Actual: positive thoughts despite setbacks, motivated to get back into shape, ran 1:23:45
**please note how amusing my time is considering that I'm a math teacher!!
Summary: It was the PERFECT “winter” day for a ½ marathon. I went out hard to test my body, and was mostly pleased with the result. I got a few super awful blisters (scroll down to mile 9ish to see the pic) that cost me a little time at the end, but provided me with a needed reminder that I need to figure out my feet issues!
Race summary: visit my general race recap on Chicago Athlete's site!
- First, I was obviously super nervous for this race. I was definitely not in great shape as I really took December as a “do what I want when I want” kind of month (as I think anyone should after a season of racing!).
- Second, I was putting way too much pressure on myself. Back in 2013 and 2014, I competed in a LOT of Chicago running races and turned out some of my best performances along the way. I knew I was nowhere NEAR that fitness right now and felt like I’d be a disappointment to everyone who had once cheered me on.
- (a) I’m a triathlete now and “anyone who follows me on social media knows that” – Kristina
- (b) I shouldn’t be in amazing shape right now as it is January – Ryan.
On Thursday night, I began writing a blog about my approach to this season. I never got around to publishing it, but basically I’ve decided my word for 2018 is FEARLESS. I want to go to races, go out hard, maybe blow up, but truly race with no fear of expectations, be it from others or myself. One day, Ryan and I are going to start a family, and I don’t want to look back on my kid-free days and wonder “what if?”
So, when I toed the line on Saturday morning, I was ready to get out of my comfort zone. I knew a few of the other ladies (and guys) racing, and knew that I might go out too hard. I knew that if I went out too hard, I might pay for it later. But I also knew that I needed to make myself uncomfortable.
So I did.
Mile 2 – 6:13. Still felt pretty good here. I went with two guys as I was totally in for having someone block the wind for me, but quickly realized with that 6:14 that they were pulling away and would be too fast. I tried to stay with a friend (running side by side), but that only lasted another mile or so.
Mile 3 – 6:14. Near the end of this mile, I was falling into no-man’s-land. I knew if I went with my friend that it’d be a death march coming home, and also felt that if I maintained this 6:15ish pace, that I’d feel good coming home. So, I found myself solo just under a 5k into the race.
Mile 4 – 6:16. This race was already feeling much more controlled than S-No-W Fun Run two weeks prior, and I was hopeful that my goal of 6:20 pace would become a reality.
Mile 5 – 6:25. Oh yeah. Running totally solo into the wind is a lot of fun, as reflected in my much slower split here.
It was also around this point that we had to go through a bit of mud. The Lakefront Path is getting redone, so we had to hop from the old part of the path onto the new part, going through some mud in the process. I was just glad I didn’t fall!
Mile 6 – 6:27. Normally, this is where my mind would take over and I’d have one of those OH S&*% moments, particularly since my left hip was tight and my right hamstring was flaring up. Instead, I reminded myself that my goal this season is to be FEARLESS, and part of that is pushing through discomfort. Working with Denise at Smith Physical Therapy has helped me come up with strategies to deal with my hamstring when it flares up, so I focused on that and reminded myself that we only had one more real rough mile before we’d get to turn around!
Mile 7 – 6:29. I knew this one would be rough. Fortunately, I could SEE everyone coming back from the turnaround and lit up a bit when I saw Ryan looking labored but strong. I knew he’d be top three, and was hoping he’d be under his goal (spoiler: he was). I also could see one girl that I started out with gaining, but I didn’t let that bother me as I was only focusing on the positives!
Mile 8 – 6:21. I was SO happy to be heading back to the finish! Less wind made a big difference and I was able to relax my body more as well. Plus, the path was getting more packed with runners coming my way and the cheers truly made SUCH a difference. Thanks friends and random strangers!
Mile 10 – 6:29. At this point in the race, there were still plenty of awesome and encouraging runners coming my way, but I also found my brother and sister doing their run on the path! Kristina had told me they were going to be running on the path, but I didn’t know timing wise if we’d truly see each other, so it was REALLY nice to see some familiar faces. They ran behind me, and I probably totally slowed down their run, but it helped knowing I was no longer running totally solo.
Mile 12 – 6:21. About halfway through this mile, a girl passed me. I went from holding 4th the entire race, to ending in 5th within 10minutes of the race ending. I tried going with her as I didn’t feel tired and was determined to end strong, but my feet were just in a world of pain.
Mile 13 – 6:16. I had Nic sprint ahead with Kristina’s phone to take a picture in hopes of having something decent to post for my Chicago Athlete Race Recap, but totally failed with my dying facial expression. At least I won’t question if I was giving it my all!