Monday, August 11, 2008


Chicago Distance Classic Half Marathon
Distance: 13.52 miles (according to my Garmin)
Time: 2:52:50 minutes
Pace: 12:48 minutes/mile

As I’m sure you knew by reading my past few posts I was not excited to run this race. The only reason I was going through with it is because I am cheap and I didn’t want to waste the money. On Friday I took the day off work and went to the expo to hear John Bingham speak. He answered a lot of my questions about the course and the wave start. For example:

Me: Why did you change the course from last year?
Bingham: (not word for word) the city of Chicago wanted the cut off to be 13 minute/mile pace and I wanted it to be a lot slower of a cut off so we changed the course back to the course it was 2 years ago. The city also felt any time a runner had to walk they needed to move to the sidewalk. When I told them that I advocate run walking they said every time I walked I would have to go onto the sidewalk. This doesn’t make any sense.

After he spoke I went up to him and thanked him for giving me money last year to buy Gatorade during the marathon last year. He was so excited that he was able to help and gave me a huge hug. Afterwards I was super excited that the Penguin hugged me… then I thought about it and I must be a runner now if I was excited that the Penguin hugged me.

Sunday I toed the line and had an internal debate whether I would run with the 3 hour pace group and then pick up the pace the second half or try and pace with the 2:45 pace group that was a run 5 minute walk 1 minute group. As my wave crossed the started I decided to try and push myself and go with the 2:45 group.

I felt great. The run pace was around 11:25 minutes/mile and then a little slower overall with the walk breaks. Then around mile 9 I had to go to the bathroom. BAD. I didn’t want to stop because I knew I would lose the pace group but it was a desperate situation and I basically had no choice. So I had a three minute bathroom break and headed back onto the course. Unfortunately I had totally lost my groove and tried to do a run 4 minute walk 1 minute pace for a while. Then around mile 11.5 my knees started to scream. Every step I took felt like someone was smacking the outside of my knees with a baseball bat. My beautiful pace went to shit and all I could do was count the steps to the finish.

As I rounded the corner and came to the last straight-away I tried to pick it up and finish strong. Unfortunately my body felt differently. At about 100 feet from the finish my knee buckled. I stopped with the finish line right there in front and me and I couldn’t move. The Penguin was there right next to me on the microphone and looked me right in the eye and said “The finish line is right there! Keeeeeep going!!!” So I prayed that the next step I took wouldn’t result in me crumbling to the ground and hobbled across the finish line. But I finished.

Here are my mile splits:
Mile 1: 12:12 minutes
Mile 2: 10:56 minutes (caught up to the pace group)
Mile 3: 12:22 minutes
Mile 4: 12:28 minutes
Mile 5: 12:07 minutes
Mile 6: 12:15 minutes
Mile 7: 12:04 minutes
Mile 8: 12:17 minutes
Mile 9: 15:00 minutes (the bathroom break)
Mile 10: 13:11 minutes
Mile 11: 13:12 minutes
Mile 12: 13:38 minutes
Mile 13: 14:09 minutes
Mile 13.1 (which if I didn’t think the course was longer than 13.1 miles would have been my final time) 2:47:32 minutes. This would have been a 10 minute PR. I am pretty skeptical that I wove around people for .42 miles.
Mile 13.52: 2:52:50 minutes.

I PR’ed in this race. I beat my time from last year by about almost exactly 5 minutes. I am excited about this but pissed off at the same time because if I would have trained a little harder I most likely would have done a whole lot better. I am also pissed that I lost the pace group when I went to the bathroom. There are very few things that make me wish I was a guy but the whole being able to whip it out whenever I need to pee thing makes me pretty jealous.

I had been feeling pretty ho hum about the race course but I must admit that there were some super beautiful areas of the southern lakefront path. It was slightly scary to run on lakeshore drive almost on the cars as the line to the porta potty stretched out to the cones and people had to run around them to continue in the race.

So that’s that. I have officially trained and completed 4 half marathons, trained and attempted to finish 1 marathon and ran in a 10 mile race in exactly ONE year. I am feeling burnt out. I want to love running again. So I have decided not to run a winter half marathon. I had been thinking of running a rock and roll half marathon in Arizona in January… but I need a break. Don’t cry. I will continue to run smaller races (such as the Human Race and the Buck Town 5k) but nothing too long for a little while.

Congrats to Lou for finishing a great race and my running buddy Laura for also being super fast!


Lou said...

Wow! You have done a ton in one year. That was also my fourth half marathon, and I've been doing this since 2006. We all need a break sometimes. Take it, and you'll realize that you have no choice but to come back.


Congrats on your PR! I'm hearing from EVERYONE who owns a garmin that the course was actually somewhere between 13.3 and 13.5.

Anyway, I'm in the process of handing my credit card over for Bance Popular. Because I have a disease. See you Thursday?

Lindy said...

Nice race, now take a nice break. Running should never be a chore...well ok, well should at least enjoy running to some extent. So relax a bit and come on back when you're ready.

Can I just say that I think that reason for changing the course is lame. It leads me to many more questions: Why isn't that the case for Shamrock? The Marathon? (ok, I guess that's different.) But seriously, Shamrock essentially follows that same part of the course, for just about that same distance, and there are plenty of slow runners there, too. I think it's a cop out.

And as far as the course being "pretty"...yeah, well it's pretty much the same course as the Soldier Field 10-Mile and in part, the Chicago Half Marathon, which now makes the CDC course pretty much unspectacular.

Sorry to be going off about this again, and on your blog instead of my own.

Me and Lou are doing Banco Popular together, and I'm going to take your advice, I liked it best. Celia agreed, too.

Designed by Lena