I said this time would be different. I would actually train for the Chicago Half Marathon on Sept. 29 consistently and feel prepared heading into it. I was on track for the most part until about two weeks ago when I got a cold. Then I had a headache almost every day that week. I didn’t work out at all that week, and I missed my longest scheduled training run of 14 miles. The next week was stressful personally, and I missed those planned training runs, too. In the week before the race I only ran once for a short time on a treadmill and went to a yoga class. Still, there was no way I was backing out of this half-marathon.
On the day before the race I went to the expo to pick up my packet. It’s been held at the Roosevelt Collection shops for at least the last two years now. It’s a nice shopping center, but I don’t enjoy having to go to three different locations within the center for my bib, shirt and goodie bag, and parking validation. Parking at the center is free for two hours with validation at Fleet Feet. In the past I’ve used this as an opportunity to pick up running chews or gels.
The forecast for Sunday’s half called for lots of rain, which made me nervous. I was unsure what to wear; would it be cold rain or feel warm? I opted for black leggings and a tank, and I wore a long-sleeve giveaway shirt on top of it temporarily. I also put on a hat that was a freebie from the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon in 2015. I didn’t know if I should bring my Beats Solo3 headphones (would they get ruined in the rain?), but I ended up taking them because I couldn’t find any other headphones before I had to leave the house at 4:30 a.m. that morning.
As a Lifetime Fitness member, I was able to take their shuttle to the race from my gym. It was a much nicer and more comfortable shuttle than the school buses normally used for the race. We arrived at Jackson Park a little before 6 a.m. and it was pouring. The grass where the members’ tent was located was muddy at this point and our shoes and socks were getting soaked with every step. I then realized I should have brought extra socks to change into at the start line, but I guess those too would have gotten wet eventually. The members had access to portable restrooms that no one else could use, which was also nice. (We had to show our member cards or app.) Some people brought rain boots and then gear-checked them, which was smart except it continued to rain so they probably got their socks wet, too.
The race started on time at 7 and the rain happened to calm down for a bit. It was a nice break. We were warned about about puddles to avoid, so I decided to just take it easy and try not to slip. I was also worried about blisters. Luckily I had no problem with either.
Once it began raining again the rainfall continued for the entire race. I just accepted it and tried to not stop jogging. I succeeded in that, at least. My finish time was probably my slowest ever. I’ve also accepted that I am not as fast as I once was. Back then I was trying to break 2 hours and now I can’t even break 2:30. But what really matters is that I kept my commitment to myself and didn’t back out. Every time I wake up at 3 a.m. on race morning I say I won’t do another, but somehow by the end I want to do it again.
I didn’t get a post-race medal photo because I was over the mud and rain by then. Graham picked me up and I left immediately after grabbing my free post-race pizze slice.
Overall this was another positive experience running the Chicago Half. I always appreciate the encouragement along the course, and the medals are the best I’ve ever seen. (And the largest!)
Have you run the Chicago Half? I highly recommend this race if you plan to visit the city or if you live in the area.
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Marette Flora is the founder of Floradise blog and personalized gift shop. Marette is a passionate storyteller and creator. She attended the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University and obtained a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication.
She is passionate about creating helpful and meaningful things.