This was the first year that 13.1 Chicago fit into my schedule. I’ve always wanted to run this race and ran the Miami Beach version in 2012 but this hometown race just never worked out until now.
My first impression was not a pleasant one. Packet pick-up was in Chicago, one location, limited pick-up times, high traffic area, no parking. I was one “hot” momma by the time I drove around Old Town for 40 minutes with my kiddos, tried to park in a garage that was full, then settled on parking illegally to run in
while also dragging my kids and grab the packets for myself and my friends. Logistical nightmare for the non-Chicago runners. Fortunately, once inside the pick-up was organized and smooth and I was in and out before Chicago PD towed my car. The goodie bag was a virtual one to save on paper, but we had to physically pick up our bib & shirt. The shirt was a Helium brand, gender specific sizing which ran small. They also gave us a nylon backpack.
The race itself was at the South Shore Cultural Center on 71st Street on Chicago’s Southside. Parking was limited and the event offered and highly recommended the free shuttle service for all participants and spectators. Win!
Pre-race I met up with my fellow FNRC runners and a few Chicago Running Bloggers. There weren’t many bloggy friends this time around since this event is on the same day as the finish of Ragnar Chicago. From left: Emily (Out and About), Eric (This Hobbit Runs), Chris (My Kind of Run), and myself.
The race started at 7am on the dot, sending off the first of many corrals. Each corral was separated by about 30 seconds to help crowding on the course. I was in Corral C and probably should have been back one
or two more since I’m not really race ready as of yet. I wasn’t at all crowded but certainly not running the same speed as my corral mates. My focus for this race was to be controlled the entire time, not go too fast and not die at the end. This was basically another training run for me. I want to be able to run well on tired legs. The 40 miles I biked on Friday morning pretty much delivered those tired legs and it was my job to run on them and prep for the Racine 70.3 next month.
I anticipated this course being very crowded because the entire race was on either the lakefront path or running/walking paths through Jackson Park. However, it really wasn’t bad. Possibly because I was toward the front. Possibly because I wasn’t trying for any speed record. Possibly because I was just happy to be there, to be running and enjoying the day. We had good temps which were in the mid 60s throughout the race. Then the course was shaded in many spots, thru the park and also on the lakefront path. The view of the city from the south was breathtaking and the out and back course provided distraction as I watched for my fast friends. I even had a surprise around mile 5 seeing another bloggy friend, Xaarlin (Pain is Nothing), who was kind enough to come spectate and take a few photos! The good part about seeing her on the way out was knowing that she was there on the way back so I was “ready” when she pulled out the camera.
This is a good race. Great location which is also unique to the Chicago “racing” scene. Great scenery. On course entertainment. Aid stations spaced probably 1.5 miles apart which offered water and a sport drink. Lots of potties. Lots of smiling faces from volunteers, fast friends who are in front of you and heading toward the finish, fast friends who start behind you and then pass you (thanks, Eric!) and from those friends behind in the later corrals. Running to me is a social event. I don’t listen to music, I listen to what is going on around me. The more people I see on course, the better the race is for me. I LOVED 13.1 Chicago and loved high fiving my friends as we passed on the out and back!!
As a side note, the last 5K of a half marathon is always a drag. If I’m feeling good then this is the time to pick it up and make up some time
from dogging it in mile 8 & 9 but normally speaking, I just try not to slip too far like I did at Sunburst and destroy my finish. However this time, I did something different. In addition to wearing red, white & blue in honor of some of my F’N Running friends who were running Ragnar with the American “Sweat”hearts, I also went Ragnar style from mile 10-13 and counted my “kills”. Yep, this is how I stayed focused in an attempt to keep from falling off pace, I counted every person I passed from mile 10 til the finish. 26 people.
Consistent with 13.1 fashion, we finished on the beach. The after party was in full swing by the time I arrived and the pizza and beer was flowing freely. Now, that’s my kind of race: Running, Friends, Beach Party & Beer!
Photo with my ladies who run EVERYWHERE. You may remember seeing them in my race report last week from Sunburst in South Bend, IN. Yep, they ran 13.1 Chicago too! Myself, Carol, Nicole (who ran a 1:38 which was good for a new PR) & Heather.
More bloggy friends: Pete (The Lakefront Trail), Nina (Run Dance Love) & Myself
Then my F’N friends were kind enough to march out on the beach with me for a photo in front of the Chicago skyline! Melissa, Nichole Z, Ken, Nicole F, myself & Maggie.
Thumbs up for 13.1 Chicago! I’d definitely run it again if my schedule cooperated!
Reminder – Don’t forget to enter my charity raffle HERE!
** Run 13.1 Chicago ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **
Great recap! We got the same bag and shirt for the 13/.1 here in NY 🙂 Luckily there was packet pick up on the race here!!!
Race day packet pick up would have been super sweet! Did the NY race end on the beach?
It was great meeting you at the 13.1 Congrats on the 26 kills! Yay! Yeah, I guess the packet pickup parking situation leaves a lot to be desired! Maybe they need shuttle buses to packet pickup? 🙂 Anyway, the awsomeness of race day made me forget all about the packet pickup! 🙂
Had I been working on FRI, it wouldn’t have been so bad but it totally made me think of every downtown race we run that “only” has downtown packet pickup. Not very convenient but it’s the price we pay for nice races.
Great job, you killed it on SAT!!
Nice job. I ran this one last year and I was hot and miserable so I am glad the race was nice and cool for you.
Yes, we have been lucking out on weather as of late. I know we are lucky and I hope it sticks!!
Congrats on a well executed race!
It was fun cheering for everyone (although it felt awkward to say “go runner, looking good” for the people I didn’t know) I was so happy to spot you and cheer for you!! It was a beautiful day and you looked happy out there 🙂
I’ve been cheering at some small local races as of late and it’s so much fun! But yes, sometimes it’s hard to know what to say to random strangers. It’s nice to have a clapper or some type of sound maker for those awkward moments. And I default to “whooohooooo; great job!!!”, which just results in some people looking at me like I’m totally crazy. 🙂
I had fun at 13.1 last year, but I agree the logistics with the packet pick up and then parking & shuttles are a bit of a headache. Where did you actually park? Last year I carpooled with some F’N runners and we paid $20 to park at the Museum of Science & Industry and take the shuttle.
This was my 2nd half marathon ever and I remember loving it. In later years, it would be the unfortunate recipient of terrible weather, even earning itself a black flag in 2011. Glad this year was a good one though — sounds like you had a blast!
In 2011, this was the same day as Sunburst & we were black flagged there too but since I ran the half I finished before the flag.
I’d like to keep these cool temps all year for running in Chicago!
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I like races that end with pizza and beer on the beach – the packet pick-up sounds like a complete nightmare!!
It was fun seeing you out there. Sorry to pass you by. I was a much slower runner when I originally signed up for the race. Couldn’t have predicted how much progress I’ve made.
Lol! No worries. I’m not as fast as I was pre injury & still working back up. I don’t remember predicting a time at all cuz I wouldn’t have even known what to put.
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It says 13.1 Marathon….Oopps…it’s a 1/2 Marathon! Good post…this is a great race to do cause it all along that Lakefront Trail and it starts and ends and great festivities at that South Shore Cultural Center. And the post race has lots to do and lotsa of fun. I only ran this race in its inaugural year in 2009. I ran under Mark Campbell’s bib. One of my favorite run momentos cam from that race…they had a couple of artists there that would draw your caricature running across the finish line with the Blues Brothers cheering! And that was free…just had to stand in line for a bit. I don’t think they do that anymore…but I wish they would cause it is way more cool than just a shirt or finish medal! 13.1 is a great race if you have the conditioning and ready to run distance in early summer.
I’ve always wanted to try a half marathon and would have loved to give Chicago a try. Is the course relatively flat? Maybe next year as it sounds like a lot of fun.
There were a few inclines but nothing crazy. We have one in SEPT ran by the same management company which is very flat. Also on the south side, most of the race is on lakeshore drive, great race called the Chicago Half Marathon. I’ll be there too!
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Congrats on a great race! I loved that you wore your red white and blue in support of the American SweatHearts. We were thinking of you as we were finishing up the final stretch of the relay. 🙂
What a great motivation tactic at the end there to count how many people you pass. I’ll have to remember that the next time I’m at the end of a race. 🙂
Great race! 🙂 I am happy to hear it was cooler this year, than last! 🙂
That picture of you running along the lakeshore is AWESOME!!! Frame it!
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