So as many of you know I ran my first half marathon this past Sunday, the 13.1 Chicago. Finally, all the training I’d been doing was about to be put to the test. It never really hit me that I was really doing it until about mile 6. I started thinking, as I am wont to do on longer runs, about things and about how this was the longest I had run in a race. And farther than I had ever thought possible. I started to get a little choked up and thought I was going to full-on cry. But I didn’t.
I ran the entire first hour (almost 6 miles), but the second half I started feeling the distance. I took a short walking break at every aid station and drank some water.
Around mile 6.5 the path became a two-way street and we started passing runners on the second leg of the race. I was on the lookout for my race buddy, my bro’s GF, who was gonna be hard to miss with her bright green shirt on. Right at the point where the path split again we saw each other, screamed, and waved frantically. Seeing her gave me a little boost, and as I later found out, gave her a boost as well. It’s great to be an inspiration, isn’t it?
The path turned around between miles 7 and 8, so the second leg was shorter than the first (though it didn’t feel that way).
Around mile 10, walking hurt more than jogging/running did. So I kept running.
Soon (?) the finish corral was in sight. There were spectators and runners alike lined up cheering for us to keep pushing the last bit. (Side note: our bibs had our names on them, so people along the course shouted out things like “Go Melissa!” and “Melissa, you’re doing great!” I think that was awesome and totally lifted my spirits in the last few miles.) And then I finally saw it – the finish line. I couldn’t believe I had actually just run a half marathon. Me. I was the kid in school who dreaded gym class, would cut to the back of the line in kickball, walked the mile because I hated running, formerly 230 lb girl. And she just ran 13.1 miles. I have to say I’m pretty badass.
Some observations: There were 2 girls running with broken arms. One with a short cast, one with a full cast and sling. There was a younger guy running with a yarmulke on his head. I loved that the runner field consisted of people of all ages, shapes, sizes, and colors. In no other sport will you see such diversity. And everyone is supportive of everyone. (Except maybe those elites, they’re running for the $).
Post-race was pretty good too. We all got a slice of Lou Malnati’s deep dish (yum!) and there was live music and lots of shady trees. I didn’t hang around too long, I met up with race buddy and we hit the road. All I could think about was a nice long ice bath and clean clothes.
Here are a couple of race photos, taken at/near the finish line. I think they pretty much sum up how I was feeling at that moment.