Well, only one week after the big event that I’m finally sitting down to write about it. I don’t really know what to say about it, except that it was pretty brutal. There were a lot of unanticipated variables, and I can only learn from this first one.
- The way I run is not the same as an organized race: I run on trails, in the woods; I typically run alone; I run silently with a mantra in my mind, attempting to be as present in the moment as possible. Basically the exact opposite of an urban half.
- Maintaining one’s customary diet and habits are essential to a successful and comfortable run: I hardily violated this principle by gorging/stress eating on the drive down to Chicago and the day before the race; by running only once the week before; by drinking Gatorade during the race, by not doing what I normally do. I was physically and emotionally compromised on race day, with a litany of negative and stressed thoughts running through my brain (completely understandable, I think, for my first half). I was nervous and unprepared. I reacted negatively to the Gatorade (my body doesn’t respond well to dyes in foods/bevs), I neglected the nuts and berries I usually eat to fuel myself during the race. Additionally, the race spanned several miles of Lake Shore Drive, where there is very little shade, and the day was somewhat warm.
- After years of practice, I’m still a terrible Debbie Downer when it comes to pushing my limits: As I mentioned, I am so thankful that it was Mic I ran with, because with anyone else I would have been so embarrassed by the stream of disempowering thoughts I emitted the entire 13.1 miles. This is a good indication of the mind chatter to work on. Funny though, because I don’t do this on normal runs.
So, again, all good stuff to know going forward. I am thinking of doing one other race before winter rolls around, just to keep myself moving. I notice a considerable difference in my overall mood and demeanor when I’m running regularly versus when I’m not, I feel so much better when I’m active several days a week.
2011 Chicago Half Marathon Course Map