|Me and Xaarlin before the race|
The "Team Ortho Get Lucky Half Marathon" fit the "tune-up" race bill. So about two weeks ago, I signed up. One complaint about these big corporate races which I make often, is that the entry fee is advertised as $69.77 (get it? 7s are lucky!). Once you've entered all of your info and finally get to the checkout web page, a $5.50 "fee" is added. So, the final price, was an only half as lucky total of $75.32!
It's no mystery why races do this, they figure people will be attracted to a sub $70 race, but in reality the race is ~10% more. They tack a meaningless fee to the price and add almost 10% to their bottom line. Anyway, I'll quit my complaining since I'm just glad someone was holding a half in Chicago in mid-March! Just beware, that most races cost a little more than advertised.
I got to the Western "L" stop at about 7:30 am.
I switched to the Red Line and made it to the Roosevelt Rd. station at about 8:05. After a 15 minute walk from the train to the race, I spotted other runners much more festively decked out than I:
|Runners in full-regalia for the St. Patrick's themed race.|
Eventually, I made it to the Chicago Running Blogger meetup at the gear check and got to meet Xaarlin (and her awesome owl head hat) for the first time!
Apparently, we were the only two bloggers at the meetup, so we checked our gear at the tiny gear check. I think most people must have driven and used their trunks as their personal gear checks, as the line moved surprisingly quickly.
|Random "Get Lucky Half" runners #1 - "Fighting the Wind"|
Since the race didn't start until 9:07 (get it?), we hung around in the cold for 20 minutes. Then we went on a 0.6 mile warm-up jog, just before the start of the race. The half marathon course ran essentially straight south 6.5 miles, followed by 6.5 miles north on the same trail. During our warm-up we quickly realized that the winds would be directly to our backs for the first half and directly in our faces for the 2nd Half. As the Tribune weather forecast put it:
"Brisk northeast winds 10-22 mph off still icy lake waters add to the day's discomfort"
So, in order to avoid too much discomfort, we would have to pace ourselves for the first half even though the temptation to run fast was present. We would have a mega tailwind for 6.5 miles!
|Random "Get Lucky Half" runners #2|
The gun sounded and we were off. This would be my first race ever that I ran with someone I knew! Fun! Xaarlin and I chatted as a few runners sprinted ahead taking advantage of the tailwind. We were just a little more cautious, trying to hold back to preserve the much needed energy for the 2nd half. I heard more than one person mention that once we made the turn at half way, things were going to get bad. I also heard a couple of people compliment her owl hat! I've got to get one.
|Random "Get Lucky Half" runners #3|
|Random "Get Lucky Half" runner #4|
Once I left the porta potty, things got really rough, as my sunglasses got completely covered in ice and I could barely see through them. The winds were probably gusting at over 20 mph and it felt like that there was a giant man pushing against me as I tried to run. Eventually, I caught up with Xaarlin and we ran together again. Despite the howling headwinds and pelting sleet coming off the lake, we were running hard. It made my legs strain and my lungs burn. It's these kind of conditions that pay huge dividends in marathon training. It is a monumental effort to move forward, so we were building lots of strength and endurance without the leg pounding that such effort normally requires.
My ankle felt pretty good at mile 10, so I decided to "race" the rest of the way in. I told Xaarlin I would meet her at the finish line and we parted ways. I then started reeling in runners that had gone out too fast. In fact, from mile 6.2 to mile 13.1. I passed 38 runners and was only passed by 5. How do I know? Because of the very cool individual results sheet that was available to each runner shortly after the race! See mine:
|My "Get Lucky" results page, very cool.|
Anyway, completely exhausted, I sprinted past the 1:45 pace group 20 yards from the finish line and stepped on the last timing mat. I was done!
After the finish, I collected my medal and headed to gear check to quickly grab my video camera to shoot Xaarlin's finish. Unfortunately, gear check could not find my bag! I actually had to go behind the gear check desk and into the sea of bags to find my bag. By the time I found my bag, 5 minutes had elapsed. I hurried over just south of the finish line, and set up my camera. Unfortunately, I was probably less than a minute late, as Xaarlin (unbeknownst to me at the time) had already finished.
After looking for Xaarlin unsuccessfully for about 5 minutes, I was starting to get mild hypothermia as the cold wind was chilling my already cold sweaty running clothes. So, I made a "bee line for the Red Line" so to speak. I did stop on the way to take a quick picture the St. Patrick's Day parade staging area on Columbus Drive. There were a few DeLoreans getting ready to drive in the parade:
|DeLoreans at the Chicago St. Patricks Day Parade|
- I got to run with Xaarlin. Awesome!
- Cold and wet conditions
- A Lakefront Trail course, which could have been bad, but it was not overly crowded
- A little over-priced for an open course which I could have run on anyway, but I needed this race for a tune-up for Boston.
16 miler next weekend then my taper starts!