As you know, I decided to go with option C for my race on Sunday. I ran all of my weekly mileage and was going to pray for a PR. The PR didn't happen (more on that in a minute), but Chicago was a blast, the race was hot and bloggy meetups were happening left and right.
I landed in Chicago at 8 a.m. and navigated my way around O'Hare until I found Katye's gate. (not easy since I forgot to ask what airline she was on.) After an hour or so, her flight landed and the two of us attempted to make our way out of the airport. We had been calling Courtney (who picked us up) while we tried to find her car. It was a total mess and after 30 minutes of wandering, we finally found Courtney less than 50 feet from where we originally started looking for her. Go figure.
Once we were settled, Courtney gave us a driving tour of Chicago and we headed to the expo.
And it was fantastic. A little slice of running heaven. Once we picked up our bibs, we headed over to hear the end of Kara Goucher's talk. At the conclusion, Kara signed autographs and took pictures with fans and thanks to Katye (who has a mean hip check), we were the first in line. So very cool.
After meeting Kara, we headed over to the Running Skirts booth, where we proceeded to scavenger through their entire stock. I'm actually pretty certain that we scared the staff. It was hilarious. While we were attempting to take over the Running Skirts empire, Bobbi came up and introduced herself (RNR was her first half).
We all stuck together and explored the rest of the expo before heading out to lunch at Flat Top Grill.
The food was fantastic and our server was awesome.
As we left he shared these well wishes with us, "Good luck in the race. Don't sprain anything."
After lunch, Courtney dropped Katye and me off at the hotel. It was around 4 p.m. and I was 100% ready to go to bed. In fact, Katye and I made a quick trip to the 7-11 across the street, came back and were fast asleep by 7 p.m. Yes, we are that boring.
We woke up at 5 a.m. for the race. I was feeling good. Still a little tired and slightly dehydrated from the day before. We got ready for the race (which included writing my goal paces on my arm) and walked to the start.
There was so much going on, but once we got into our corral we managed to meet up with Courtney.
And before we knew it we were off. The race started with a slight uphill that lead to tunnel. The most stifling and hot tunnel, might I add. And that's where my Garmin freaked. I lost the signal for the first of many times on the course and when it came back the pace was all crazy. Apparently, I was running a 5:53 mile. Not so much.
I hit my first two miles exactly where I was supposed to be, but when the time to speed up came, I just couldn't do it. I was hot and thirsty (I stopped and refilled my handheld (22 oz) four times during the race). And once I hit mile 7 and heard the winner's time being announced, I knew a PR wasn't in the cards. So, I changed my race strategy and switched to option B. I slowed my pace and started to use the race as a training run. It wasn't worth killing myself to not PR. And it was good that I made that choice because by mile 8, I was hit with the runners trots. Four bathroom breaks in the last 5 miles. Not fun.
I finished the race in 2:11:05, exactly a 10:00 pace. After grabbing as much water and Popsicles as I could, Katye and I headed over to meet up with Jamie and Jodi (who introduced herself during mile 3 of the race).
Afterwards, Katye and I headed back to the hotel, ate a fabulous brunch (chocolate and marscarpone stuffed french toast) and relaxed before heading to the airport. The weekend was a blast. An extremely exhausting blast.