The Short Version: Less than a week after finishing the Circular Logic Marathon, I ran a 7:58 first mile and finished my first quarter marathon in a very respectable 54:22 (8:14 pace). Yay instant PRs!
Spoiler alert – I didn’t like this race. Normally, I have no problem with races put on by Special Events Management, but I swear when I signed up for this one, I was promised a medal. While they did mail my packet to me as promised (it’s been sitting in my kitchen for nearly 6 weeks), there were no medals. I got a sticker, but not a medal. The post-race treats consisted of bottled water, bananas, and bagels. That’s it. No Gatorade. For 6+ miles? Not acceptable. I was so salty after the race that I inhaled an entire large McDonald’s fries while waiting for my train to arrive. So yeah, not delivering on what you promised really sucks. I won’t be back.
But I digress…
Pre-race: Long story short, I took the Metra downtown and walked from Ogilvie to Soldier Field. I sat around for a bit before getting brave and taking off my pants (I wore shorts for the race), checked my bag, and headed to the start corrals.
Since I only signed up for this because I knew that I wouldn’t run on my own post-marathon, I planned on running it at my training pace. Whatever that is. So I decided to line up between the 8:00 and 9:00 pace signs. I make my way up there, and I am the ONLY. FREAKING. PERSON. IN. THE. FRONT.
(Side note – there are 2 guys taking photos. One guy has a ginormous umbrella looking flash thing, and they look utterly ridiculous. They took several pictures of me standing by myself, making me feel even more uncomfortable than I was already. NOT COOL.)
So I stand there, in the front, hoping and praying that the fast people arrive and stand in front of me. Nobody comes. The race announcer tells everyone to move forward, so we do. And now I’m in the front of the pack. This is so terrible I don’t even know how to adequately phrase it. OMG. WHY AM I IN THE FRONT??? I’m not even that fast!
No national anthem, just a countdown and then we’re off.
Mile 1: Oh, phew, as soon as the horn went off, people sprint ahead of me. So now I look like that asshole who grossly overestimated how amazing she is. People are passing me left and right. You couldn’t line up in front of me because why, again?
I don’t know why this bothered me so much, but it did. So apparently I channeled all of my frustration into this first mile, because it was the best mile of the day. Also, where did this speed come from?! 7:58
Mile 2: I’ve settled down a little bit and am back into the normal pace that I run when I run by myself. I guess that’s what training pace is? I’m not really sure. I’m the wurst runner ever… I just put on my Brooks, go outside, and run. There is no Step 2. 8:21
Mile 3: Still feeling good, and surprised as hell about it. I felt awful yesterday. And the day before that. And the day before that. What gives? 8:15
Mile 4: Hit the turn and… dammit, a wall of wind. Sigh. We just can’t get away from it. Most people are dressed like there’s 4 feet of snow on the ground, but I am wearing shorts (and tall socks). My only concession to the cool temps is the fleece headband under my Run Happy hat. But that wind. Good grief. Straight out of the north, and into my face for the rest of the race. Tremendous. 8:23
Mile 5: What I wouldn’t give for some Gatorade right now. I might even sell @OrtonPants. (No I wouldn’t, let’s be real.) But the aid stations only have water, so I must press on and hope that Diet Coke magically appears at the finish line. (Spoiler alert, it does not.) 8:18
Mile 6: I pass a whole pack of people on the turns, and then catch a guy and a lady right by the mile marker. She starts to cry. Or wheeze. It was hard to tell. I kind of feel bad, especially since it’s at this point that my legs are getting a little tired and would like to be done. Because we still have almost 3 miles to walk back to Ogilvie. I can’t decide if that was the best idea ever or the wurst. Hmm. 8:23
Mile 6.61: I ran pretty hard for the last half mile, hit the turn amid a crowd of Jesus freaks shouting nonsense and shoving their propaganda in my face. I get that it’s a free country and all, but I do not agree with prosthelytizing in any form.
I ignore them and sprint to the finish. I get caught by the guy I passed earlier, but that’s okay. He nips me at the line, so it’s not like I could have caught him anyway. Quarter marathon is in the books! 4:45
FINAL TIME: 54:22
AVERAGE PACE: 8:14
2014 RACE / 2014 DISTANCE / OVERALL DISTANCE: 11/1/1
MEDALS / FINISHER AWARDS: A sticker.
RACE SHIRT COLOR: Black
NEXT RACE: Egg Shell Shuffle Half Marathon, 4.19.2014