Zoom Zoom!

This past Saturday, I logged half-marathon numero 4 in the books.  After running this race, I’d say I’m right on track for my full in October.  I felt great afterward-like I could’ve kept going and not at all like I was going to die (a feeling I have experienced before).  I also earned my personal best, finishing the race in 2:10 exactly-a whopping 15 minutes off of my previous best 1/2 marathon training time.  I rock.
I’ve had my sights set on Zooma Chicago for a few months.  I had hesitations about it because it fell on the weekend before Madelyn’s birthday (lots of DIY projects in the works), and I felt like I should be getting stuff ready for her party.  But alas, I decided to go for it-could I really pass up a race that offered bubbly libations at the finish line? I think not.  So I packed up the babes and headed down to the Windy City with Madelyn & my mom-my race day babysitter.
We arrived at our hotel around 3:30pm, checked in, strapped Madelyn into the BOB and headed over to pick up my race packet at the new and beautiful Langham Hotel.  The race “swag” was one of the best ones I’ve ever received.  In the bag was a stainless steel water bottle, a dry-fit shirt that fit wonderfully, and a yoga mat.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from the race expo.  I think because the race was located in a big city, I was expecting a bigger expo/race and it was not the case.  BUT I was really happy with the intimacy of this expo because I got to meet and talk with Dimity McDowell, co-author of Train Like a Mother & Run Like a Mother and Maryellen Carbonneau, founder of Fellow Flowers.
 After the expo, we continued on our walk until we stumbled upon Rosebud Italian restaurant, where Madelyn and I feasted on spaghetti & meatballs and this mama enjoyed a much needed glass of wine…long gone are the days where baby girl would just sit in her carseat and peacefully sleep.  We enjoy taking her to restaurants, but I was reminded on Friday why we take her to noisy establishments rather than ones that are a little fancier and quieter.
The next morning we woke up bright and early and headed down to Montrose Harbor which was where the race was being held.  In all my years of living in Chicago, I have never been to this harbor or beach.  I usually ran Belmont Harbor and south.  I was happy that the race started right on time and I crossed the start line at exactly 7:01 am (another plus to smaller-ish races).  There were about 1,000 or so participants and the begining, like any other race, started out a little congested.  The race had two distance components: a 10k and a half marathon and we all started out running together.  It wasn’t until the two distances split off where I started to feel a little more relaxed and less like I was in a “race”.
The course was much different than any other Chicago race I’ve ever done.  Normally, the streets are blocked off and there are tons of people cheering you on, but on Saturday I ran along the lakefront path with recreational runners and I LOVED it much more than I thought I was going to.  I’ve never been a fan of smaller races in small towns, but it was an awesome feeling to run a smaller race in a big city with beautiful lake views.  When we ran past Belmont Harbor, I was brought back to the time I went of my first run along the lake path in Chicago.  I was new to the city and Larry had just left for Afghanistan.  It was nice to be back to where my love of running all started.  I felt relaxed the rest of the race and kept about a 9:50 pace.  Toward the end, my legs started to get a little weak and I walked for a few minutes.  I reminded myself that I was only halfway through my marathon training and I didn’t want to push it and hurt myself.  When I saw the finish line, I sprinted it in for a time of 2:10.  My fasted 1/2 marathon time to date…not too shabby for someone who was very pregnant a year ago.
 I think I’ve discussed this before, but since having Madelyn I have gotten quite a bit faster.  I’m not sure if it’s because I worked out through my pregnancy with all the extra weight or if it’s the fact that I know in my head that I don’t have all day to do this.  Either way, I’m very happy with my increased speed and it’s something I do want to keep working toward improving.
My main motivation to finish 🙂 She was passed out when I crossed the finish line, but she woke up and celebrated with me shortly after.

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