I almost didn’t sign up for the Chicago Spring Half Marathon. I didn’t know if I’d be home. I didn’t know if I’d even be living here still. Our Chicago life was only ever meant to be a year. So as soon as I knew it was safe, I signed up. And I am so, so glad I did. This perfect year in my favorite city started with the Chicago Half back in September, so it was only fitting that it would end with the Spring race.
Since I am running SeaWheeze in August, and I only finished Disney in January, I didn’t want to push for my sub-2 hour goal for this race. I just wanted to have fun. And say goodbye to my city. This was the last race that I will run as a local here, and since the race started near home and went South along the Lakefront, I knew it was the perfect way to leave.
Somehow I ended up in Corral D with all the 8 minute milers. It was so hard to slow things down so I wouldn’t burn out. Thankfully, the spacing between the corals was perfect, and I settled into a slightly uncomfortable pace between the crowds on the tiny trail. We started just south of Navy Pier. Then wound past Millenium Park. Michigan Avenue. Shedd Aquarium. Soldier Field. Even McCormick Place was bittersweet to pass.
At the turnaround, the 2:00 hour pacer snuck around me. I was shocked I had even been ahead of them for so long. Briefly thought about keeping up with them. But I knew I wasn’t quite ready, so I let them go. I ended up finishing a good bit behind them, but still with a PR at 2:08:00 even. 4 minutes faster than 3M two years ago.
Watermelon and brunch at the finish. I was dying of heat when I finished from the blazing sun (despite the fairly cool 65 degree temps) so I was so happy to see watermelon. Seriously the best post race food ever.
Thanks, Chicago, for the awesome year of racing and living. Now if only we could figure out what is next…