My third half marathon also happened to take place in Chicago, Illinois only a few months later in September of 2013. I had just started working with a running coach myself, because I decided to sign up for my first full marathon (April 2014) and had no idea how to train for that many miles! It was a great experience learning more about different types of speed workout and how to safely add mileage. My co-worker Carrie and I picked a women's only race with a much different course than then Run Rock'N'Roll race in July.
This half marathon started on a sidewalk in Grant Park. There were signs for paces but no one was regulating where people were standing. The first mile or so was a mess since we were on sidewalks with one side having a fence to the park and the other being the busy streets of downtown Chicago! After one loop around the park we ran on the trail next to the lake. We headed north to a breakwater and then right back south on the same trail past the Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum and Soldier Field. Our turnaround point was in Burnham park, and we ran the same course backwards to the finish.
The course was very flat and fast and we had a perfect weather day.
This was one of the first races that Thayne, my husband, was able to spectate at multiple places. I know he saw the start, traveled to the other side of the park to see me around mile 1.5, and mile 3ish. Then he'd have a long wait until mile 10. I remember passing him as he was sitting on a bench chatting with an elderly couple. I said hi and he said something along the lines of "You aren't supposed to be here yet! I wasn't expecting you for about 5 more minutes!" Then he jumped up to head towards the finish line!
One big downfall of this race was the course being so busy! There happened to be another race that day, plus a Chicago Marathon training run with a large group of people. Since it was on public trails and not blocked there were also many bikers to dodge. I passed a woman around mile 11 who was very frustrated. She ran with me for about a quarter mile to explain she was in second place overall and then got lost. She had already ran 13 miles according to her watch, with two left in the race! She decided to turn it into a training run instead of quitting.
I kept going while she slowed back down to her training run pace. Turning the corner to the finish was great! I was tired! Apparently having a coach for only a few weeks had already paid off! I again pr'd and ran 1:52:35 (8:36 average) and got 6th in my age group! I'd now ran three half marathons, bettering my time each race!
The race day swag at the Women Rock races was pretty sweet. Not only did we receive the standard finisher's medal, we also go a diamond necklace, glass of champagne in a glass we could take home, socks, and got to choose between a jacket (which I'm wearing) or pair of shorts (which Carrie is wearing).
I've also heard the race director has changed the course to help race traffic stay away from bikers, training runs, etc. Despite that snafoo, it was a great race on a beautiful day!
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