Kentucky Derby Half Marathon, causing me to 2. not run a single distance over 5 miles in the past month and 3. quit multiple runs at 3 miles because of bad IT band-induced knee pain. Oh, and the weather forecast was predicting temperatures in the upper 80s. In my anxiety brain, all of this was bound to equal 1 thing...DISASTER.
The course was awesome. We started just outside Soldier Field stadium in Chicago and ran down Lake Shore Drive and the lakefront path for pretty much the entire race. Even though there were some pretty strong winds coming off the lake at a few points, it was definitely worth it for the view. You can't beat a Chicago race. :) After 3 miles, my left knee was feeling that familiar IT band pain...I forced myself to stay calm, repeated, "it will be fine" about 100 times, stretched, and kept moving. I ended up stopping to stretch again at 5 and 7 miles, and by the grace of the running gods, managed to finish the race with a few strong and pain free final miles! There is nothing like running into a stadium, through a tunnel, and onto a professional football field to get the adrenaline pumping--needless to say, I ended the race with a strong sprint across the finish line and negative splits. My finishing time was 1:57:18. All things considered, I was definitely happy with it, since I told my parents beforehand that there was a strong possibility I'd be the last runner and crawling across the finish...I know, dramatic as always. (BTW, isn't it a bummer that the clock doesn't actually stop during a race when I stop to stretch like my Garmin pauses during training runs?)
Seriously, I don't even LIKE football and I still think it's awesome to finish on the 50 yd line!
(No, this isn't a finish line picture of me, but you get the idea.)
After plenty of confusion and wandering around the inside of the stadium and around the grounds, I collapsed in the Runner Reunite area, where Dad found me half an hour later...
Princess Half Marathon and could barely even get on and off the shuttle bus or walk to the hotel room. I'd say this is a promising start to the year. Hopefully 2012 continues like this, but with even less pain. ;) (It had better, because in less than TWO WEEKS, I'm doing a freaking triathlon...god help me...)