I've gotten hung up on writing a recap of my half and so haven't written at all. There's also been a lot in the rest of my life that's frustrated me and I don't like to write about my frustrations, mostly because I know most things will resolve themselves with time and so why give more permanence or energy to them than they deserve. But that's left me with not much to write about.
Ah, the Chicago Women's Half Marathon... It was a great experience. I really wanted to write a mile-by-mile recap since I was so pleased with how I did and how I went about doing it, but I've realized that I'm just not going to manage to do that. So, some highlights.
I unexpectedly saw one of my favorite running friends before the race started - a magical person who inspires me in so many ways. We don't run together (she's much faster than me) but it was a thrill to see her and spend some time with her.
I had meant to run without music but at the last minute before leaving the house I chickened out and stuffed my tunes into my bag. I just didn't quite believe that I wouldn't need the help in the last miles. But then during gear check I forgot to take them out... And realized about half an hour before the start that I was musicless after all. It felt right.
It was hot, especially the first three miles, and I could feel myself inching towards overheating which seemed just ridiculous given how much longer I was going to have to run. So my mantra became "Rein it in." I'm really proud that I could recognize this, take stock of where I was and what I needed to do still, and adjust properly. Because then I did really well the whole rest of the way - I felt comfortable and was able to maintain a pretty consistent pace over the next five miles.
At mile 8 I was feeling really good (we got some cloud cover) and I thought to myself, "I own this." So I picked things up a wee little bit and felt good about that.
Then we hit mile 10. I mentioned that the first three miles were really hot, no shade, surrounded by concrete on one side and blazing water on the other. Well, those three miles heading out were the same as the last three miles coming back. And mile 10 also marked the longest distance I'd run this year. So there was no way I could continue on as I was. I slowed down. I took an extra walk break. I had more water. And then I just resolved to not walk, even if I couldn't keep up the pace I'd been enjoying. And I didn't. But some of those moments of not walking were truly gutted out.
And then we got to the last mile and I asked my legs if I could ask a bit more of them, and I was able to try to run a bit stronger and then a bit stronger still as we continued to the end and finally ended up running as hard as I could to cross. that. finish. line. I even heard someone on the side shouting "She's actually going to sprint!" and let me tell you, I felt like the badass I aspire to be. Oh, glory.
I finished with my supreme, I-would-barely-admit-it-to-myself, goal of under 12:00 miles (11:59) at 2:37:03.
Afterwards, the usual post-race letdown. Had I really done my first half at a 12:00 minute pace? I ran my marathon two years ago faster than that! I had to work very hard to remember that I had decided to do this race only two months beforehand, when my longest distance was 4 miles. That I finished at all, let alone feeling consistent and strong (and enjoying myself), was due to smart training over those two months and smart running (and walking and eating and hydrating) on that day.
Because what I really want to remember about that day is that I had an incredible time. And I can't wait to do it again.