Chi Town Half Marathon.
I DID IT. The Chi Town Half Marathon is officially complete. Boy, did I forget how much I love racing 13.1 miles in comparison to 26.2 miles. That doesn't take away my love and appreciation for a full marathon, it is one of the most fulfilling feelings to cross the line of a full marathon- but its FUN to cross the line of a half marathon. I think one of the best parts about a half marathon, as a marathon runner, is the ability to push a little harder and know that the distance is a distance that you've covered so many times throughout any of your full marathon training.
I woke up Saturday morning ready for the race and in a fairly confident and excited mood. I felt ready, rested and appropriately nervous. As I stood at the start line I was anxiously considering all of my options. I saw the 1:50:00 pacer right in front of me and decided it was best to start with them and see how I felt, if I felt like it was pushing a bit too much I could always cut back and if I felt like I had more in me I could push forward and pick up the pace. Once I was about 5 miles in I slowly started running ahead of the pace group and felt entirely comfortable. For me, there's always fear in speeding up, fear that I won't be able to keep that pace, that I'll burn out and that I'll regret that I pushed ahead. So I was very careful while beginning to speed up, but as I kept running I just kept feeling strong- I had the energy and the physical ability to continue.
I ended up finishing in 1:48:34, which is a 7 minute personal record!! I wanted to get a PR so badly, and the week before I was so uncertain that it would actually happen. What I think changed that mindset was the realization that I had the ability to push my pace for 13.1 miles if I could run 26.2 miles, and also a very encouraging phone call I had with my dad the night before. He was confident that I could PR even in my worry, and that gave me the confidence I needed for race day.
It was so refreshing to race a half marathon. The entire day was a blast, and I could walk CLOSE to normal after it (kind of.) I had 5 other friends running which made the morning even more fun, just knowing that your people are out on the path with you, even if not by your side, makes the race even better.
Training for the Chi Town Half Marathon and running in such perfect conditions on race day has really put me in a great mindset to enter into marathon training this summer. It was a good reminder of what I can do if I put my mind to it, and how much I appreciate my time out on the path in the early mornings getting the miles in. I am so looking forward to beginning to train for the Chicago Marathon, training starts the first week in June- so for now I'll take in this rest period, keep running, but take it easy.