Last Saturday was the Chi Town Half Marathon & 10K at Montrose Harbor. I ran the 10K. Well, more like skated! 20 degree temps, sloppy and icy trails, and gusty winds are not my ideal running conditions, but it's also no excuse in my book not to run. How silly was I to think that winter running was possibly over for Chicago in April. The day before the race, parts of Northern Illinois dealt with a variety of weather conditions. Rain, brief but heavy snow showers, cold and ice. Chicago got hit pretty hard with the brief intense snow showers making Saturday's course conditions very hazardous.
Traffic getting into the city was a breeze as usual for a Saturday morning. Traffic became heavy once I got closer to the Montrose Harbor exits on Lake Shore Drive. I have never dealt with race traffic when it came to a race being held at Montrose Harbor. I was already pressed for time and I was getting worried thinking that I might not make it to pick up my race packet before the race. I saw lots of passengers getting out of cars to head to the race site, so I decided to do the same thing because I knew that if I waited on traffic, I wouldn't have made the race. Luckily, the race started late anyways. As I was making my way to the race area, I could already see what I was getting into by doing this race. I can't even begin to count the amount of times that I and others were slipping on ice and either wiped out, or was very close to it. It was ridiculously dangerous. In fact, the entire race experience was a dangerous situation and I am definitely not alone on that as the race organizers received a ton of angry comments from participants about course conditions.
Once I was done "ice skating" my way to the race, I got my stuff at the unorganized registration/packet pickup and headed to the starting corral. And let me touch on that for a minute....
I went up to get my packet and a volunteer kindly told me that if I didn't have an assigned bib number due to registering during extended online registration, then I had to go to the registration table to get an assigned number. I headed over to registration, which was right next to packet pickup. They were extremely unorganized as people were struggling to get help from the only 2 volunteers that were working the table and weren't doing much to help. I told her I signed up during the extended online registration window and I wasn't assigned a bib number. She wrote down my name on a piece of paper with the bib number she gave me and I was set to go and headed to packet pickup to get my jacket. Technically, anyone who decided to register on race day could have ran the race for free because they had no records of anything on hand and they just wrote names/bib numbers down on paper.
As I was waiting in the start corral, I was on the phone with the hubby making sure everything was ok and locating him. He was able to park and get to the starting line before I was off and I was very doubtful that he and my daughter would make it to see me off. The entire time I was waiting in the corral, I did not hear one verbal warning about course conditions. Had I not been on a part of the course before the race, I wouldn't have known what the conditions were like, so I totally feel for the participants who had no warning and had to find out what the course was like after they started.
After crossing the starting line, I saw my hubby and daughter... waved, blew them kisses and continued on.
The first 3 miles were beautiful. Treacherous, but beautiful. I loved watching the huge waves and the large crashes against the walls. The lake mist was pretty strong because it was extremely windy. The lakefront path was narrow, packed with lots of runners and a lot of ice. I was so afraid of slipping into the lake. Many people were getting off the path and away from the lake. After I slipped once, that's when I decided to join others and got off the path.
Then, you have ignorant a-hole runners that don't care about anybody else's safety much less their own that kept dodging people on the course and knocking into them as they were doing it. Another ignorant person I encountered..... At mile 4, the race staffer, race official, volunteer... whoever the hell he was threw a not so nice comment my way. I didn't appreciate him saying the group of runners/walkers I was with at the time looked great EXCEPT for me because I was on my phone sending my hubby a voice text telling him I was at mile 4, so that he and my daughter could see me at the finish line. They were hanging out in the car most of the time because we didn't want her out in the cold the whole time. Like seriously?! What the hell is your problem?! That really irritated me, but seriously... you're there to support not tear others down on course.
|Yes, that is ALL ice in both photos!!!|
After mile 4 I had to start taking 30 second walk breaks because I started getting a little bit of knee and hip pain and a side stitch on my right side. After mile 5, right before I hit mile 6, I started getting really bad muscle cramps in my right leg. The entire leg was cramping up, but it was nowhere near as bad as the ones I suffered during my 15K, but it was getting there. My leg stopped firing and it wanted to stop working, but I kept pushing to the finish line. My socks and shoes were wet, my legs and feet were cold and they weren't warming up anymore. I was limping a bit towards the finish line and I started getting very emotional as I got closer to that finish line squeezing my thigh. Somehow I was able to push and lightly run past that finish line to retrieve my medal. I wasn't sure why I was getting so emotional with a 10K finish, but then I thought about the course conditions and how I pushed my running even further and ran for not only 3 miles, but 4!!!!! I ran over half of the 10K without intervals and I started falling apart a bit at the last mile, I was happy that it was finally over with and one more other reason that I am thinking causing me to become emotional.....
I walked away with no broken ankles, an awesome 7.5" tall medal AND a 10K PR! I shaved 8 minutes off of my previous 10K time from November and finished in 1:30:18! I had no specific goals for this race just like with last month's race. I had hopes in the back of my mind, but no specific goals were set in stone for me reach because I just wanted to see where I was for the year with my 10K distance. I've been killing it so far this year with the PR's.
Even though I am very upset with how the whole event was run and no precautions taken to ensure a safe course and taking runner's safety into consideration and participants being injured on the course... I am still glad I decided to go through with it and battled the elements to come out stronger on the other side.