Sunday, May 15, 2011

Chicago Spring Half aka soggy windy cold (Race Recap)

1:52:57.7 a new PR by 20 seconds!
34th/266 for AG
107/ 1259 for Women

Wanted to wish Chicago Runner Girl a big Congratulations on her finish in this crazy weather race. She really kicked assphault!

It was a cold, windy, rainy day. It was around 44 degrees at the start with winds 20-30mph gusting to 40mph. The feels like temp was an icy 35 or so degrees. I think the weather scared many of the participants off since there was 3,000 registered  as of last week for the half. Only 2096 people finished.

I was worried the race wouldnt start on time due to the rather large line for packet pickup and bag check.

Me and my fruit smoothie flavored powerbar. It was almost like a rock by the time I got half way done with it because of the cold. I ate it about 45 minutes before the start of the race.

Wore my old faithfuls- The Nike LunaRacer +2. At 6oz, they feel like a pair of cushioned socks. I have the new version, but their design is very different from these. The new ones are more like a 2nd version to the original LunaRacer + and feel much more narrow. I'm still not sure about the new ones- they feel very different from the LunaRacer+2's.

Garbage bags are SO in style! I had on my CEP compression sox, RRS capri leggings, long sleeve tech shirt and Brooks jacket for the race. The brooks jacket is NOT waterproof like I had thought. I ditched the garbage bag at the start.

This Navy ensemble performed the star spangled banner for us. It was a real treat. I was waiting for a flyover, but none came by. :(

The race started on time at 7am. HUGE PLUS since i was convinced they were going to delay it for all those slackers still waiting to get their Bibs. I started with the 1:50 pacer. The start was smooth. I didnt have to dodge too many walkers/ slower runners. After a mile things spread out nicely. (I was worried with a race of 3500 how it would be on the path because it is narrow- but the entire time there was plenty of room) For miles 3-5 some faster people would run by- presumably the people who started way after the gun went off who were still waiting for their bibs. (get to the start earlier next time!!)

I stayed in front of the 1:50 pacer until the turnaround- but was not too far ahead. I was hitting some good miles in the first half and trying to bank some time for the atrocious 2nd half that was to come. It was quite a sight seeing waves crashing 10'+ into the air along the path. The entire first half was run south- which meant a nice tailwind that almost pushed you along.I took a gu gel (jet black berry) around mile 5 and had a hell of a time trying to open it. The wetness combined with the lotion I had on made it nearly impossible to open. If I ever use a gel again, I will have to make a cut in it first before the race to facilitate the opening.
I did the first 7 miles in 56:57 and was feeling great, but I knew what was awaiting me. Before mile 6 I started seeing the lead runners heading back north after the turnaround. I really wish I could have taken some photos of the angst on their faces. Some were shielding their eyes from the rain with their hands- others were squinting. Dios Mio! (Im sure there will be some super heinous photos of me from the race photogs)

The 2nd half went worse than I thought. Most of it was directly into the headwinds. Some parts were sheltered by trees, fences with tarps or just because we weren't running due north for a brief time. The light drizzle combined with 30+ MPH winds felt like little ice pellets being shot at every exposed piece of flesh. They stung when hitting the eyes making you squint. My hands were completely numb and in pain by this time. The wind was so strong I felt like it was pushing me back with each step. I also had trouble breathing with all of the wind being pushed into my face. Around mile 10, I gave up any hope of getting a PR. I walked for 20 seconds because this mile seemed to have no relief from the relentless wind assault.

Mile 11 saw more sheltered areas from the wind and drizzle so I tried picking up the pace and attempted to draft off the other runners. I was feeling good- but trying to keep my 1st half pace was out of the question. By mile 12 I realized if I could push the pace, I might just squeak a PR out. Luckily by this point, the course was more sheltered than before which made it possible. I sprinted to the finish and was relieved to have finished and super happy to have gotten a PR (even if by only 20 seconds) on this rotten weather day. 
My hands were so numb and in pain after the race. My teeth were chattering. I could barely hold on to the FRS drinks they were handing out.

They had a picnic buffet set up after the race. There were eggs with cheese and peppers, tortilla, sausages, potatoes and pancakes. I almost dropped my plate on the way to a table due to the numbness of my hands. I was shivering the entire time I was eating and could not wait to start making the trek back home.

I really enjoy the medal. It is pretty big and has a cool lanyard.

 Stopped at Starbucks on the way home and got a coffee. While walking home, I was shaking so bad the coffee kept spilling out of the cup. When I arrived at home, I immediately got out of my soggy clothes and took a nice soak in the tub to warm up.My lips were blue by the time I got home.

Lunch was turkey breast with lacy swiss on flat breads with bread and butter pickle chips and a Guinness. YUM. 

All in all, I would say this race was well organized. There were plenty of aid stations- usually on both sides of the trail serving gatorade and water. There were also mile markers every mile with a clock- i think one towards the end had blown over. I wish the weather was different- but this is Chicago and the weather is very strange here. It was over 80 degrees just a few days ago! 

Even though I didn't hit my "A" goal of breaking 1:50, I felt I gave it my all. Had the weather been different, Im sure that goal would have been achieved. But, I am still happy with a 20 second PR given the circumstances.



  1. That is some crazy weather to be racing in, and you did so well despite it. Congrats!!

  2. How awesome to PR with everything working against you! Nice work!

  3. congrats on an awesome PR in not so awesome weather! love the medal!

  4. Congrats on the PR! I'm impressed, there was no chance in hell I was getting my PR today. At one point I thought that the wind was going to kill me. I'm glad to know that I wasn't the only one with blue lips and cursing the wind. You're running the Soldier Field 10 mile right?

  5. Wow, those conditions sound terrible! Congrats on simply surviving the race and getting a PR! 30 mph winds and cold rain just sounds brutal!

  6. Nice job! This race sounds crazy. Can't wait to see how you do when the weather isn't blowing your face off! :)

  7. Hi, new follower! Great job on a PR especially with the cold wind and rain! Those kid of races really make you appreciate the ones with perfect weather!

  8. YAY nice work on the PR!!
    I read someone else's post on the race and it the weather sounded like misery!!