I was up bright and early on Saturday morning. The race started at 7AM at Soldier field which meant I was up at 4:30AM and meeting Jennifer around 5:30AM to catch the red line. We had to wait a bit for the train and when it finally did come it took its sweet time getting down to Roosevelt. It would stop and wait at stations where no one was at or getting on or off. We finally got to Roosevelt around 6:20ish. This gave me about 25 minutes to get to Soldier Field and check my bag before the corrals closed. As we got closer Jennifer kept telling me to just take off and do what I needed to do. I didn't want to rush. I figured I'd drop back a corral if needed. The next wave started only a corral behind mine. We finally got into the stadium and Jennifer went to find a restroom while I hustled down to my gear check which was on the far end. After this I jogged in spurts towards my corral. I got there around 6:47 and luckily I was still let in. About 30 seconds later I saw them close the gate and turn runners back to the next wave. At least my heart was already pumping and ready to go.
After a bit more pre-race announcements honoring the Armed Services we were finally off. I was in corral 3 and we were set loose about 6 minutes after the elites. The first mile was crowded and a bit on the slow side. I wasn't worried. I ran very slow my first 4 miles of the race last year and wanted to follow the same strategy. I even had to use the restroom just as badly as last year since I didn't get a chance to pre-race. As we got to the first aid station I saw a line forming for the bathrooms just as I was approaching them so I figured I would wait until the next station. My body got a sense of urgency and I found myself running faster than planned. If I had kept this up I would destroy my time from last year. I finally got to the next aid station and found a free restroom. I took a wee bit longer here than planned but felt much relieved and was back on my way. I cruised along and made up some time. I was still on pace for last year's time. I figured I could continue making up time as the miles ticked off since I ran so slow the first half last year and had an amazing negative split the second half.
By the time I reached the turnaround I knew my hopes of beating last year's time weren't going to happen. I had run a very strong first half, but my quads had had enough. I should of known they weren't up to the task since I've run 2 half marathons in the prior 3 weeks and didn't have the same conditioning I had last year. The second half of the race turned into a dogfight as I struggled to keep pace with quads that didn't want to cooperate. Soon the heel of my right foot started to ache. I was diagnosed with a fallen arch earlier in the week so I knew it was only a matter of time before it was going to give me trouble as well. I finally coasted into the stadium and across the finish. I finished around 2 1/2 minutes slower than last year and actually ran the same pace as I did for the Chicago Spring Half just 6 days prior. I was tired, dehydrated, and beat up. I didn't stick around for the post race festivities, but instead hobbled home to recover before meeting up with Anne, Erin, and Charlyn at the West Loop Craft Beer Fest.
I don't normally try and draw attention to myself while running. I'm not one to wear a costume or a tutu. The only time I've really done anything is when I put my name on my shirt for the Chicago Marathon. It was definitely encouraging to hear people shout your name the entire race. I decided to have a little fun at Solder Field. I wore an Under Armour Alter Ego shirt with the logo of Batman on it. I'm really glad I did since I had people yelling Go Batman all along the course. That was definitely a boost in the later miles when I was struggling. It was also kind of funny early on in the race when a guy kept trying to take a selfie while running. He kept putting the camera at weird angles and moving around in front of me. I realized he was trying to get me and my shirt in the picture with him. All he needed to do was ask if he wanted a picture with ...