It was still a half marathon, but the three Fs (one of which includes freezing) didn't ring true this year. Since I think it took me about a month to fully thaw out last year, I was more than thankful for a partially sunny, 38 degree January day.
Despite having admonished myself about missing runs, and having fallen short on training last year, I did it again. Getting up at 5 a.m. to run on the treadmill during the week becomes unbearable and my motivation falls. Apparently I'll use just about any excuse to not run in the winter, so I had not done a Saturday long run in three weeks, and had been barely running during the week. To say I was a little skeptical of how well I was going to do is an understatement.
I spent the most of Thursday and Friday trying to decide if I would even try to run on Saturday. At first I was going to switch to the 5k, but since they charge you 10 bucks I nixed that plan. Then I wasn't going to run. Then I was. Then I wasn't. You get the idea. After consulting Mr. H., my sister, several co-workers and a couple of passerbys, I decided to just go out there, see what I could do, not push myself and have a good time; somewhat reminiscent of what I said last year: "I ... vowed to just go out there and run whatever, even if it was the slowest half marathon on Earth."
The day before the race I made sure to drink a ton of water and get plenty of sleep. The morning of I fueled up and happily put on only one layer of winter clothing rather than three. At least I was going to start the race off on a good foot. We headed to the United Club at Solider Field where we were able to WAIT INSIDE!!! before the race.
As race time approached, I said goodbye to Mr. H. and found friends. I warned them about my lack of training, but that I would try to keep up with them for a while. My first few miles went well, (10:30s). I would have loved to have kept that up the whole race, but knew it was not to be. Each mile I kept waiting to fall apart. The further I got, the more hopeful I got that I wouldn't, but I never truly let myself believe it. We turned around at about mile 8 and I punched out my fastest mile, 10:12; probably because I was happy to be heading back. After that I started to slow down. My last three miles each clocked around 11 minutes. I had a 12 minute mile at around 10 because I gave myself a walking break through (and a little past) the aid station. As I approached the finish line though, I managed to sprint ... a little.
Finish time: 2:21:38. Last year: 2:21:24. Difference in temperature, about 40 degrees. So even though I slowed down, I somehow managed to duplicate last year's result. (Mr. H.: "imagine what you could do if you properly trained" - after he congratulated me of course.)
I love this race. Even though winter running really does suck, I have so much fun during the race, and leading up to it. And even though I don't fully stick to my training, I get myself out there more than I would if I weren't signed up for a race. It was great to wait inside this year. This year's hat is another winner, and the gloves, while a little too big for me, will be perfect for layering under mittens when the weather is back to all the Fs in F3.