Happy Monday friends! Over the weekend I decided to update the blog layout a little, what do you guys think? And secondly, thanks to one of Mattie’s post I decided to join BlogLovin’ it’s so genius to have all the blogs you read in one place. I’m so new to it, I’d love any tips you guys have. You can follow us here or by clicking on our bloglovin’ graphic on the sidebar.
Last week I went home to Chicago for a few days from Thursday July 16-Monday July 20th. Later this week I’ll do a full recap of the trip, but I thought I’d start with the half marathon I ran on Sunday with one of my best friends. This was our second time running the half marathon, last time we did it was July 2013. Since then we’ve also run a full marathon in Hawaii last December (something I still have to blog about!)
The race started at 6:30am but I woke up at 4am because my cousin Zack and running coach, told me to eat two pieces of toast and a banana 3 hours before the race to give my stomach time to digest. So I was up at the crack of dawn while it was still dark out. Dave drove over to my parent’s house at 5:15am and we took off for downtown. The streets were blocked off but we luckily found parking in a lot for $30 for all day.
For those of you who know Chicago, or are just curious, here is the route we took.We started walking over to Grant Park and met up with Melissa (one of my best friends who ran the half with me) and her boyfriend Nico. We all went to the bathroom before the race started and started walking over the starting line. I took a before picture with my dad and stepmom. I was born and raised in Illinois and we are Chicago Bears fans but my dad loves wearing jerseys and just happened to pick a Green Bay Packers jersey today, made me laugh. He said he felt some people giving him looks. 🙂
Like I said, I ran a half and a full marathon before, but this one was special to me because my parents came to support me and it meant a lot! Here we are around 6:30am waiting for the start line. It was already a little humid at this point. For those of you who don’t know, when you sign up, you predict your finish time and then they put your in corrals (like a cow) and you wait in the group to start. So the crazies who finish in an hour/hour and a half start way ahead of us normal folk. This time and in 2013, it took about a half hour to get to the actual starting line because it’s literally thousands of people running. 22,000 this year to be exact.
Another thing to notice is on our shoes, we have little red tags. That tracks our time when we hit certain check points and logs our final time.
My boyfriend Dave is a cinematographer/camera operator/director of photography who works on TV for major networks like Discovery, Animal Planet, and National Geographic, so it’s pretty awesome to have my own personal photographer for the race. 🙂 His pictures are always amazing but this one has got to be my favorite! I need to frame this one. I love the Chicago theater sign and this picture just makes me happy.
Most races I do I usually spot a few people dressed up, this guy was dressed as Elvis obviously, but the crazier thing to me is that he’s not wearing any shoes! That has gotta hurt.
I know I say it all the time, but come on, Chicago is gorgeous!
Our blurry action shot, check out those guns (not really!)
The first 7 miles we felt great. We were talking almost the entire time, which is new to me since I train by myself. It was so nice to catch up and take in the streets of Chicago. Made me miss home a lot more actually. But then it started to get hot and really humid. We really looked forward to the water stations. We had to stop and make a bathroom break, which took about 10 or 15 minutes! Which got added to our time. And of course a few feet ahead of us was a whole row of porta potties. (We waited in line for two.)
There was a section of the race where we overlapped and had to turn a corner. It was really fun and motivating to high five the other runners and encourage one another to finish strong. That’s always one of my favorite parts of the race day environment. How positive and supportive everyone is. 🙂 I keep telling myself one of these days I’m going to go to a half or a full marathon and just cheer on random strangers.
I also started to get stomach cramps toward the end like around mile 11, so we had to walk a little (which I didn’t do for the first half) anyways even though it got a little hot towards the end we were SO happy to be done and finished strong sprinting in. My favorite way to finish a race!
I also love the runner swag we get at the finish line. They had bananas, chocolate milk, beer, bagels, and popsicles!
Because I had my phone on me the entire time, I was able to text Dave and my parents my whereabouts so we had no trouble meeting up at the end of the race. And that’s also how Dave was able to catch us at so many different points throughout the race. We met up 4 different times, it was so motivating and uplifting to see him. 🙂
Here is our after picture with my shiny new medal and the Buckingham Fountain in full effect.
Melissa and I have been best friends for 10 years this August. We met our freshmen year in college and have been close ever since despite me moving to Washington DC and California. She’s been my running buddy through the 5k Color Run, the 2013 Chicago Rock n Roll Half Marathon, 2014 Honolulu Marathon, and now the 2015 Chicago Rock n Roll Half Marathon. We volunteered for the Chicago Marathon while we were in college years ago and ever since then wanted to finish a full marathon and now we have. It’s been an awesome journey running with her and whether we retire our running shoes or run again next year is still to be determined. 🙂
For all you fellow runners in the blogging world, you know what the high of running and finishing a major race feels like.
For people who want to run a half or a full or some distance in between for the first time, YOU CAN DO IT! Just stick to a training plan and be consistent. And I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have, leave me a comment
And for people who don’t like to run and think we are crazy, we probably are. 🙂
And for Monday I’m linking up with: Meghan @ Champagne + Suburbs, RunningnReading, Marvelous in My Monday and