The Short Version: On a no-excuses evening at Soldier Field, I got burned by Eric in the first 50 feet, but still finished 5 seconds faster than 2 weeks ago, in 23:41.
Pre-race: At the last minute, I decided to save myself some headaches and take the Metra in from the suburbs. I had a 7 miler in my pocket for this week, so I figured that running to and from Soldier Field from Ogilvie would take care of that. My train arrived at 5:38pm, and I was off to Soldier Field!
Basically, I dodged commuters forever, getting strange looks because I run funny with my backpack on. (Even though Lululemon no longer sells this backpack, it’s still worth a review! Coming soon!) I got to Grant Park, ran down Columbus next to the fountain, dodged tourists, finally picking up the path and going around the Field Museum to Soldier Field.
Now, the temperature on Wednesday was actually pretty cool, but when I arrived at packet pickup, I was dripping with sweat. Note to self: ALWAYS bring a towel in your backpack! I seriously sweat like a pig. I got my stuff, met up with Eric, and then hung out with him and his friend Courtney until it was time to head for the start corral. Eric said that he would be okay with running a 23:30ish race (basically all I am capable of, speed-wise, at this time), so we lined up together. Then the anthem, and we were OFF!
Mile 1: We cross the start line, and I am with Eric for approximately 50 feet, when he takes off on me and I eat his dust. Whatever, dude. I’m not going to chase you. Mom always said not to chase boys or buses, another one would come along.
So I settle into my pace, not looking at Garmin at all, just focusing on not getting run over by people or dogs or bicycles, etc. I get to the first mile marker, which is early, but I’m not complaining! 7:43 (Garmin had 7:24 when I crossed the mile 1 marker on the course.)
Mile 2: 5Ks are really easy for me, once I remind myself that it will hurt and that I will probably feel like I have to barf. The BEST thing is that the turnaround comes much quicker than it does during a half marathon, because BOOM, I have turned around and am officially on the second half of the course heading towards the tall buildings on this pretty night. 7:43
Mile 3: Enjoy the night, pass some more ladies, repeat. I’m pretty much on auto-pilot and cruising through this one. No problems. I know this course like the back of my hand, and figure I’ll be under 24 minutes without a problem. 7:43
Mile 3.08: Sprint to the finish! (In case you’re wondering, yes, I really did sprint. I wanted to beat my time from the Homestretch for Heroes 5K!) 0:32
FINAL TIME: 23:41
AVERAGE PACE: 8:38
2014 RACE/2014 DISTANCE/OVERALL DISTANCE: 25/7/75
MEDALS/FINISHER AWARDS: Bolo tie medals (really, it’s a shoelace with a piece of metal on it)
RACE SHIRT COLOR: White
NEXT RACE: Mag Mile Women’s Half Marathon, 8.31.2014
Post-race: Eric waited for me in the chute, and we headed into the festival area to get my bag. On our way to pick up our cowboy hats, we ran into Eric’s friends Tiffany and Harry. I read Tiffany’s blog, so it was SO nice to finally meet her in person! Yay! We got our beer, found Courtney again, and spread my blanket out on the grass to enjoy the music… which ended abruptly at one point, and I cannot find it anywhere why this occurred. There is an internet black hole. Help.
Celebrating Eric’s monster PR!
Mmm 312 pale ale… which Untappd claims I never logged? Weirdo.
Once it got pretty dark, I walked with Eric and Courtney for a bit, then ran the rest of the way to Ogilvie. I wolfed down some McDonald’s, then read some more of Mansfield Park on the train ride home. It was a fun little night!
Free cowboy hat, which Santos T. Goat has decided is a boat.