So, of course I had to run it! I left the hotel at about 7:15 and walked 5 minutes down the hill for the 7:30 am race start. I had been sick all week and hadn't run a single mile for six days prior to the race. I had little expectations and no race plan except to start slow and finish fast. I also did not know how hilly the course would be, so I thought my strategy would work well if it was hilly.
|Waiting for the start of the race|
The race got started with a simple "Go" from the announcer and we were off!
Mile 1: I had chosen a spot about 30 yards back from the starting line, because I thought I would give the 2 mile runners a little breathing room since they would be pushing the pace early. However, that was a big mistake as I found myself in a sea of 8 to 9 minute milers with lots of kids and adults in jeans rocking cassette Walkmen which meant that I had to do lots of weaving right off of the bat. So much for trying to be nice! Oh well, it helped to hold my pace back a little. We headed up a gradual incline with great views of Lake Michigan. 6:57/mile.
|Course Map. Note that about half of the course had views of the lake.|
(entirely course was on city streets)
Mile 3: This mile was mostly a nondescript jaunt through some residential streets. There was a hairpin turn-around to begin the trip back over the same course. 6:32/mile.
Mile 4: What goes up, must come down, so there were some nice gradual downhills here. I was nervous about picking up the pace too much and getting shin-splints like I've done in other downhill race situations. 6:21/mile.
Mile 5: We made our way down the big hill, and in order to prevent leg pain, I held back until the last portion of the hill. Then I turned on the jets for the remainder of the race, trying to pick off as many fading runners as I could. I guess not running for six days gave me some fresh legs, because I really slammed down the hammer (my last recorded pace for this mile was 4:25/mile!) 6:08/mile.
Total time: 33:12 (6:31/mile) Instant PR!
Age Group: 1 out of 14
Overall: 21 out of 271
I am quite happy with the result considering I was sick the entire week leading up to the race. I also had no idea how hilly the course was going into the race. I train on pretty much flat land, so to beat other runners who probably train on this terrain on a daily basis was cool. I credit the stair stepper at the gym! Anyway, I simply run best when I run negative splits, and I ran a pretty good race in that regard. On top of all that it was my first 5 miler ever, so I got an instant PR!
I collected my AG medal with a red white and blue ribbon and walked 20 yards to the lake for some post race pictures:
|Relaxing by the beach post race|
|The "Big Bang" Celebration in Sheboygan is sponsored by|
Fantastic, well-organized race run on city streets for only $12 - that is almost the same amount as the "convenience charge" for a Chicago race!
|Saw this giant guy in the parade after the race.|
Rock n' Roll Half Marathon Chicago (my favorite half marathon course in the world)!