Lakefront Trail. It was good to have a change of scenery. The buildings provided some good shade coverage too, an added bonus on a warm day.
The first eight miles were pretty much uneventful. I amused myself listening to the conversations going on around me and taking in the on-course musical entertainment (is it just me, or did it seem a little light on?). While I didn't feel terrible, I certainly wasn't feeling strong during those miles and I'm ashamed to say that I actually, very briefly, contemplated not finishing the race. I just felt so flat that the prospect of going the whole distance was too much.
Luckily, I smacked that thought down and implemented the race mantra - I feel great, I feel strong. Otherwise known as, fake it 'til you make it.
Then, just as the mile 9 marker came into sight, the great stabbing and run-halting GI pain that I meet far too often kicked in. And, to add insult to injury, at this point I got overtaken by Doctor Dribble - the guy who runs half marathons and marathons while dribbling basketballs. It doesn't do a lot for one's ego to not be able to run faster than someone who is also just about playing basketball.
At this point I had to channel more than mantra. I recently 'adopted' Boots at an animal sanctuary back home and every time I see his picture it makes me smile. So that's the big gun I pulled out here.
|He's so cute!|
I struggled through a couple of uncomfortable miles, dealing with my stomach and a case light-headedness but feeling better than the people I saw throwing up on the side of the road. One woman was about to be put on stretcher and taken away in the ambulance. I took on a few cups of water, some gatorade and a gel during those miles - a plan that was going to decide things one way or the other - I would feel decidedly better or decidedly worse and know where the rest of the race was going to go. Thankfully, decidedly better won.
The last three miles were actually strong (no mantra required). Unfortunately, I did pass some more injured runners. One person receiving medical attention for the heat, I think and then a poor guy who had fallen and hit his head on the road. There was a lot of blood and he did not look to be in good shape but luckily the medic got there just as I did so he was being taken care of.
The final mile was spent picking off runners ahead of me and promising myself lots and lots of cold drinks. That last stretch on Columbus was deceptively long (the finish line just never seemed to get any closer!).
Final time - 2:23:33.
I actually ended up beating the dribbling guy across the finish line but as he started the race after me his time was still better. Boo.
Overall (in random bullet points):
- This was a good race and I came across some terrific crowd support along the way.
- I don't enjoy summer racing so I'm not sure if I would sign up for it again.
- Need to work out a better fuelling regime to avoid repeats of today's stomach and head revolt
- Little kids with sprinklers rock
- Volunteers are awesome but some of the aide stations were very poorly managed (ie. no water!!)