|Pretty awesome finishers medal|
I did a good job training for the Rock ' n Roll Chicago Half Marathon [read: I mostly stuck to a plan], but after that race (on August 14), I slacked off a bit. I ran 32 miles total during the 4 weeks between the half and today's race. Because the following weekend I went to Detroit to visit college friends, and then the weekend after that The Sailor and I moved (to my parents house). The weekend after that (Labor Day weekend), I did my only run over 5 miles between the half and today's race. And it wasn't even that long - 8 miles. And that brings us to this weekend.
Maybe I had fresher legs today or maybe (this is more likely), I allowed myself to push a little harder, but I had a much better showing today. For the RnR Half, I tried to keep my heart rate in the 150s, even though I knew I should be able to do a half in the 160s. I guess I just wanted to take it slow and easy and finish strong with that race, knowing I had two more longer races in the following months that I could push if I felt comfortable with it. Also I was still getting used to focusing on my heart rate (and not my pace) during running. Anyway, knowing how great I felt after the half, today I went for it and kept my heart rate in the 160s and it felt great.
The weather was perfect. Around 60 degrees at start time, and the first 7.5 miles of the course (10 NM = 11.5 standard miles) were on a shaded bike path. Because the race was point-to-point, we parked at Great Lakes and were shuttled to the start line at Fort Sheridan. Unfortunately there was a huge traffic back-up getting onto the base (should have seen that coming knowing what it was like getting on base for The Sailor's pass-in-review aka boot camp graduation). It didn't help that our shuttle bus driver didn't know her way around Fort Sheridan, so we got dropped off at 7:01am (race time was supposed to be 7am) and as we were walking with our busmates to the start, we realized we were actually on the course. (Made sure to walk around and not over the mats at the start line just in case.) Luckily they held the start of the race until the last bus arrived (I think there were one or two more after our bus), but we were still in the port-a-potty line when the race started. We ended up starting about 5 minutes later. But, the nice thing about that was the bike path we ran on was kind of narrow, and because we started after the majority, we didn't experience any course congestion (although I don't know if anyone did - haven't seen any complaints about it on the event's FB page).
The course support was awesome. Water and gatorade every 1.5 miles, but, even better, lots of soldiers in uniform doing traffic control. Being called "ma'am," especially by someone [OK, a cute youngish man] in uniform never gets old.
Just past mile 8, the course entered Great Lakes (running through the main gate was pretty cool), and the last 3.5 miles followed the 3 NM course (that race started around the same time and was completely on the base).
|That 4-mile downhill might have also contributed |
to why today's race went so well.
The Sailor and I started the race together, but he took a slightly faster pace (I think he always pushes himself during workouts like he's still in boot camp). I caught up with him around mile 10.5 (right before the uphill) and we stayed together. We made the last turn and saw the Finish ... and (no surprise since we've raced together before), he started sprinting and I kept up with him, and I think there was some (sweet) trash-talking from him.
I crossed the finish line first (according to our official times, two seconds before him), and he claims he didn't let me win. So, personal victory. Although I suspect he did let me win because, well, sailors are very polite (to civilians).
Post-race, they had cheese sticks!!! I love cheese, especially after a run, so that was pretty exciting. They also had the usual water and bananas, and many varieties of pop chips, and some vendors giving out free samples - including more cheese from a Vermont cheese company. But then my body told me to stop eating cheese, and I listened. I'm guessing the fancy Vermont cheese had real milk in it. Moving on ...
The race was an automatic PR because I've never raced this distance, but this was my best longer-distance race. So I'm pretty proud of myself!! My pace was almost a minute and a half faster than my pace for the RnR Half last month.
In addition to the great finishers medals, we got nice tech pullovers. Lightweight, so they will be great in the fall. Not bad considering the race was was $20 for The Sailor and $30 for me (special pricing for reservist/dependents).
My time: 1:58:44; pace 10:20
The Sailor: 1:58:46
My place: 499/784