Race Recap: ChiTown Half Marathon – April 9th

On Saturday, April 9th I ran the worst half marathon I’ve ever run. I had pretty high expectations. Spring is supposed to mean decent running weather right? But when you live in Chicago it also could mean snow. Unfortunately, snow is what we got.

It snowed/sleeted on Friday night and coated the ground in a sheet of ice. Perfect to run on!! (Not). I’m normally a positive person and can find good in bad situations, but this race was just bad for me. I was actually angry the whole race.

I really had no goals for this race except for to enjoy it. Carly’s goal was to PR and break two hours. At the start line in the balmy 25 degree weather it was maybe still a possibility. The race start was delayed about 35 minutes…probably because people were starting out so slow? The whole thing seemed pretty unorganized.

The first step (or slide) across the start line changed the goal of the race to “don’t fall.” The ice was ridiculous. And there are few things I hate more than running on ice. I’m not coordinated and I do not fall gracefully. Ice doesn’t work for me. I will run on snow. I will run in rain. I will run in mud. I will run in wind. But I HATE running on ice. Especially 13.1 miles of ice.

The race was overly crowded too. Mostly, people were going so slow and were hard to get around because of the ice, but it still seemed like too many runners for the path. At around mile 2 Carly wiped out when I stopped to think about how to get around a huge patch of ice…(she didn’t stop). So, the new goal was “just finish.”

I was so concentrated on not falling that I wasn’t paying any attention the time or the miles. That was the only good thing about the ice I guess. It was a distraction. I fell once. And almost fell about 18 other times. I saw a girl twist her ankle in front of me. I saw at least 25 people fall around me. It was down right dangerous, but runners are determined people who refuse to let horrible race conditions keep them from getting that finishers medal.

I wanted to turn at the 10K turn so badly. I didn’t care about running the half. I was so worried about getting injured that it didn’t seem worth it, but at the turn around Carly was too far ahead of me to tell her I was going to turn and I didn’t want her out in this awful race alone, so I kept going.

I actually yelled “I’M SO OVER THIS” out-loud at least ten times. I was not enjoying myself. At all. And I can’t say I’ve ever not enjoyed at least part of a race before. This was a first, but man ice and I are not friends.

At least Carly and I had each other because I would have stopped running and gone home countless times during the race if I had been alone.

We finished in 2 hours and 8 minutes. 9:47 pace. Honestly the time wasn’t bad for the falls and the walking I did. We were so cold and so annoyed that we didn’t even redeem our pizza and beer tickets. That’s how you know it’s bad. (We faked smiles for one photo, see below.) 

The medal was pretty cool. And I love the quarter zip we got for racing, but besides that the race was an overall failure. I didn’t even smile across the finish line and I love finish lines. I know this wasn’t the race organizers fault, it was Mother Nature’s, but I was still mad.

Jen was smart and did the 10K and I wish I had made the same decision. We were too cold to wait and take a photo at the race, but we snapped a quick one before brunch. Here’s hoping the rest of our 2016 races are not this cold or icy. 

At least it was another 13.1 miles done. It was half marathon number 17 for me. And that’s pretty cool. Let’s hope my next half in two weeks will actually be in Spring weather because if it snows and leaves the race path as an ice rink again I will not be at that start line.

4 months down, 8 to go!