I was fortunate enough to win a room at the host hotel for the night before the race. This was great as I would be able to wake up about 1 hour later than I normally would have. I headed to the hotel after work on Friday to check in and pick up my packet and several others.
|The squigly hotel is the one I was staying at. Radisson Blu.|
|Part of the lobby|
|I don't get out much. I needed to take a selfie in the hotel robe.|
|Zooma Ambassadors (L-R: Zenaida, Kelly, Meghan, Me, Laima)|
I came across the first couple aid stations and noticed how short the table was which made it difficult to get over all at the same time to grab water from such a small station. At least there was water so just a small annoyance. Right after mile 3, the course turned to go back the other direction. I had looked at the course map prior to the race and was aware of this. I kind of liked the change as I felt it broke up the race a bit. Also some time after mile 3, I ran into Emily and ran for several miles with her (maybe 3-4 miles). After getting a side cramp that I couldn't seem to run through, I told Emily I was going to stop and try to walk it out. It was about mile 8 at this point.
While running to the last turn around about mile 10, I noticed the lack of water in the second half. Luckily there were a few water fountains on the course and we were able to drink from those. However, between miles 8-12 (approximately), there were no water fountains and no aid stations! The sun was blaring at that point and looking around me, I knew everyone was feeling it. When I got to the mile 10 turnaround, a woman next to me yelled, "UGH! I NEED WATER!" I said something back to her and she told me that she was sure that there would be water at the turnaround. I thought so too but there wasn't. I just kept trudging along until I finally got back near a water fountain and was able to get something to drink. In my opinion, it is dangerous to have a half marathon in August in Chicago and not have enough water stations.
Around mile 12, I saw Emily in front of me. I didn't think I would be able to catch her but she started to walk. I caught up to her and asked if she was alright. She said she was but the last mile was really hard! I know I was feeling it too as I had walked often in the last few miles. She started running with me and I just told her we were almost done! I saw the shuttles and even though the path was a bit windy...I knew it wouldn't be long. We just had to hang in there. I always think running with someone helps push to keep going. There was a water station just before mile 13 and I thought that was unnecessary at this point so Emily and I just ran past it. And we finished!
|Very cool medal! (Photo credit: Nicole F.)|
I'm not sure if this is wrong but one of the things I was most excited for post race was the free Barefoot wine! I got in line and had the most deliciously cold cup of wine (Summer Red). A bit later, I got back in line and had more Barefoot wine (Crisp White). Thank you Barefoot!
Clearly there were some pros and cons about this race. The only major con for me was the lack of water.
There were a lot of pros about this race.
- The swag was awesome! We got a sweet bag, hat, shirt, and feetures! socks (which have always been my favorite running sock).
- The course was not crowded at all with the exception of the first mile or so (which is expected).
- It's a woman's only race (there were a couple men that were registered). I've never done a woman's only race but really enjoyed that everything was geared towards woman.
- Barefoot wine after the race. "Nuff said!
- They had snack boxes with veggies sandwiches and chips.
- Muscle Milk Light was available after the race as they are a sponsor.
I enjoyed running with various friends throughout the race. My finish time for the half was 2:18 which I was completely fine with given I ran two miles beforehand and was just using this as part of a training run.
(Side note: I checked at gear check after the race and someone had turned in my race belt!)
Afterwards, a few friends went to lunch and headed for a photo by the bean. You know...because we can!
|L-R: Jennifer, Nicole, Me, Linda|
(Disclaimer: I received a free race entry from ZOOMA as part of the ambassador program. All opinions expressed are my own.)