[Disclosure: US Road Sports provided me with a complimentary race entry]
I’ve been training hard for this race. I’ve done a few long runs over the past month, but I must admit that this run snuck up on me. Falling victim to a packed wedding season, I stayed out a little later than I had planned and I had a glass of wine (or two) more than recommended. When my alarm went off at 4:30 am, it took everything in me and a great pep-talk from Boyfriend to pry my body out of bed.
Then I remembered that my clothes were ready, my breakfast was made and my bag was packed. Planning win.
I boarded the shuttle to Jackson Park (you may remember Jackson Park from such events as the Columbian Exposition) at 5:30 am. I had the intention of getting in the zone to the musical stylings of 2 Chainz, but instead I made a bus friend – endurance people are so friendly. It turns out the gentleman that I was sitting next to was the organizer of Skyrise Chicago – a great event that I’m now obviously obsessed with.
Upon getting off the bus, it became apparent that I needed a coffee and quick or I was at risk of napping on Lakeshore Drive. The BEAVER’S Coffee and Donuts truck pulled up. YES. But as the line gathered, I remembered an essential formula: coffee + running = big problems. I pulled a hail mary and I downed one of my packets of GU – the one with the caffeine in it.
As we piled behind the starting line, I started to feel a little bit alive and ready to do this 13.1 mile thing. Just in time.
The weather was perfect for running a great race. Not quite humid enough to keep your sweat from evaporating (which is what keeps your body from cooling off even though you may be sweating like a monster) and overcast enough to keep the sun from heating things up – also someone forgot to wear her SPF. Don’t tell my dermatologist.
The course wound its way through the neighborhood surrounding Jackson Park for about 3 miles before setting us free on the drive, which gave everyone ample room for whatever pace they found themselves settling into. With the exception of two hills (one was an onramp and one was a bridge), the course is almost entirely flat. All those factors helped me to bust out an 8:20 average pace.
(Screenshot courtesy of Nike+ Running)
After finishing, I grabbed a banana and a medal and boarded the bus back to my neighborhood where I would shower and get the other 4 hours of sleep I’d missed the night before. On the bus, I made another set of bus friends, of course. They asked, “Are you a student here?” and I thanked the wrinkle cream and sunscreen gods for apparently transporting my skin back in time.
All in all, a great day.