Race Review: Chi-Town Half Marathon

Half marathon #5 is in the books.

The Kranch. One of my many nicknames (thanks friends).

On paper it was a prime day for a run - slightly overcast and unseasonably warm for Chicago in April (but perfect for running).  The race started at the south end of Lincoln Park, and north along the lake shore path up to Montrose Harbor and back.  The course was relatively flat, aside from the under- and over passes.  A decent amount of spectators lined the course, and even though we were sharing the path with the normal runners and bikers, we didn't come across too much traffic.  My favorite spectators were the lovely people around mile 4 that were handing out cups of beer.

Overall the race was well organized - you knew where you were supposed to line up prior to the race, plenty of portajohns, and stretching room.  I think there was a water station every few miles, and they were all well stocked and well staffed.  After the race, there were lots of staff handing out medals, and a nice size food area.  The start/finish line area was easy enough to reach via the CTA, which was nice too (no shuttle buses needed).

The organizers actually put on a "Chicago Half Marathon Series" with races through out the greater Chicagoland area.  If you run three or more of their six races, you're automatically entered into the series.  You can find more information here - if all of their races are run as well as the Chi Town Half, then I would highly recommend their other ones.

Unfortunately, my knee didn't get the "perfect running day" memo - although I didn't really expect that it would.  As I mention in my injuries post, I was hesitant to do much running for fear of aggravating the situation.  Twinges of pain started right around the completion of Mile One, which wasn't terribly motivating.  I had decided my goal for this race was just to finish, so actually made use of the Pace Runners this time.  They definitely helped keep me at a manageable pace that kept me from pushing my knee too hard too soon.  I ended up running through til Mile 10, fighting the heaviness in the legs.  Walking was actually harder though, so I didn't do much of it.  Thankfully, it was more of a result of the lack of training than knee pain.  It was frustrating not being able to pick up my pace in the last mile - I just physically couldn't move my body any faster.

The trip home was a bit painful - the walking to and from the train, as well as climbing stairs didn't make the knee too happy.  But once the icing, compression, and pain relievers hit things started feeling better.  I have followed through on my promise of resting for 2 weeks though, which has been very challenging, especially with the nice weather we've been having.  Have been sticking mostly to strength work and stationary bike for cardio.  The foam roller has become a part of my daily routine and doesn't elicit the same grimace that it used to.  This week marks the restart of my running program, so fingers crossed that the knee is getting back into fighting shape.