|Pre-race with Ruth
I've had a love hate relationship with Michigan Ave since I moved to Chicago. It's gorgeous, has amazing architecture and history, but the crowds of tourists make it unbearable in the summer. When I saw that the Mag Mile half advertised a course going straight down Michigan Ave, I knew I had to add it to my list. There was a 5k option as well which was my first choice considering it was only one week after the Chicago Tri...but then I checked my training schedule and realized I had to do at least 16 miles that day for marathon training so I took the plunge and registered for the half marathon. Keep in mind this is only one week before the Chicago Half Marathon which I'll also be running and the day before I ran the Badass Dash 7k. Yeah, I think its safe to say I might have an addiction to racing. Lucky for me one of my friends from NYC is just as crazy and signed up for both half marathons as well.
Packet pickup was at Fleet Feet South Loop which was a change from the usual Old Town location but it worked out just fine since there was a Saturday option. I got in and out with no problems and picked up packets for me and Ruth. There were yummy samples from Luna and Cliff Blocks (my favorite!). Once I made it home I tried to hydrate as much as possible considering what Chicago weather has been like lately. There's nothing worse than getting a few miles in and being in complete agony because you're totally depleted.
|Jennifer & I
Race morning I got there bright and early to meet Jennifer and Ruth for pictures. Jennifer was hoping for a PR on the 5k and Ruth would be running her first half! I was so excited for both of them and wished them luck as we headed to the starting line. Considering how much pain I was still in just finishing the race would be enough for me.
The first few miles weren't too bad but it was definitely hot and humid. By the time we hit the lakefront path I was sweating buckets. My only hope was that between my pre-race hydrating, aid stations and clif blocks I'd be able to survive the long miles. Along the course a woman tapped me on the shoulder who recognized me from the Chicago Tri. We chatted a bit and then split off. I also ran into a fellow Half Fanatic, Dawn who stopped to take a selfie with me. It was great seeing so many familiar faces considering how much I was struggling. Somewhere on the southern part of the course Eric found me and slowed down to my pace to keep me company. After we hit the turn around I started fading and had to take much longer than expected walk breaks. At each aid station I poured water on my head and neck to cool down then drank the rest. By now it was just about survival. Eric and I chatted until pretty much the last turn where the path split and he continued on to get the rest of his training miles in.
|Selfie with Dawn!
|Eric and I
This race was pretty ugly for me. I loved running down the Mag Mile and the tank was a great alternative to the usual race T-shirt. The volunteers were phenomenal and I made a point to thank as many of them as I could. There was one moment that really struck me during this race though. Usually when I get to the last straight away I dig into the depths of my soul to find that last little nugget of energy to carry me swiftly to the finish line. As I worked my way up to a full sprint and started passing a few runners one of them started yelling and cheering for me. That's never happened to me before, usually in that last stretch everyone takes off and tries to pass whoever they can. Not this lady, she just kept screaming "that's right, you go girl, kill it!" A part of me wanted to go back and say come on let's crush it together, but truth be told I didn't know if I had enough left in the tank to make it happen. Just as I got my medal Ruth text me to let me know she had left after starting to feel sick. The weather was brutal and it took a major toll on her. In a way I'm thankful for the bad runs I've had because they prepped me for races like this. It wasn't a PR but it was a finish and really that's all that matters to me.
|Sweaty selfie = success!