I think that, overall, I picked the perfect half to start off with. It was an inaugural all-women's race. I had registered 20 days earlier and I hadn't really been following a plan or training for a half but I had already been running distance all winter and had placed in a 10k in April. I thought, why not? So I registered... with 20 days to prepare.
The race was mostly lake shore trail but still enjoyable. I lined up at my corral with colorful pink, purple, orange gear everywhere, I could definitely tell this was an all women's race. I lined up at the 8:30 pace corral. The announcer began with a speech, commemorating all the women runners. I thought that it gave the race a special touch, the theme was "Why Do You Run?". And at the end of the race, for the last maybe 2-3ish miles, there was signs on the side of the trail that really made you tear up lol. (Before the race, I wrote "For Myself" on my hand just to keep me going to the end, it worked). I seen girls with stuff written on their shirts like, "For My Mom" or "For my sister" hand written on their backs. Awww..
The water stops were about 1.5 to 2 miles apart, which was convenient. The trail isn't really hilly except at the end, and somewhere near the beginning. There was also a GU station, which I still haven't bothered to try it.
The only downside to a race on the trail, is that it gets really congested in the beginning for about a mile or 2. For me, that was kind of perfect. It kept me from speeding off and starting off too fast. I settled into a comfortable pace the whole time. I remember seeing the first 3 girls already on their way back and feeling relieved. Almost half way there :-) The miles flew by, until I hit mile 9. After that, they started slowing down, by a lot. My legs starting giving out and throughout the entire race, I always stopped at the water stops. I knew that the last water stop was about 0.75 miles or more like a mile from the finish line. So I took my time, and drank water and continued to what was the hardest mile in my life. There was a hill about .2mi from the finish line, stupid hill. A lady collapse nearby me, it looked like she had cramped up going up the hill. Ah. I freaked out a little so I tried going up slower and calmly. After the hill, I saw the finish line and started sprinting. I passed up a few women who looked like the uphill had taken the last of them.
Finishing was the best feeling I had ever felt. I knew all along I could finish but my goal was to finish under 2 hours and I did, with 3 minutes to spare. I will definitely do this race again next year and I definitely recommend any girl to do it too. I will never forget this race. Because the finish line was only the beginning :-)
At the end, the were giving out ice cold towels, bananas, bagels, frozen kefir (?), water and gatorade. The shirt was simple and girly, except I'm not really a fan of sleeveless shirts with a v-neck and more like a tank kinda girl, so when I wore the shirt, it made me look man-ly-ish. It was also in black (the race was in 85-90degree weather, seriously?) I wish it had been neon pink, or atleast white but hopefully they change it next year. The medal was pretty, with the Chicago Women's logo as the design. The only thing that was missing on it, was the date.
June 24, 2012 Chicago Women's Half Marathon (1:57:17) ✓