September 27, 2014
The alarm went off bright and early at 4:50AM. It was not a restful sleep. I got up and took my shower while MYMW and JW slept a little longer. Not long after, MYMW got up and started getting ready as well. Since the start line was 3 miles away we decided to NOT walk and tried our hand at using the Uber car service. MYMW coordinated everything on her phone and it was the easiest thing ever. We got to the race really early but I’d rather be early than running around at the last minute. It was good to watch all the women showing up and the different ways they were dressed. There were also TONS of running groups coming through the park. People started referring to them as herds. MYMW and I were chatting while she did some yoga and I did some stretching. Then it was time to visit the porta-potty. The lines weren't too long and they had plenty of options. Good call on that for a women only race. And then I notice THIS in the corner of the one I went in – a “basket” that contained tampons. Very nice touch.
I was keeping an eye out for my sister-in-law but I never found her.
We had tried to coordinate a Half Fanatics photo on Facebook but no one was commented so we headed to the start line to take one of just the two of us. Eventually we found another girl with a FH shirt on so she joined us.
And then MYMW and I had some shots taken of just us.
Then we got a text from our friend SJ that we met at the Biggest Loser Rockford, IL event and she was going to try to meet us. She and her friend were doing the 5K. Surprisingly – through the sea of women – she found us!
But then it was time to part ways, our half marathon was to start at 7:45AM. (The half & 10K started at the same time.) There was a bit of a delay before we were actually able to cross the line. I think because the path narrowed and too many women were trying to get in up toward the front.
Originally the plan was to put my phone away and not take any pictures. But I‘d never run this route before so I thought I’d at least keep it out for awhile…just in case. So you know that means I took some pictures.
The course started near the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (where packet pickup was), ran south for about 1 1/2 miles before turning north and running up Lakefront Trail.
After the totem pole (which was near the 5 mile marker) I finally put my phone away. The course would be turning soon and heading back south so I figured I’d probably just see all the same stuff. At this point, I was also getting frustrated. We had an aid station at the 2 mile marker and didn’t see another one until the 6 mile marker.
THAT IS UNACCEPTABLE!
The course had also started becoming very congested with the general public – walkers, runners, cyclist, strollers, dogs, etc. This race should have started no later than 7:00AM rather than 7:45AM. The Half Fanatic that we had our picture taken with said that the original start time (back in January) was 8:30AM. I can’t even imagine how awful things would have been if they’d waited that late. The course also was pretty torn up in places – which I know the management can’t do anything about but it still makes things tough.
- I certainly didn’t do myself any favors by walking so much yesterday. My legs felt like lead just 2 miles into the race.
- Although the temperature was cool at the start, once we turned and were running near the water the sun bouncing off the water made it warm. I was sweaty by mile two.
- The trail is paved but has a dirt “shoulder” in most areas so I tried to run on that as much as possible. However, that also caused me to get a pebble in my shoe somewhere in between the 7 & 8 mile markers. As much as I tried to “tap it down” to my toes I just couldn’t do it and had to stop and remove it from my shoe.
- The website said there would be 5 water stops. There was one at mile 2, then not until mile 6 and then not again until almost the 12 mile marker (which is where the mile 2 stop was) AND THEN there was one a half mile from the finish line. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?!?! Ridiculousness.
POST RACE: Luckily this is where everything got fun again. As advertised there were two shirtless young men there to give us our Finishers necklaces. Since there was a lull in ladies finishing after I crossed, I asked another worker bee there to take my picture with the guy that gave me my necklace. I asked him is I could touch his chest and he said yes. It turned out to be a funny picture.
I then waited there for MYMW to finish. We then got our snack and headed to the chocolate milk tent.
Then we got in line to get our champagne!
And then other photo opportunities:
One more photo op with the boys:
But alas, it was time to head to the hotel. We decided to walk the three miles back. Go idea or bad idea? Probably a little bit of both. We were both so thankful once we got to our room. I was really glad that I I didn’t book the earlier bus. I could have made it but I wouldn’t have been able to do any of the fun stuff after the race. I took a shower first and then once MYMW was ready, we checked our luggage and went over to the Garrett Popcorn Shop. I always pass by one of the locations as I leave the bus stop and walk toward Michigan Avenue but there was a location a block north of our hotel. Many years ago this place got a boost when Oprah named it as one of her favorite things. EVERYONE goes there but I had never been. Luckily the line wasn't long when we arrived. I will say that it was good but I didn’t find it to live up to the hype that everyone gives it.
MYMW and her husband were headed to the Apple store next and I went back to the hotel, got my luggage and sat in the lobby ate my lunch and used The Stick on my left leg and hip. Since I was pretty tired, I decided to leave for the bus stop even earlier than I needed to. Plus I was able to stop along the way and take some more photos.
I was at the bus stop for less than 5 minutes when it pulled up and they let us on. And – HOORAY – it wasn’t crowded so I was able to have the seat next to me as well. But oddly, the driver made a pit stop on the ride home…that was a first.
A few positives pre-race and lots of fun post-race but as usual a jacked-up race by Team Ortho. One more to go – Monster Dash on October 25th – and then I’ll be done with this series. It will be an expectation (or a favor for a friend) if I ever do anything with this race management company ever again.
The jacket that you get is nice and I like the champagne flute but the necklace looks cheap, cheap, cheap. Supposedly its sterling silver with a sapphire gemstone but I’m not sure I believe it. Plus, why would I wear a necklace with a “W” on it? Its great for my friend MYMW but me? Not so much. I might take it to a jewelry store and pawn shop just to see what they value it at.