Monday, January 20, 2014

Chicago Polar Dash 14 mile

Overview:
  • 2:01:31 for the 13.1/half marathon, 2:09:52 for the 14 mile finish
  • 13th out of 97 in age group, 65/538 females, 199/933 overall.  
  • Crappy course conditions, but great organization and amazing schwag! 
Link to results.  Passed by ZERO runners.  Wheeee! 
And now for the play by play:

Friday morning I got on the Megabus at 7am and headed to Chicago.  (It really was pretty darn close to 7am...I really cut it close in my driving time and almost missed the bus!  Stupid commute.)


It was my first time on the Megabus and overall it wasn't bad.  I would like to do the Amtrak one of these days to compare.  Either one is better than driving though, in my opinion, because you get to be productive while traveling (or, you know, watch season 1 of Girls) instead of just driving.  And of course you also avoid the parking issue when traveling to a place like Chicago.  And I'm pretty sure it's cheaper than gas.
Left: Bus selfie.  Right: Lena Dunham on Girls.  Thanks go to a good friend for the season 1 DVDs!  I had been wanting to watch that show for a while. 
We got into Chicago at about 11am and so we had plenty of time to head over to the expo for packet pickup, which was from 10am-6pm.  This race was awesome in that it had a ton of options for packet pickup.  You could pick up your stuff in person on two days in December, and on race weekend.  You could also have had your packet mailed in advance, and if all that failed, they would allow race-day pickup if it was pre-arranged.  They also allowed you to pick up someone else's packet as long as you had a copy of their ID.  Pretty accommodating!  They also had packets available for their other races (Get Lucky half in March) so you could get them all at once if you were already registered for multiple.
Left: super helpful jacket sizing volunteer.  Right: packet pickup.  Look mom, no lines! 
 The expo wasn't huge, but everybody was really nice.  They actually encouraged you to try on sizer jackets so you could exchange your jacket for a different size if you wanted to.  That is absolutely unheard of!  My jacket actually fit perfectly so I didn't need to exchange, but what an awesome feature.  The shirt we got was a full zip fleece, with thumbholes, that was super cute and the perfect weight (not too bulky, not to thin).  We also got hilarious penguin hats.  Great haul already, and the medal was still to come!
I look sleepy in all these photos because A) I am.  and B) I'm not wearing any makeup.  Deal with it.  In the top right photo I thought I was pointing at the logo on the back.  I was pretty far off. 

Closeup of the scary penguin hat.  

Friday we went to lunch at the Corner Bakery, and walked around a bit in Chicago, including an obligatory visit to the big shiny bean thing.  While we there, the snow kind of avalanched off the top and hit somebody (he wasn't hurt) so security was keeping us away at times! We had to run up and sneak photos while she wasn't looking!
Middle right: bean pre-avalanche.  Bottom left: Avalanche evidence. 

We went to dinner at Exchequer Pub.  I actually don't even remember what I ordered there!  I know that Coach and Jessica split a pizza, and I ordered something else because they were getting pepperoni and I don't eat mammals.  I think it was a black bean burger.  Yes, that was it.  And waffle fries.  It was good (but obviously not amazing since I forgot I ate it!)  Coach ordered a red velvet cake for dessert though that I remember clearly.  I'm not generally that into red velvet, but this one had chocolate filling in the layers and it made it pretty darn good.

Coach G and I disregarded the superstition that it's bad luck to wear the race shirt before the race.  :)
Saturday morning was race day.  Jessica and I were doing the 14 miler (it is usually a half-marathon, but they decided to make it 14 miles for 2014 or something.) and Coach Gina was doing the 5K.  That meant that Jessica and I had to get there earlier for our 8am start, vs the 5K start at 8:45am).  We took a cab to the start line and walked around in circles to stay warm until it was time to line up.
Pre-race photo in the hotel. 
Oh fuck it.  I don't have time to write this stupid blog post and it's stressing me out and it's not fun and I'm just writing useless emotionless blather anyway.  (I moved again since we last spoke and there is much unpacking and organizing and whatnot to be done.  Again.)   Here are the Cliff's notes from the rest of the race.


  • Race was great.  I liked it overall. 
  • Course was REALLY wet.  Melted snow = giant puddles.  Like, up to your ankles and 10 feet long, across the whole width of the path.  Most people ran into the street or into the grass to avoid the puddles.  I did that until about mile 5 and then accidentally went through a deep one and kinda said "screw it" and just plowed through most of the rest of them.  I didn't mind the cold feet much, but the extra weight from waterlogged shoes was annoying.  
  • I'm happy with my time.  2:01:31 for the half marathon is my 2nd best time in the past 4 years, and my 3rd best time ever.  And that was with a lot of off-course running (extra distance) and waterlogged shoes.  Boom.  Splits per Garmin: 
  • All these easy/fast half marathons are making me feel pretty good about tackling the Ann Arbor full marathon in March.  So that's the plan, for now. 
  • Post-race lunch was at the Elephant & Castle where I enjoyed an order of sweet potato fries, a side salad, and 2 chicken strips.  It was a custom order.  The chicken strips were a last minute addition that I chased down the waiter for when I realized I didn't order any protein.   A 3-way dessert ensued.  

  • Jessica and I went shopping (don't ask me how I got convinced to do this) and I ended up spending about $200 at TJ Maxx.  I was going to take pictures of what I got, but I don't have the energy and I doubt anybody cares.  (2 pairs of shoes, a super nice running jacket, 2 pairs of leggings, a sweater, some running gloves and a longsleeved/lightweight/hooded running shirt.  I think that's about it.  I'm probably forgetting something though.  Oh here!..... here's a pic of the running jacket.  Not taken in Chicago.)

  • Saturday night we went to the Comedy Bar where I got a little too drunk.  On the bright side, it made the comedians funnier.  On the not-so-bright side, I made some bad judgement calls (literally, phone calls), and also bruised my shin when I tripped and fell in the hotel room, taking a table down with me.  I need to work on "moderation".  After the comedy bar, Jessica and I went to Miller's Pub and ate two orders of a cheese sticks and an order of fries.  This was largely because we hadn't eaten dinner and I thought mass quantities of fried food might soak up some of the alcohol.  I'm pretty sure it did. 
That would be my first ever Long Island Iced Tea (more followed).   Lesson learned.  
  • Sunday = breakfast at the Corner Bakery, and a trip to Shedd's Aquarium.  
video

  • Then we "enjoyed" a long bus ride back home.  Not as enjoyable as the ride out because it was more crowded and we got stuck on the top floor of the bus.  Also we lost an hour on the way home, instead of gaining one! 
  • Photos from the race's facebook page:  Set 1, Set 2, Set 3.  I skimmed them all and didn't see any of me, but you can get a feel for the vibe of the race at least.
  • Love, love, love the medal!  Pretty blue and blue and more blue!  The bib is a keeper as well.  I only keep the unique bibs.  

Yay, done and warm in the hotel room with a shiny new medal! 

Here's most of the photos I took.  Not all were used in this blog post, but most of them were.  Except all the random photos of fish....I left those out of the blog.  You're welcome.

Thanks for a good time Chicago!  Sorry readers, for a very late and very messy cop out of a blog post.




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