Monday, September 8, 2014

Chicago Half Marathon 2014 Race Recap

GOALAs I mentioned in my last post, my main goal for this race was a sub-1:28, which would indicate that I was on track for a marathon PR (3:05:03) next month. If I could do that perhaps a Chicago Half course P.R. (1:27:53) was in the works as well. I did not know what kind of fitness I had, so I was going to go out conservatively, then open it up later on. I figured a 7:15 to 6:15 progression would be ideal.


EXPO: I paid $25 to park at Navy Pier which was the location of the race expo on Saturday. I found out later they were validating parking for $12, but they did not have a specific validation booth. I guess I should read the informational e-mails beforehand! Oh well, at least I bumped into Jenny, Manny and Eric. Here I am with Eric:
Eric ran to the expo, thus parking for free!
Getting To the Race: On Sunday morning, I rode with my neighbor Tad who I now have dubbed the "Master of Parking" as he found a place to park for free about 3 blocks from the start line at about 6:15 am.

Pre-Race:  With 45 minutes to spare we milled about, used the facilities and then checked our bags.
Hanging out pre-race
Once we parted ways, I made my way over to the "B" corral. While waiting for the gun to sound, Adam introduced himself and we chatted a bit. I purposely lined up way behind the 1:30 pace group. I would make an effort to pass them around mile 8 which would give me something to work towards during the first part of the race.

Miles 1 to 3: Temps were comfortable and in the low 60s for the start of the race, so it all set up for a faster than normal Chicago Half Marathon for me because the temps are normally pushing 80 degrees. The first three miles through the Hyde Park neighborhood are relatively shady. I somehow got in a group of runners and we all introduced ourselves. I think they thought we would be a group for the whole race. 7:03/mile.

Miles 4 to 6: We reached LSD (Lake Shore Drive) with beautiful views of the lake. I left my new friends behind as I think they were running even splits and I was slowly starting to negative split. Around mile 6 I finally spotted the 1:30 pace group again and attempted to close the gap between them and me a little more. 6:44/mile.
On the course somewhere before mile 8
(when I ditched the water bottle)
Miles 7 through 9: By mile 8 I had still not passed the 1:30 pace group even though I was laying down 6:30 miles. I think they were going faster than 6:52 per mile! Anyway, as we got to the turn-around at 31st street bridge, I saw my opportunity to pass them on the up-hill. I floored it up the hill and got by the entire 1:30 pace group by the time we started heading back down the ramp. Unfortunately, I started to gasp for air as it had taken a lot of effort to pass them on the uphill. I thought that maybe I would have to slow down for the rest of the race as I was gassed. 6:27/mile.

Miles 10 through 12: Well, the miracle of 70 mile training weeks became apparent as my "gassed" lungs got a second wind and I was able to push even harder and go faster without a problem. Turns out, the feeling like I would have to slow down was mostly in my head. Had I not put in all the miles during the training, I probably would not have held pace. 6:23/mile.

Miles 13 through 13.22: I spotted Lynton up up ahead by his tell-tale red BRC singlet. I caught up to him, said "hi" and then sped off. I laid on the speed up the last uphill towards the golden "Columbia" statue next to the finish line. 6:04/mile.

Adam was at the finish line, and we attempted a high-five, but I was so winded I ended up missing his hand. Fail! Sorry Adam! Anyway, I made my way out of the chute and grabbed my bag.

Analysis:
Course PR for six Chicago Halfs!
Official finishing time was 1:27:19 for a new course PR by 34 seconds! However, my main goal of finishing sub-1:28 was accomplished. I have a decent shot at a 3:05 marathon based on the running calculators. I just need to finish off my training the next few weeks and I should just be hoping for nice weather on October 12th!

Post Race:
I picked up my gear and my second medal for completing the "26.2 Challenge" and headed over to the finish line to watch the runners for awhile.
At the finish line watching runners
Then it was off to the beer tent where I caught up with Eric, Jennifer, Lynton, Jenny and Manny.
Manny, me, Lynton and Jenny enjoying the post-race festivities
Conclusion:
Great race temps, course PR, on track for a good marathon, and catching up with lots of running friends made it a great morning!

Next Up: St. Michael's Oktoberfest 5k with the Wurst Running Club Ever!

16 comments:

  1. Great to meet you as well Pete - and yes, that was an epic high-five whiff! Great job on the race and well done on the negative split. Hope to run into you again at CM 14!

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    1. Thanks Adam. Nice meeting you as well. Yeah, hope to see you at CM 14 and do a legitimate high five! :)

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  2. Excellent race Pete! Congrats on the PR! Hooray for cooler temps at this race for once. It sounds like you found my free parking lot! : )

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    1. Thanks! Yes, I definitely know where to park if I run the race again!

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  3. Yay! Awesome job on the course PR! You are a machine!

    I think the medals are really neat this year! :)

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    1. Thanks! Yes and I got two. I win! :)

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  4. Nice work, Pete! You're going to CRUSH the marathon!

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  5. Wow! Speechless. Amazing. And yes, I'm hoping for good weather on Oct 12 too!

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    1. Thanks! Fingers crossed for nice weather!

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  6. Another great race and PR! I'm so excited to cheer for you during the Chicago Marathon this year! Stay healthy!

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    1. Thanks coach! I will have to look for you on the marathon course next month. I am trying to stay healthy! :)

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  7. Awesome race! Sounds like you're ready for that PR at the Chicago Marathon! I'm glad the race went well for you and that you were able to execute your race plan like you wanted--I'm sure that's a huge confidence boost. Hopefully the weather will be just as nice or even better for the marathon. :)

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    1. Thanks. Knowing how marathons go, I may narrowly get my PR, but at least I have the confidence now to run the PR pace for the entire race. Yes, my plan worked out remarkably well. I guess I know I am a better "negative splitter" than even pacer (or "positive splitter")! Fingers crossed for nice, cool marathon weather. :)

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  8. Congrats on a great race. You are speedy!!

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