With a rocky start to my morning, I ended up doing ‘well’ at the Fitness for America Half Marathon today. But better back up a bit… I practically stayed up awake in bed most of the night. I went to bed early but was wide awake until a couple hours before I planned to get up. It’s one of my big fears before a race -- not getting enough sleep, and it happened again. Need to do some research on that. Alarm went off at 4 a.m. (I had to do a number of things before I could leave, like take the dogs out, etc., drive out to Hoffman Estates). After a cup of coffee I was doing better. Finally got on the road at about 5:25 a.m., and wouldn’t you know it, I-90 was backed up as soon as I got on. Wasn’t expecting that on a Saturday morning. The heavy rains over the night had flooded parts of the highway. There were cars off to the sides of the road, and I couldn’t initially understand why they were just sitting there. …Until I got to a section of road where cars were passing through the middle single file in order to avoid the deepest parts of a new pond on I-90. I drove through of course, feeling fortunate for once (not the best on gas mileage) to have a little higher-sitting SUV, and drove slowly through the water, coming out on the other side ready to floor it. There was another section of road that had flooded but it was not nearly as bad. Finally I was on my way again, and a half hour behind schedule, but still plenty of time before the race, which had a start time of 7:30 -- I had been annoyed it was such a late start considering it is mid-July, but given the driving conditions, I was now happy about that. Arrived at the race site by 6:30 a.m., picked up my packet, finished my routine, and got ready for the race.
I had been anticipating a very warm and muggy day over the past week, but come race day it was in the lower 70’s and raining. Of course it was humid, but the cooler air was welcome, and the rain didn’t really bother me. So, instead of thinking I’d go slow and simply try to hit my target of 1:35:59, I decided (not entirely thinking it through) I’d try to hang with the 1:30 pace group and see how I fare. I knew I could always drop off if it was too much. So after the start, I did exactly that. It went pretty well, I was hanging tight with the group, but by the halfway mark I was fatigued and ready to cut it back. I did pretty much the rest of the race in solitude. With about 520 or so runners spread over 13 miles it was pretty quiet in some parts, especially winding through some paths of the Paul Douglas Forest Preserve. The second half was needless to say, much slower than the first and I was again only trying to hit 1:35 or faster. I finished in 1:34:42, which was all I set out to do. In the end, it was a new official PR for me and I made the Chicago Marathon Corral B cutoff time (my main reason for doing the run). My left foot had been hurting a bit through the run, but made it through okay. The course was a little different than what I was used to, somewhat hilly and winding through a corporate complex and nature preserve in the burbs, but it was a pretty fun race overall. I even saw a mouse and, I think, a crawdad arms raised in the air along the route. Very odd.
I feel fortunate that I arrived sufficiently early. And I’m happy about the run overall. I ended up 4th in my age group, which isn’t too bad.