I woke up that morning to a steady drizzle in Chicago and got worried. It calmed me down that the forecast for Highland Park did not call for rain. The temps however, looked turrible(in your best Charles Barkely voice). It also did not help I had no real way of getting out there. We will skip that part because I am upset about that.
Despite being upset about taking a can to Highland Park, I was happy to arrive. I failed to mention I was nervous about North Shore being my first official half in a while. It is a good thing the cold and wind made me forget about that noise(sarcasm). There was nothing I could do about either, so I got ready to warm-up and did what I could to stay warm.
The benefits of it being a small-ish race is that gear check was very convenient. It also meant I could wait as long as possible to get into my corral.
I had a race plan, but I threw that out the window and decided to race by feel and just go. As the picture above shows, I was not really dressed for a casual Sunday run.
The first few miles of the race were actually pretty nice. I knew it would be hilly, but these were not bad. With half marathons, I break the race down in three parts. I tell myself to get to mile 6, then 10 and then the finish. With the help of my friend Cass over at asweatlife.com and bibrave.com pro, I knew the mile seven would not be too pleasant.
It starts nice enough with a downhill where your legs keep moving even if they do not want to be moving. Then an ugly hill rears its head as soon as you hit the bottom of the hill. It really is a cruel place to have a hill.
On a day like that, I would not be surprised if it ended a lot of racers races. I was determined not to walk it, so I powered through and made it to the top. It felt so good to reach the top of hill. Unfortunately, from mile 7.6 or so-to-10, the wind just kicked my butt. It felt like I was running in place for a long time. As I mentioned earlier, I break the race down in three parts and just told myself to get to mile 10.
The rest was of the race was on pure grit. My body felt like moving, but my legs did not. Despite feeling like that, I kept an even pace and felt really proud of myself for continuing to keep moving. At one point, another runner and I had a conversation about the wind finally being behind us. He sped by me and I wanted to go with him, but I am not sure it would've been a smart move for me. Seeing the finish line of this race made me so happy. I wanted to be done and put some layers on!
The medal is huge
After getting stretched out and grabbing some hot chocolate, I checked my results and was really happy with my time. Of course I saw it and went, "well, if I did this, I might have broken 1:30." I stopped myself and just enjoyed a tough race I ran. Below is the elevation map according to my garmin.