Race Report: 2009 Chicago Half Marathon

I’ve been slacking on a lot of details and personal administrative issues this year, including race registration. I completely forgot to sign up for the 13.1 (Half) Marathon in the spring, which I had sort of planned to do even though I think that a race that doesn’t know the difference between a half marathon and a full marathon is kind of suspect, and I only signed up for today’s Chicago Half Marathon a couple of weeks ago. I was too late to get into a preferred start corral, even though I think I qualified for one based on my time last year, and paid so little attention that I didn’t notice until after the race was over that the Half appears to have lost its name sponsor from the last several years, Banco Popular. I assume it’s the economy, but I’m stunned that a race with 20,000 entrants couldn’t find anyone to buy the naming rights.

Whatever it’s called, I love this race. I complain about the parking in Hyde Park, sure, but 14 years after leaving the neighborhood I still love going back. The old course, which used to run along the Midway Plaisance through the heart of campus and right past my old dorm, was always a treat; now that the Half has grown into a mega-race in its own right, the organizers have moved it to Lake Shore Drive to give people a little more elbow room.  It’s a treat running on LSD (it’s closed to cars, giving runners 4 lanes in each direction to spread out), but from the turnaround around mile 7.5 to about mile 12 there is no shade at all. Today’s weather was beautiful but a little warm, and those 4-5 miles were brutal.

I started off slow for me, probably running 8:30 or 9:00 minute miles for the first 4 miles because of the crowds, then picked up the pace a little, but was never able to sustain a really fast pace at all. I ran mile 7 in approximately 6:30, and mile 9 in about 7:30, but otherwise just clocked out 8:00 to 8:30 minute miles all the way to the finish. My final chip time was 1:46:36, which was just a little over the 1:45 I was hoping to do.  My training has been spotty this summer, to be generous, so I shouldn’t be surprised that I ran a little slower than last year’s time of 1:45:10, which I managed during a hurricane.

All in all, it was a nice day and a good race, and while I’m blistered and exhausted, I feel pretty good. Since I’m tired, here are some pictures:

The Siren and Unfocused Kids agreed that the cariacture looks nothing like me, and Unfocused Girl drew her own, which she believes is more true to life:

Unfocused Girl's cariacature of Daddy after the race.

Unfocused Girl's cariacature of Daddy after the race.

Unfocused Girl's cariacature of Daddy after the race.

Unfocused Girl's cariacature of Daddy after the race.

My daughter and the professional both caught my essential characteristic: I don’t generally shave on Sunday mornings.

The first time I ran this race was the first year it was produced, 1997.  My time was 2:07:51.  Since then, my times have been:

1997: 2:07:51.

1998: 2:09:34.

1999: 2:05:10.

2000: 2:12:39.

2007: 1:47:39.

2008: 1:45:10.

2009: 1:46:36.

I skipped a lot of years in there, or can’t locate the results on line, and in that time I lost close to 50 pounds, which makes a big difference. My PR for a half marathon is 1:38:35, for the 2007 North Shore Half Marathon, but I don’t see hitting that again anytime soon.

Up next: The World-Wide Festival of Races Half Marathon, a fun virtual race started by Steve Runner of the Phedippidations podcast and his fabulous co-race-directors, the weekend of October 10-11, 2009, and the Men’s Health Urbanathlon, an approximately 11.76 mile race and obstacle course, which I have registered for in the past but never managed to run because of sudden conflicts. If you’re going to be at either of these races, let me know.


9 responses to “Race Report: 2009 Chicago Half Marathon

  1. Congratulations on running the marathon. And there’s certainly no reason to be upset that you were a bit slower this time. Just gives you more motivation for next time. :)

  2. Pretty accurate picture. She may have a future in webcomics!


  3. Good job on the race. I like your daughter’s drawing!

    Jenn said the sun was brutal, too. She has a bit of sunburn now.

    • I completely forgot to put on sunscreen, too, which normally I’m fanatic about. Of course, normally I don’t leave the house for my long run at 6am, so it’s not entirely surprising that I’d forget something. What time did Jenn have to leave for the race, 5:30?

  4. Pingback: Running Update and World Wide Half Marathon Race Report. « The Unfocused Life

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