This summer Chicago has had about 2 weeks of hot temperatures. The Xsport Rock 'N Roll Chicago Half Marathon was going to be run on the tail end of it. I know most of us runners had been stalking the weather reports hoping for a break from the heat. We didn't quite get the break in heat we were hoping for but it was better than the Burgers and Beer 5K.
The race started at 6:30 a.m. and I was in Corral 20.
I woke up around 4 a.m. and the mangie was NOT interested in going for a walk. I actually had to drag him out of my bed to go walking! That NEVER happens!!
For any of the Grant Park races I always park at work and walk over. I knew it wasn't that far from the start because the map had shown that we'd run past my work building at about the .5 mile point.
It was crowded but everything seemed really really spread out. I managed to find a porta potty near the after party stages and vendors that had NO wait. Score!
Then I met up with my half marathon training buddies.
For 7 weeks Amy sent out a weekly email detailing our training for the week. We basically did a training program that included 3 runs per week: Tempo Run, Speedwork or Hill Repeats (this rotated) and then the Long Run.
Of course this being Chicago basically our only hill opportunity was Cricket Hill. We did our speed workouts at the Lakeshore Track off of Chicago Ave downtown. Track workouts are TOUGH but I do have to say I always enjoy the accomplishment afterwards!!
So the three of us lined up in corral 20 but basically everyone kept pushing themselves forward and I know we started ahead of the 2:15 pacer (who was positioned at the front of corral 20). We only had to wait about 20 minutes before we started which was a nice surprise. Honestly after long waits in other races with a later corral I was happy not to have to wait 45 minutes to an hour!
The race started out exciting enough as we ran along Columbus crossed the River and turned at Grand. We basically made our way West until about the 4 mile mark and started heading East. We hit Michigan Ave around mile 6.5 and since this was the most crowded area with spectators and cheerleaders this was DEFINITELY my fastest mile. And then we hit the dead zone and then came the wall out in the bright sunlight.
Michigan Ave. ALL the way down to 31st street was really really boring. And then once we hit 31st Street we basically came out of the shade for the first time all morning. And did I mention at this point it was probably nearing 9 a.m.? So yeah it got hot and it got unbearable. Also the water stations along this stretch were TERRIBLE. The tables had empty cups. So we had to pick up an empty cup and hold it out and hope we got some Gatorade and/or water. A friend was running a slower race in a later corral and she told me she didn't get ANY Gatorade until mile 12!
I don't really blame the volunteers at all for this mess. I mean for THAT many runners yeah it's gonna be hard to keep up. The Race Organizers should have made sure they were equipped to handle it all! Also there were no sponges until Mile 12 and at that point it was almost too late. There were a TON of hoses along the way but I am not sure if they were official hoses or not but I definitely ended the race with soaking wet shorts (not pleasant for the after race).
There were medical tents along the way so I grabbed ice from the bags they had laying in front of them and stuffed ice in my sports bra. That actually helped a lot, but being able to get more than 1 cup of water at each aid station would have helped even more!
The race did offer a ton of splits which is nice especially for a person like me who forgets her Garmin a lot (or in this case it went haywire for the first few miles).
So I got a new PR!!! And this is the first race I can confirm that I actually did negative splits!!!
Would I do this race again? Probably not. I don't like the middle of summer unpredictability of the weather. And also next year I am shooting for the Half Ironman Racine which is the same date! ;)