Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Get Lucky Half Marathon Race Recap

Initially, I wasn't going to do the Get Lucky Half Marathon.  It's run by Team Ortho and they have a horrible reputation with their disorganization.  Granted, some of the races go off with few problems but I hear more negative than positive.  Such as, 2 years ago, I emailed them because the fees were wrong when I tried to register for the Get Lucky race.  They never emailed me back.  So I didn't register. It was only a difference of about $5 but I at least wanted a response.  Anyway, that was 2 years ago. 

This year, Derek decided to sign up for the Get Lucky Half.  I wasn't going to.  But, eh... if I'm going to be there, I might as well run it, right?  Plus they have nice sweater jackets every year so that's a bonus.  And it gave me a reason to train for something instead of slacking on my running (that was my number one reason for registering).

Race morning came. I carpooled with Becky, Carol, and Derek.  The race started in Jackson Park on the South side of the City near the Museum of Science and Industry.  For me, trying to park around that area (or get there in general) is a bit of a pain in the butt.  We got premium parking online a few days before and that definitely helped as we got to park right near the start line!

My goal: To finish under the time I had in December for the Santa Hustle Indy, which was 2:18.  My next goal was to finish under 2:15, because I know I should be able to do that.  My final goal was to average a 10:00 per mile pace, which comes to about 2:11.  (I know, I'm setting that bar high! haha!).  My PR is 2:03 from the 2013 F^3 and I know I'm not in shape to get near that!  I was setting my goals realistically. 

Carpool Group before the race (L-R): Carol, Becky, Me, Derek
The temps were going to be around 30 degrees at the start of the race.  I wore arm sleeves and a long sleeve, with a t-shirt over it.  I wanted 2 layers but I know I run hot and wanted to be able to pull the arm sleeves down if I got too hot.  When I got to the race, I felt perfect!  I was a bit chilly but not too bad.  I lined up with Derek at the 10:00 min pace area.  Derek was planning on running much slower due to lack of training but we lined up and waited together. 

The race started and off we went.  I never looked at the course prior to the race.  We started and it was right at the same area that I started my 50k in November and the same 5 miles as we headed north and turned around to go back south.  That was kind of fun to be on the same course that I ran my 50k. 

Derek and I at the start of the Get Lucky Half
Anyway, going North, the wind was VERY strong.  And it lasted the entire 5 miles!  There were some patches of ice and puddles but honestly not as bad as it could have been. I mean, it snowed on Wednesday and was 50 on Friday.  That would cause for some melting and freezing.  Honestly, if I had to slow down for any of this, it wasn't much and really didn't affect my race. 

At the turnaround (about 5 miles in), the wind was at our backs and therefore, not noticeable.  I instantly heated up.  I pulled down my arm sleeves and pulled up my regular sleeves!  I was not used to feeling warm since it's been so cold!  I was sweating and of course, starting to struggle. I don't know what it is about me that about mile 6 in a half marathon, I mentally want to quit. I'm starting to get tired and would just love to stop and walk (the rest). I saw the mile 6 mile marker and realized I never took Gu at mile 5 like I was supposed to.  I took the Gu, but later found out that the mile 5 and 6 mile markers were switched!  I do remember that during mile 5, I thought I was in mile 6, looked at my watch and was only at mile 5.5!  That's why!  Sneaky people screwing with my race!  Originally I was going to take Gu's at mile 5 and mile 10.  But since I thought I missed mile 5 and thought I took the Gu at mile 6 (which was really mile 5)... I ended up taking them at mile 5 and mile 11.  No big deal but in hindsight, was kind of funny.

Also about mile 5.5, I ran into Teresa from my run group.  She started running with me which actually helped take my mind off of my negativity and kept me running. She said I was keeping her going but you know how that is...I'm not walking because of her, she's not walking because of me.  In mile 6, I saw another girl from the run club, Tracy (also from my wine and book club).  She told me she also wanted to hang with me!  Everyone thinks I'm this "super runner" and that I will keep them going, but all I wanted to do was stop and walk (and give up).  So I definitely appreciated the company from these two! 

We walked through a water stop and I turned around and asked if they were ready to start running.  We started running and I noticed a girl look at me.  Then she started talking to me and running with me, complimenting my shirt, and saying she noticed me before the race. She was super positive and I ran about 3/4 of a mile with her before she stopped to walk.  I really enjoyed her positivity. That's when I noticed I had pulled away from Tracy and Teresa.  I just kept running (this was about mile 9) and felt like the energy from my friends and this stranger lit a fire under my butt. I felt a bit rejuvenated.  Obviously that only lasted for about a mile but it's better than nothing! Ha!

About mile 9.5, they made us run past the finish area (but across the street, since we were still on the lakefront).  I thought that was not very cool to have to see the finish line but really still have almost 4 miles left.  We ran a bit down and came back to just past mile 11.  Then they made us run DIRECTLY past the finish line!  This was awful as there were finished racers just walking on the path and spectators wandering around.  Not to mention running right past the finish line but still have about 2 miles left!

Then we just kind of ran around, we ran around the park and the path was uneven and full of puddles and ice.  That was the worst part of the race and course.  Mile 12-13 was my hardest mile for sure.  My legs were heavy but we still had to watch for puddles, ice, and uneven paths (after seeing the finish line twice).  I even walked for a minute at mile 12.5!  I just couldn't hang! lol.

Finally I was finished. Headed to gear check and then went to the car to meet the others, when they were finished.  One thing I did like is that because the course had several out-and-backs, I did get to see my friends several times on the course.  And that's always fun!

Me, Carol, and Becky post-race

Derek and I post race
 Race Results Mishap:  When they initially posted the race results, my results (and a lot of my friends) were incorrect. They had the chip time and the gun time exactly the same. I remember looking at the clock when we started and saw I was 3:00+ mins behind the gun start.  My garmin said I finished in about 2:13 but my initial results said 2:16 since the chip time was incorrect.  Ok, maybe not a huge deal but that means I didn't beat the 2nd goal I had of a sub 2:15, even though I KNOW I did.  Finally, they "fixed" the chip time.  But mine was still incorrect. It showed I started only 2:15 behind the gun start.  Ok, so my time is still wrong but only off by 1 mins and under 2:15 now (2:14+).  But after speaking to some run friends, I decided to email them anyway. After a couple emails (and proof in the photo above at the start of the race which shows I'm just past the start line and the clock reads 3:20), they finally adjusted my time again and put my chip time 3:15 behind the gun time.  So now, my official time reads 2:13:16.  That is definitely better but really not worth the effort to try to get it straight.

I understand that issues happen and maybe there was a problem with the starting mats.  But if that's the case, then Team Ortho should clue everyone in instead of hide it.  I'm not the only one with starting time issues.  In the end, it wasn't a PR race for me (or even close). I hit 2 out of my 3 goals and I'm ok with that. For now.  Some positives about the race, lots of negatives. For me, the race was "ok". I didn't expect much since I knew it was Team Ortho and that's what I got.  Not to mention that the course was short. My watch came up 13.04 but many of my friends came out at 12.9. Team Ortho says 13.1.  The race is actually a 21K which is 13.04 miles.  But Team Ortho lists it as "half marathon" and "13.1". Frankly, it's just probably not a certified course and is a bit short.  Again, doesn't matter to me as I wasn't trying to PR it. Might make a difference to others that wanted it to be accurate.

As I told my run group... Team Ortho strikes again.  If you are doing a Team Ortho race in the future, I would just expect to not expect much.  The races are ok, the courses are ok.  There are usually some issues.  It is what it is. It's a Team Ortho race.  This was my first one.  And it may be my last one. Time will tell.


  1. Congrats on the finish. I hate those extra sign up fees they add to races at the very end of on-line check-out. When I ran "Get Lucky Half" last year, I think it was $5.50! So instead of the advertised $69.77 it was $75.32. Why??! Anyway, sorry to hear about the timing problem, glad you got is straightened out. I only like that race because it is pretty much perfectly timed for a trial half before Boston.

  2. Yeah I'm not a huge fan of Team Ortho races. And getting to Jackson Park is such a PITA anyway.

    Congrats on the finish! (And that hoodie is really cute too!)