What a weekend! Filled with laughs, friends, yummy eats, and a 13.1 mile run. That's what I consider an A+ weekend.
Mr and Mrs. H arrived in Chicago on Friday but we didn't hit up the expo until Saturday afternoon. Bad move on our part because it was ridiculously busy. The hubby, while a fabulous athletic supporter, really can't stand anymore race expo's so we moved through and picked up some new gear as quickly as the crowds allowed. Of course we also stopped for a picture or two :)Sunday morning the alarm went off at 4:45 - oh so early for me! And we were out the door and on our way to find parking by 5:20 am. We arrived with plenty of time and I found my friends quickly. After a not so quick port-a-potty stop BK and I made the long walk back to the last corral number 29! Mr. H lined up right behind the fasties in corral #2.
Our friend C found us shortly after the start horn had sounded. While standing around BK was feeling the anxiety as she waited for the start of her first 1/2 marathon.
After 45 minutes we finally crossed the start line! Longest wait I've ever experienced to cross the start line. After passing mile 1 I realized the winner would be finishing soon... only 12 miles left for us :)
The first few miles seemed to go quickly. BK thought it would be easiest for her to do a run/walk combo to get her to the finish. The morning, though humid, was overcast so that definitely helped. The 3 of us joked around, caught up on each other's lives, and took in the city. Before mile 5 Jacob spotted us! Seriously my husband is the super spotter when it comes to races. I can never find anybody but he is able to spot me and whoever else we know running in no time. A good skill to have when married to a runner :)
Around this point BK started to feel the general race pains. It was my job to keep her motivated and her mind off her pain as much as possible. I don't think I did very well keeping her mind off the pain but I kept her moving. As the miles ticked by, the sun came out and it definitely warmed up a lot. Around mile 8 the race spray showers/misters were set up. I opted to not go under any as I only feel hotter after the water evaporates. Soon after we were headed back north for our final miles. Unfortunately, this is were the path narrowed and became hot, hot, hot!
Around mile 10 there were cold sponges and I helped myself to one of those to cool down my burning hair :) About this point C realized she needed to keep running, no longer do the run/walk, because it was easier on her body. BK definitely hit a wall here as well. I kept asking her questions to make sure what she was feeling was normal 'running your first 1/2' pain or if she was really hurt. We incorporated a few more walk breaks too. I know my girl was hurting but she took it like a champ. I kept reassuring her that it would feel so much better when she crossed that line.
For being undertrained BK did fantastic! So happy for her and proud of her! We finished together in 2:47:54. BK was hoping for 3 hours so even better than she thought :)
The race/course itself was okay. There were 25,000 runners and seemed overcrowded nearly the entire race. I liked running downtown (especially by the Transformers 3 set) but it was almost a "been there, done that" feeling since the first couple miles were parts of the Chicago Marathon course as well as many other Chicago races. As we turned south on Lakeshore Drive and back around up the running path it became difficult to maneuver and crowded. The race directors also managed to find every "hill" in Chicago. While I didn't mind too much I know it was breaking nearly everyone around me. There were plenty of fluid stations and the misting stations and sponges were fantastic for a hot race. Oh and the popsicles at the finish! There definitely was not very much crowd support in comparison to other races and other than the popsicles no real food at the end :( So some good and some bad - like any race!
Overall, I had a lot of fun running with BK and C! C was freaking hilarious the entire run. I love having friends to race with. I enjoyed running further back than I normally do, taking 50 some odd pictures, and taking in the city in the early morning before it truly wakes up. Everyone seemed a lot more relaxed where we were running and were nice to and supportive of strangers. Plus, I loved being there with my friend as she ran and crossed the line of her first 1/2! Awesome, incredible experience!
Now it's on to convince everyone to run together again ;)