Skip to content

Chi Town Half Marathon Race Recap

April 2, 2012

Hey Everyone! It’s Monday again… but I hope you all had a great weekend! I sure did! Friday Night I went to go see Legally Blonde the Musical with my sister-in-law, Lauren. The show was out in the suburbs and we were a little skeptical about it at first (there were a TON of high schoolers in the audience so we didn’t know if it was a younger cast) but we were pleasantly surprised!

photo 1 (5)

photo 3 (5)

The stage was really cool because it was surrounded by the audience. I’d never been to a production like this and I really enjoyed it!

photo 2 (4)

On Saturday I had my doctor’s appointment out in the suburbs, then in the afternoon I FINALLY got to see the Hunger Games!!! It was amazing! I found myself freaking out at parts, even though I’d read the book and knew what was going to happen! I want to see it again and again and again!

For dinner I went to the Counter Burger with my cousin, Allie, and her friends who’d come in town to celebrate her engagement!!!! Congrats Allie! After dinner they headed out to watch the KU basketball game and I headed home. Why? Because I had to get some sleep for my HALF MARATHON!!!!

photo (2)

That’s right! I ran my half marathon yesterday! Haha it was NOT all smiles though, it was really rough, but I learned a lot of lessons from it!

I started off my morning with a piece of Udi’s bread with PB and 1/2 banana (and coffee and water).

photo 1 (4)

The weather was colder than I’d anticipated and possibly rainy, so I wore my visor and long sleeve. I also decided to wear my compression sleeves during the race, and they didn’t bother me like I thought they might!

photo 2 (3)

Here’s the starting line! I stood with the 8:24 pace group, since that was my “dream goal.”

photo 3 (4)

It was really great to have my cousin, Allie, as well as my brother Harrison with his dog, Molly, cheering me along! Allie was at 3 points along the course, and Harrison was at 2 and then the finish line!

Allie made these great posters! Despite having gone out to celebrate the KU win, she spent her morning in the cold cheering me on! Thank you Allie!

photo (3)

The race, well, was pretty rough. Issue #1 was that my pace group started out REALLY FAST. I stuck with them the first 2 miles and then had to fall back. They ran an 8:04 pace the first mile and an 8:17 pace the second… which was sprinting for me. The number one thing I always hear is don’t go out too fast at the beginning. Well my goal to stick with the pace group really bit me in the butt here. They went out too fast, which meant I went out too fast, and it really hurt me.

When I dropped back from them I remembered everyone saying just run for fun! I was NOT having fun and I decided to forget the pace and just run my own race. I stuck to what I could keep up and I pushed myself and I’m proud of what I did!

I have to say though, I had to use every bit of will power I had to keep putting one leg in front of the other. My legs were burning about halfway through, and by mile 10 they felt like cement. I could barely keep my pace between 9:30 and 9:00. The last 2 miles were by far the roughest and I was pretty slow, but I kept telling myself that I couldn’t stop now, I was almost there, just keep moving!

I finished the race in 1:59:38 for a pace of 9:08, which means I met my original goal (before I found out about the Chicago Marathon corral qualifying times), so at least I did that!


And you know what? I am proud that I ran a HALF MARATHON! I would have never dreamt of doing this a couple years ago, even 1 year ago!

There were a lot of things I learned throughout this process though:

1. If the pace group is sprinting the first mile – fall back!

2. Don’t cut fiber out of your diet… I thought I’d follow someone’s advice and try to cut out fiber a couple days before. This was a BAD idea for my body and let’s just say I had some digestive issues the day before and morning of the race. I was not feeling well. I realized it was a bad idea by Saturday afternoon, but at that point it was too late.

3. Train for speed AND distance. I realized that although I’d been doing my speed runs, overall my pace during this training dropped significantly. I was so focused on adding to my weekly mileage, that I let my pace on normal runs get slower and slower. I was adding miles to my training plan, which is good if I’m building a base, but not when training for a race! It’s got to be one or the other for me.

4. Don’t focus solely on your injured body parts. I spent so much time focusing on making sure my feet (plantar fasciitis) and the back of my knee were fine that I barely stretched or cared about my quads or IT bands. Those were the muscles that gave me the most problems during the race – everything else was fine! I need to stretch and roll EVERYTHING, not just problem areas!

5. Set realistic goals. I’d been running my training runs (and they were ROUGH) at a 9:50-10:00 pace. It was unrealistic of me to think I could cut over a minute and half per mile on my pace. Apparently I thought magic was going to come from somewhere. Why not 7:00?!? Lol, dreaming a bit too big there.

6. Focus on having fun! I realized a few miles into the race that it was NOT fun and that I needed to enjoy the race, not push myself to the point where I wanted to curl up in a ball and hide! Part of that is setting a realistic pace!

I’m actually kind of glad it wasn’t a walk in the park. Sometimes I think I have everything under control and I won’t “mess up” like other people say they did at their first race. Well, I’m not perfect! And now I can be one of those people one day who are like: “yea, at my first race I…. but now  I’ve learned better.”

Well. Half marathon #1 is done and done! And you know what? I’m ready for #2! Haha although it was a rough race, all I want to do is sign up for another! If only I had tons of money, I’d register for half marathons every month – I’d just run most of them for fun and not for a goal pace though. Those medals are addicting! Oh, and the sense of accomplishment.

Any good races you recommend? Preferably near Chicago or Kansas City?

What have you learned from race experiences?

What’s the best thing you did this weekend?

59 Comments leave one →
  1. April 2, 2012 6:44 am

    Great job, Katie! I did a 10K over the weekend and I want to consider a half. This is great advice! (And I could never cut fiber out of my diet, haha)

    • April 2, 2012 8:51 am

      Haha the no fiber thing was a bad idea – don’t follow it! But definitely sign up for a half!

  2. fitandfuninthird permalink
    April 2, 2012 7:08 am

    Awesome!!!! Great job, you should feel very proud of yourself! 🙂

  3. April 2, 2012 7:11 am

    Even though it wasn’t the way you wanted it to be you should be proud! That is an awesome accomplishment! I never knew all the preparation and day of things that go into a race. It sounds like a lot!

    I would love to one day! This weekend I went to the gym for the first time since December (I work out at home). Let’s just say I did a good job lol. I’m sore 🙂

  4. April 2, 2012 7:23 am

    Great job, the first half is always the hardest and you’ll be so much more prepared for the next one!

    Also, I always start with a pace group behind my goal pace knowing that they’ll go out too fast. I’ll run with the slower group for a couple of miles and then gradually increase my pace until I find the group running my goal time. I know it sounds kind of scary to start out “slow” but it’s always worked for me! Plus, if you use this method you generally have negative splits throughout the race and finish strong. It feels amazing!

  5. April 2, 2012 7:28 am

    I am happy you remembered to have fun right away and make the race the best you could! It’s hard (imo) to keep up speed while running longer and longer distances. Because it doesn’t make sense to race all your long runs, but then you really have to focus on tempo runs and other drills to get the speed in so you can race your longish race! Ha ha. Why does running have to be so complicated?! 🙂

    Congrats on the race! That is a great time! And it looks like you had a busy and fun weekend too 🙂 It would be fun to see a show like that, where the audience surrounds the stage!

  6. April 2, 2012 7:43 am

    YAY! Congrats on your first half!! I had very similar feelings about my first Half a few weeks ago. I learned a lot, and I’m glad I did, because my next race will be even better now!

  7. April 2, 2012 7:47 am

    Congrats on finishing your first half marathon! Racing is such a thrill & I too would sign up for a half marathon every month if I could afford it. It sounds like you had a great race & met your goal, even if it wasn’t your reach goal. The next big race I’m doing is the 13.1 Chicago in June.

  8. April 2, 2012 8:24 am

    1) From my half marathon, I learned that pace is everything. I took very careful notice of my pace with every 2 miles so I could make sure I was on track and not going too fast/slow. I also learned that getting up at least 1.5 hours before the race is key (for me at least) to wake my mind and body up. And to digest breakfast.

    2) While you were snoozing in for you race I was in Lawrence screaming in Allen Field House and running through the streets 🙂 ROCK CHALK!!!

  9. April 2, 2012 8:40 am

    Yay for finishing your first half and with such a positive, mature attitude! It’s amazing how our training is so different from our races. I don’t cut fiber out until the day before. I ate a salad the night before my 20 miler and paid for it running the next morning. Good luck training for your next one.

  10. April 2, 2012 8:52 am

    CONGRATS!!!! That’s an awesome time and just running 13.1 miles in general is a HUGE accomplishment 🙂 It’s good that you learned a lot at this race, and that things didn’t go perfect…because now you will really appreciate a race that goes smoothly and perfectly 😀

  11. April 2, 2012 8:55 am

    i couldn’t wait to read your recap on your race this morning!! congrats girl! you should be so proud! 🙂

  12. Jeni permalink
    April 2, 2012 8:55 am

    Congrats on your first half marathon! My first half was in January and I learned a lot! One thing I learned was to make sure that I actually did my scheduled long runs for my next race! I could never cut fiber out of my diet because I eat too much of it!!

    I am running my second half on the 14th and I am already looking at more to run! I think that my next big race will be the Chicago Womens Half in June. I think that race will be awesome! I would also sign up for tons of races if money wasn’t an issue!

  13. Lauren permalink
    April 2, 2012 9:20 am

    I don’t think I realized this was your first half, so first of all congrats on that! And congrats on going sub 2, even though you were hoping for faster.

    Yikes, the pace group really went out too fast. That’s really too bad. I went with the 9:55 group and they did speed up a bit but I was ok with it since I wanted to come in under 2:10 if possible.

    I’ve been looking around for another half sometime soon, but I’m just not sure if I’ll find something that works with my schedule. I really like the Magellan Spring Half. This year it takes place May 12. It’s local, flat and fun. I’d be out there except it happens to fall on the day I’m getting married! Don’t think I didn’t attempt to figure out a way to race it and still have time to do the wedding stuff that day. 😉 But doesn’t look like it’d be smart. So that said, I’m still looking around but I just don’t know if any race will work out. I’m free the day of the Chicago 13.1 but it’s a pain to get down to that area. I’ve heard so so things about that race, but a big part is prob because it was 90* that day. Doesn’t mean it’ll be that hot this year, but man it really made most people’s race stink that day!

    I don’t have a “regular” blog but I do log my workouts and races, so here a link to my race report if you are interested. I don’t think you need to be logged into the site to read it –

    • April 2, 2012 9:40 am

      Haha no, I don’t think running a half the day of your wedding would work out well, you don’t want to be tired! And congrats on getting married! I’ll be sure to check out your race recap!

  14. April 2, 2012 9:25 am

    Congrats on your run! I’m planning to do the KC Half in the fall, but that’s still a while away – have you done it and/or are you planning to do it in October?

    • April 2, 2012 9:41 am

      I haven’t done it, this was my first half marathon! BUt I don’t plan on doing it since I’m running the Chicago marathon!

  15. April 2, 2012 11:15 am

    Yay congrats on your first half marathon and you’re amazing race pace time!!!

    I hear you on started out too fast and then burning out – that always seems to happen to me at races! I swear I start sprinting and think I could do it forever but not long after I have lost all fuel.

    Eek definitely would not want to cut out fiber too much before a race! I do try not to have anything to fiberous that morning though.

    The longest road race I have done is a 10k, now I kinda of want to try a half marathon…

  16. Cate permalink
    April 2, 2012 1:08 pm

    Yay! Major congrats on your first half marathon Katie! and you really got an awesome finish time -you should be proud! 🙂
    It sounds like you learned a lot which will definitely help you in future races. Coach Jenny is really great resource for any kind of training questions you may have. She answers peoples questions all the time and has a good website and great blog on Runner’s World you can check out. She talks about breaking a race into three parts and gradually getting faster with each section. I used that during my recent half and I think it worked out pretty well!
    Having fun is certainly one of the most important things, glad you realized that part way through your race. 🙂

    The Chicago Women’s Half Marathon is June 24th and I am thinking about signing up. It is organized by Fleet Feet so it is sure to be a good race!

    • April 2, 2012 3:09 pm

      I’ll have to check out Coach Jenny, that sounds great! I’ve heard about that half but I also heard it’s the first one they’ve done? So far the only races I’ve done (other than Susan G Komen) have been pretty new and thus without much of a crowd, I’m really hoping to find one with a lot more people to keep up the inspiration! I’m definitely thinking of the Rock N Roll one in August. I’ll look into that one too, I like that it’s the Women’s half!

      • Cate permalink
        April 2, 2012 4:42 pm

        The event actually used to be a women’s 10K and 5K and they are switching it up this year and made it a half and 5K. I did the 10K last year and there were lots of people; it was a great event. Hopefully it will have a nice big turnout this year!
        I’m sure whichever half you choose though will be great! It’s nice to have a few different ones to choose from! 🙂

  17. April 2, 2012 2:14 pm

    I saw Legally Blonde this weekend too! We have almost exactly the same pics on our blogs! Too funny!
    Congrats on your half marathon! That’s great!

  18. April 2, 2012 2:41 pm

    Congrats on your first half marathon! Such an accomplished feeling isn’t it?

    And the first one so rarely goes as planned. That’s the awesome thing about running. You are ALWAYS learning and ALWAYS getting better 🙂

    • April 2, 2012 3:10 pm

      Haha good to know that you’re always learning and getting better, things are only going up from here!

  19. April 2, 2012 3:10 pm

    WAHOO!!! CONGRATS!! SO happy for you 🙂

  20. April 2, 2012 3:57 pm

    Congrats on the race, you did it!!!!

  21. April 2, 2012 4:14 pm

    Congrats girl!!! That is an awesome time as well!

    I just saw Hunger Games last week as well!!! So amazing! I read the books as well, but still felt the anticipation and got so anxious even though I knew what was going to happen haha LOVED IT!
    Congrats again on your race! That is awesome!

  22. April 2, 2012 4:33 pm

    Congrats!! So exciting :o) I can’t wait until I become an ‘official’ runner and start training for mine. Gotta start slow though – I’m hoping to run a 5K this fall!

    • April 2, 2012 4:53 pm

      If you are out there running, then you are a runner! I can’t wait to hear how your 5K training goes!

  23. Ashley permalink
    April 2, 2012 5:13 pm

    When I use to do A LOT of running…I learned that every single race is different! I had to stop myself from having either too high or too low expectations and just go with it. Congratulations on your accomplishment and already setting goals for your future runs! That is great!

  24. April 2, 2012 7:00 pm

    Awesome job, Katie!! I love that you ended up making sure to enjoy it – and you still had an awesome time! I’m actually really glad you recommended NOT giving up fiber before the race. I had heard others recommending this but was kind of scared to try it out. Now I know I’m not going to 🙂

    I’m running the Rock the Parkway half in KC in two weeks – I can’t wait!

    • April 2, 2012 8:32 pm

      Haha, definitely don’t give up fiber! It did not work well for me, and I think it’s because I eat so much that it was a shock to my system! And I just looked at that race since you said something, and that’s basically what I run when I’m home!!! I live just down the block from ward parkway! omg I’m e-mailing you, haha, I want to tell you where my house is without telling the world…

  25. April 2, 2012 8:33 pm

    Congratulations!! I’m sorry the race was a little rough but that’s still a great time and you definitely learned a lot…I just registered for my first half marathon (it’s at the end of May) and these were fantastic tips, so thank you! : )

    • April 2, 2012 8:42 pm

      I’m glad I could help! And good luck on your half! It’s so exciting to finish and get that medal!

  26. April 2, 2012 10:33 pm

    Congrats! I haven’t run a half before, but when I do my goal is to break two hours. Thanks for the tips 🙂 PS: Love that show stage. I’ve never seen one like that before either!

    • April 3, 2012 6:57 am

      Your welcome, and yes, that stage was so cool! The actors would run in from down the aisles!

  27. April 3, 2012 12:01 am

    CONGRATS on the race! i’ll definitely remember these tips when i start training for a big race 🙂

    and i loved the hunger games- & the counter burger is one of my favorite restaurants!

    • April 3, 2012 6:57 am

      Thank you!!! Haha and maybe I should do a chicago-area dinner at CB sometime! It’s sooooo good!

  28. April 3, 2012 1:57 am

    Well done Katie that’s fantastic, you did so well and by the sound of it you learned a few lessons as well. My motto for all my races now is to not worry about pace and just enjoy it. What a great achievement well done!

  29. April 4, 2012 8:38 pm

    I know I’m late to reading this (I’ve sucked at reading the past few weeks with everyone!), but that is a GREAT time! I’ve learned the hard way not to go out too fast too. For the Soldier Field 10 miler last year, I was like sprinting the entire time. At mile 8, I got a cramp and about died. I had to take walking breaks and it totally killed my pace!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: