Goals For the Race
I signed up for this race when I was reviewing my training plan for the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon, since it fell on one of the weekends when I was scheduled to do a 12-mile race pace run. During my buildup to the Chicago marathon, I subbed out half-marathons for these pretty frequently, and it ended up working out well. The way I look at it, I have about a 1000% greater chance of hitting my marathon race pace in a race environment than on a neighborhood road by myself.
In a couple of weeks, I'm going to run a half-marathon in this fashion, and I am going to attempt to actually hold back and run the race as a training run. For the Get Lucky and for some other races in the past, however, I have used my marathon race pace as a base not to fall below, and have treated it like a glorified tempo run with a medal at the end. My philosophy: If the race is a success, perhaps my eventual marathon race pace will be faster!
|Bling for a workout? Yes, please! Image found here.|
Races are always more fun with friends, especially when one does not relish city driving. After I signed up for the race, one of my best running friends, Wendy of Taking the Long Way Home, decided to sign up as well. As a bonus, she also offered to drive the two of us to the race! We carpooled to a race together last summer and it was tons of fun, so I jumped at the chance for another road trip with her.
There was a wee bit of uncertainty in the weeks prior to the race, since we found out through the grapevine (and later by e-mail) that the race start was being moved from Jackson Park (on the south side of the city near Hyde Park) to Soldier Field. I had pre-paid for a parking space near the old start line, so that was a bit of a bummer, but luckily the race allowed us to pre-pay for spot in the Soldier Field garage, as well. One of my least favorite aspects of races is parking-spot jockeying, and the ability to reserve would allow us to sleep in a tiny bit later!
Even with the reserved parking, I was at Wendy's house at 6:30 for the drive down to the race. I was fairly confident in my decision to wear a tank and shorts for the race, but staying warm prior to the race was a potential challenge. Just in case, I brought my Yellow Tote Bag of Warm Weather Accessories (stored in my car at all times for last-minute layering), and wore some throwaway sweatpants and a zip-up jacket.
|The tank top was neon green, you'll just have to take my word for it!|
What a smart cookie she is; we found Karen and her friends right next to a wonderfully toasty space heater! It was great to chat with her, as well as meet some of her friends who are also running the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon!
|Karen, Wendy, and myself (still too chicken to shed my throwaway clothes)|
|Start line pic, my arm warmers still intact. Dang, my legs are kinda muscle-y! Swiped from the Get Lucky Facebook Page.|
|The Lakefront Path on race day, swiped from the Get Lucky Facebook Page. It could be a lot worse!|
The pace group worked great for the first few miles, and my splits were in the 7:40s. At around Mile 5, a girl and her friend/boyfriend pulled into our pack. Ironman Guy was beginning to slow down, so I hitched myself to their wagon. Unfortunately, they were going exactly my pace, which made it a bit awkward when trying to navigate the path, since the fasties were now coming back the other direction. We were passing Hyde Park, and as has become tradition, I gave the peace-sign to my old apartment building where I lived during Law School.
I passed Just My Pace Girl as the turnaround approached. I think I might have made her a little upset. Shortly thereafter, the girl reminded me why I generally hate pace groups, as she took off like she strapped a rocket to her back. I knew I couldn't hang with her, and I was left muttering forlornly (in my head): "I thought we had an agreement..."
Worryingly, (No Longer) Just My Pace Girl was not the only one leaving me behind, as I was now heading into the wind and my pace was slowing. Mile 7 was my slowest of the race at 8:02. I pulled it together for a 7:50 Mile 8, only to be hit with the double-whammy of 8:01 and 8:00 for Miles 9 and 10. My PR cushion was melting away with every mile.
Even though I had vowed not to stress about hitting a PR, I was very upset to see it slipping from my grasp. It is one thing to start the race and have a sense that this isn't your day; it is another thing to be on PR pace for over half the race and not end up with one. I knew there was only so much I could do as my legs could only move so fast, but as Soldier Field started getting closer and I could smell the finish line, I resolved to dig as deep as I could. My Mile 12 split was finally back on pace, but would it be enough? I managed a 7:38/mile "sprint" for the final .18.
The clock at the finish line was reassuring, but I quickly pulled out my phone to check the online results. A nine-second PR. I was happy, of course, but a tad disappointed that I hadn't pulled off something more magical.
Final Time: 1:43:27 (9-second PR) (7:54 average pace)
Age Group Place (40-49): 9/124 (Man, this age group is rough!)
Gender Place: 36/474
Overall Place: 111/771
|Post-race selfie with my pretty bling!|
I headed to the warming tent to see if I could find my throwaway pants that I had stashed under a table. Happily, they were still there, as I was cooling off rapidly! It wasn't long before I got a text from Wendy, who had scored a massive PR, as well as second in her age group! There was much celebrating and photo-taking.
After confirming that there wasn't an award ceremony, we high-tailed it to the car before frostbite set in. Okay, that is a bit of hyperbole, but it was still quite chilly! The ride home was full of happy chatter at how well-run the race had been (both by the organizers and the two of us)!
What Does It All Mean?
Now that I have had the benefit of a few weeks to process the result, I am more than satisfied with my time. If I had run my January race in an outdoor environment (and had the most-likely-slower time to show for it), my PR would likely have been bigger. I did as well as I could have hoped, given my level of fitness on March 14. Does that mean I am satisfied? Heck, no! My next race is the Chi-Town Half Marathon on April 4th, and I hope to chip away further at this time. Stay tuned. Onward and upward!