Saturday, November 29, 2014

Schaumburg Half Marathon 2014 Race Recap

This was my second time running the Schaumburg Half Marathon, but the first time running it on the new course layout. I was excited to run my last half marathon for the season and see what I could do time-wise.


Goal: Since I had just raced the Lincolnwood Turkey Trot 10k less than six days ago, my expectations for this race weren't too high. I did low mileage all week in order to try and recover from the 10k and despite that my legs were still slightly sore. I knew it was going to be a tad on the cold side for this one, so the extra layers plus the cold air might slow me down a little. So, my goal was to run a smart race (i.e. negative split) and see if I could flirt just under 1:30:00.


Getting To the Race: On Sunday morning, I drove on an almost empty Kennedy expressway and made it from my house to the parking lot in Rolling Meadows in under 30 minutes.

Pre-Race:  After getting out of my car, I headed over to the yellow school buses (aka "shuttle buses") which would take us to the starting line. This was a point-to-point course so our checked bags would have to be shuttled back to the finish line.
Waiting for the bus
On the bus
The total time from the parking lot to the start line felt like it took about the same amount of time it took me to drive from Chicago to the parking lot. Oh well, I had plenty of time to spare so it was NBD.

I got my packet and made my way over to the bag check area. I spotted Zoe, and after twittering and blogging back-and-forth for a few months we finally met IRL.
Me and Zoe waiting for the race to start
Around that time, I realized I had lost one of my gloves, so I backtracked around to look for it. I did not find it, but I did find another lost glove on the ground and just assumed that the person who lost the one I found had found mine. So, the karma evened out, I hope!

Zoe and I made our way over to the start corrals. It would not be a 2014 Chicago-area race if I did not see Lynton, and of course, there he was calling my name near the starting line! Seriously, I have seen Lynton at perhaps every single race this year (either spectating or racing). Unbelievable. Anyway, I met Mark H. and Adam stopped by and said hi as well So it was one big happy family. Lynton warned us all beforehand that the course had plenty of ice on it, so we would have to watch our footing.

Miles 1 through 3: Temps were comfortable considering it was in the 30s, perhaps it was the sunshine? Anyway all of the aforementioned people took off ahead of me and I settled into a nice groove somewhere above 7:00/mile. There were several ice patches which we had to navigate around. On the first big hill of the course I caught up to Zoe again and we ran together for about a mile and a half, chatting and chilling. 7:04/mile.

Miles 4 through 6: After mile three, Zoe and I parted ways and I ran somewhat alone through scenic Busse woods, picking off runners here and there. There were a few hairpin turns which afforded me glimpses of Lynton and Adam as they were coming back towards me. I think we passed an Elk pasture. This picture shows kind of what the trail looked like:
The scenic Schaumburg Half course
Also we ran on a few hundred yard stretches of snow covered grass. 6:44/mile.

Miles 7 through 9: I was finally able to see the 1:30 pace group up ahead and thought it would be cool to catch up with them and then hang with them until the finish. I spotted Lauren's husband Mike, but he seemed to be running faster than the 1:30 group and breaking away from them. 6:38/mile.

Miles 10 through 12: I finally caught up with the 1:30 group and tucked in the middle of them. The pace leader asked if any of us were attempting half marathon PRs. One woman in the group said this was her first half marathon! A first timer was running smoothly in the 1:30 group. It took me years of 1:40s and 1:30s to finally break 1:30, so that was cool. Anyway, looking at my Garmin, I knew they were going a little faster than the 1:30 pace (6:52/mile) they needed. So when they finally slowed down to 6:52/mile, I thanked the pacer and took off ahead of the group. Some guy in the group shouted "smart race" to me, because he knew I had been playing it conservatively up until these last 3 miles. 6:37/mile.

Miles 13 and 13.22: I was basically on my own, just picking off runners willy-nilly. The final stretch was downhill, but it was on the snow-covered grass. I started shouting "the finish is on grass?" over and over. For some reason it ticked me off, but I am better now. I think I wanted a faster kick and was slowed down by the snowy grass. Oh well! 6:10/mile.

I crossed the finish line and got my medal about 2 feet later!

Analysis:

Overall: 35/1,620
Age Group: 7/110

Official finishing time was 1:28:47 for a new "Schaumburg Turkey Trot PR" by over a minute! My main goal of finishing sub-1:30 was accomplished. The course was icy, grassy and had lots of turns, so I'll take it.

Post Race:
I picked up my gear and headed back to the finish line. I spotted Lynton who had just set a massive PR. I believe he keeps PRing in Schaumburg. I also spotted Erica fly through the finish line and she came by and said hi.
Me and Erica
I cheered on Zoe near the finish line, then chatted with Lynton and Mark before heading back to the car.
Me, Lynton and Mark
Once I got near the city my "check engine" light came on, so I dropped my car off (with smoke coming out under the hood) at the mechanic and walked/jogged about a mile until I found a cab home! Looks like I'll need a new $150 oil valve.

Conclusion:
Great sunny day, race PR, and another race where I got to see so many race friends!

Next Up: I might run the Jingle Bell 10k in December. If not it will be the epic "It's S-NO-W Fun Run" in January with the Wurst Running Club Ever!

27 comments:

  1. Congrats on your PR! I figured it was a PR, but didn't realize by quite how much... wow! I heard from a lot of people that the course was really icy, which was weird, because last night in my neighborhood most of the ice was long gone!

    I had every intention of coming to cheer for you guys, but Jakre threw his back out like 2 weeks ago, and it's still not any better, so I've been staying closer to home lately.

    Thanks for reminding me to register for S-NO-W Fun!

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    1. Well, it was just a Schaumburg Turkey Trot PR, but I'll take it. Yes, it was very icy in spots. I would try to avoid it when possible, but took risks running over it when I was too lazy to swerve. Sorry to hear about Jakre, I was looking for you in the crowds (2 crowds of about 20 people). Yay, S-NO-W Fun! :)

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  2. Eek, glad you were able to make it mostly home! I ended up running a few miles on the course (near miles 4-5, but the elk pasture) since I had some time to kill while Robert ran. He was not a fan of the grassy parts (which were muddy by the time he hit them).

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    1. Too bad I didn't see you or Robert out there. Sorry to hear the grassy parts were muddy for him. That would have been worse than the snowy/icy grass. At least we all finished unscathed (I hope)! :)

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  3. I had no idea you were running this! I ran the 5k and yes, holy ice patches Batman. Congrats on the awesome and unexpected PR. The best kind!

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    1. Yes, the ice patches weren't too fun. Hopefully no one fell. Thanks!

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  4. Congrats on the PR! Amazing finish time. I was working this morning and I sure would rather have been running!

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    1. Thanks! Yes, running > working. Always!

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  5. Congrats on the course PR! You are on fire DAYUM! Too funny you found a glove to replace your lost glove. One can only hope yours found a good home. You are the king of negative splits... please share your secrets! :) Congrats on another fab run!

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    1. Thanks! I think the key is to be comfortable letting people who you "know" are not as fast as you take off ahead in the first mile or two. Basically force yourself to run slower than you want to. Anyway, once you get back in race shape I could pace you in a race - we will negative split the hell out of it! :)

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  6. Hey nice job! Wow, I don't know what it would be like to even run 1:00 at a 6:00+ pace! I didn't realize you were going to be there! I was there too. Too bad I didn't see you before. Again, great job!

    I also hated running to the finish on the muddy grass (at least it was muddy for the middle of the pack!).

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    1. I didn't realize you were there either, we probably passed each other on the out and back portions! Sorry to hear about the muddy grass, that would have been worse than the snowy wet grass that I dealt with! Congrats on your finish.

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  7. Great job and congrats on the course PR! And thanks for sharing your negative splits tips in the comments - I appreciate reading them.

    Totally LOLing about your glove karma! I am happy you found one! And man, that IS cool that lady was running her first half in the 1:30s! I wonder if she will keep going and get down in the 1:20s? Awesome-o!!!

    I would have been annoyed with that finish on the grass/snow, too. Sigh. Other than that, was the course not too crowded? Did you see the elk? I told a friend running this to watch for them and she said they weren't out?!?!?

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    1. Thanks! Hope those negative splits tips help and thanks for reading them! :) Yes, I had to justify picking up someone else's glove, so I call it glove karma! I googled the woman who ran the sub-1:30 and looks like she is a 24 year old junior college track star! Anyway, I was not able to spot the Elk, Maggie W.did, but they were far enough away she could not snag a pic. Anyway, I guess you decided to run the other turkey trot instead of this one. Maybe you'll consider Schaumburg next year? :)

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    2. Ahh, okay, I figured the elk were out there. And I think you should track that lady on Athlinks and report back :)

      Maybe! I would like to try it someday. Just gotta be in a half mood. I was honestly very surprised I wasn't. And I should not have run that 10K, either!

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    3. I will follow her progress on Athlinks and let you know how she is doing! :)

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  8. You are on fire, Pete! You have perfected the negative split. :)

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    1. Well, maybe in every distance except the marathon! I hope to "perfect" that one in the spring! :)

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  9. Nice job,awesome time! I ran the 5K,and was not expecting those icy areas on the course at all. Hated the final sprint to the finish was in snowy/slushy grass area. Sorry about the car!

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    1. Thanks! Yes, the final sprint left a lot to be desired. Thanks, car is better now! :)

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  10. You always impress me with your smart pacing and negative splits! Thanks for the cheers and pics! I am proud to say that I ran a negative split in this one, too. For once! (Thank you for not including the photo of my butt - LOL!) Great to see you and have your support. Sorry that I missed you intra-race.

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    1. Thanks and congrats to you on your negative splits! Maybe I'll save the butt shot for another blog post entitled "Blogger Butt Shots"! :) I have to look at your upcoming races so we can look for each other intra-race next time we are in the same one. :)

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  11. Congrats on your PR and on another great race! Glad you found another glove to use. And what a bummer about your car. But at least it happened close to home and not on the expressway.

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    1. Thanks! Yes, it was truly luck that I found one, I hope the other person found one as well! Yes, the car thing was a bummer, but it's fixed now and like you said, it happened close to home! :)

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  12. Great job on the PR! I saw you taking a start line selfie and almost said hi, but then it was time to line up. I also thought I saw you on the course a few times just ahead of me, but based on your times, I wasn't running anywhere near your pace. Just to let you know, you had a doppelgänger on the course! ;) I agree about the muddy finish - that was no bueno and definitely cost me some seconds on my finish time. I just don't get why they do that and hope they change it for next year!

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