Chicago weather. Unpredictable. A mess. All four seasons.
Thanks to the weather on Thursday January 18, 2012 the Chicago Polar Dash was rescheduled. The race was pushed back a week because snow was heading our way. The Chicago Police Department said, “NO!” to the race, deeming it unsafe.
At the time, I was a bit angry. The snow was coming on a Thursday. That would give the snow two days to melt & the path to be cleared. Fortunately, I was not traveling for this race. I didn’t have any lodging to re-book & no plans to cancel. The snow came & dusted our sweet city. The conditions were in no way “dangerous” for running & long story short, the race did not need to be cancelled. I won’t go into the details, but people were not happy about it being rescheduled.
That brings us to this week. The week of the rescheduled race. In traditional Chicago fashion, the snow came AGAIN. This time it was something to be concerned about. I left school, with a quick ride & a short walk, to pick up my packet for the race… yes, I walked in all that messy snow. I got my packet, checked with the volunteers that the race was indeed still on despite the conditions, & headed back to school where my car was waiting for me. After a quick stop at Jimmy Johns for a yummy unwich (obviously I needed a meal for the ride ahead of me), I left school at 4:30 p.m. (my commute usually takes an hour in normal rush hour traffic) & got home at 7:30 p.m. Three hours to go 13 miles.. eep!
Now that is something to cancel a race over! They didn’t cancel the race though. I am so glad they didn’t. I was definitely looking forward to the race.
Despite being nervous about running on ice & snow, I woke up at 5:45 a.m. to get ready. My Under Armour tights & Nike cold gear top definitely came in handy! The race also gave each runner a half-zip fleece, of course I wore that! The more layers the better. I decided I needed to carb load & hydrate myself.
I chose a Fiber One Brownie, a whole-wheat pita, 1/2 a cup of Egg Beaters, some uncooked spinach & a pinch of mozzarella. Yummy. I went to Starbucks & had a tall skinny caramel latte for a caffeine kick. Also, I bet not the best in natural food & from experienced runners, but I was working with what I had on this one!
I arrived about 45 minutes early to the race. I headed straight for the port-a-potties… I drank a lot of fluid this morning! Next stop, the warming tent. It was packed, but very toasty. I picked a corner & started to stretch (man, oh, man have I learned a lot about the importance of stretching this past week). After one more stop at the port-a-potties…….. I headed to the starting line. Since I average a 10:40 pace, I started at the 11 minute corral. The cold was actually not too bad with everyone tucked in together.
Then, it started. As soon as the group dispersed the cold hit like a ton of bricks! Of course there was a bottle neck, but I started off the race feeling great. I didn’t sprint, but I went at what was comfortable for me. I had so much fun running through the snow, ice, & puddles. My feet were almost instantly soaked. I never really focused on my feet & within the first half mile my mind began to wonder (a good sign for a runner). Once I got to the lake front (at about 1.5 miles) the wind was blowing & the snow was coming down. Many times I had to clear my fleece (novice mistake, I need some wet gear). The turn around point was at 3.5 miles. Once I came up to the 4 mile mark, I started sprinting ahead of runners that were slower than myself. I definitely had an adrenaline kick & continued to push past runners until the finish. At one point, the half-marathoners were coming back for a second loop & unfortunately it was tight while trying to pass people. One man even punched my side out of the way! It was kind of funny. I don’t blame him. I didn’t mean to cut him off, he was just approaching faster than I could get out of the way.
Finally, the finish line was in sight & I sprinted past the finish. The official results have been posted & I ran my first (official) 1ok in 1:04:12.
I averaged a 10:20 mile… woo! Probably a PR, but I am not exactly sure. I usually average a 10:40. Either way, no matter what the results say (or what “place” I came in), I am extremely happy. I got up. I ran. I finished. & I felt amazing! This run was comfortable & I never felt like I was pushing myself too hard (other than the last two miles where I was sprinting randomly). This, I feel, is an important part of running. Knowing yourself. You have to know when to speed up. When to slow down. When to stop even.
The only major mistake I made was not paying attention to the bottles of water & Gatorade being open. I quickly had extremely wet hands! Live & learn.
Thank you to all my family & friends for the support! I really appreciate it!
Next up… The Shamrock Shuffle!