Well, I finally have a day off from work to put this together. It has been a very busy couple of days. It's nice to play "catch up" and get things done at home.
Anyways, my day began at 6 am when Josh and I woke up to get ourselves ready for the race. After we ate our pre-race breakfast, we left to board the CTA train to Jackson and walk to Grant Park.
The weather was a little cooler than I would have liked it to be, but I dressed for it. When we arrived at Grant Park, we started looking for the CARA tent so Josh can drop off his stuff before I looked for the Team in Training group after I dropped off my stuff off at Gear Check.
Josh and I went out separate ways for a while so he could warm up with his friend, Jeanne, while I stayed with the TNT group. At about 9 AM, I wished everyone well and headed toward the front of the 9:00/mile pace corral. I then called Josh to let him know of my location before he went to his Preferred Corral. He then found me and then stayed for a few minutes before heading to his corral. When he left, I ate an entire packet of Cherry Extreme Sport Beans with some water to give me enough extra energy for the race. As I was waiting to start, the first wave took off and started. Our wave started about 15 minutes after the first wave started.
As I crossed the Starting line, I felt so good. I did not see the clock when I started, but I look at the clock at mile 1 in order to keep up my desired pace. I believe that I hit a 9:00/mile pace the first mile. When I got to mile 2, I finished at a solid 9:00/mile along with mile 3 and 4. When I got to the 5K marker, my unofficial time was approximately 27:00 to 27:15 - a HUGE new 5K PR (Old PR - 28:56).
When I reached the second water stop, I ripped open another package - as planned - of the Extreme Sport Beans - and gobbled down 4 or 5 beans to supplement my energy to go full out the last mile. And I am SOOOOO glad that I did because I really, really needed it. The last mile was very tough. My goal speed was supposed to be 8:30/mile, but that did not happen. It was a combo of feeling it a lot in my lungs due to the cold, moist air and the hill on Roosevelt just before I finished. I gave that last mile with EVERYTHING I had. In the end, it felt SOOOO good to finish.
I totally SMASHED and SHATTERED my old PR of 57:21 from the Run for the Apples (the trail race from HELL and tore up my ankles). My official race time is 45:18 and a HUGE new PR. I broke it by 12 minutes and 3 seconds. I am also beat Josh's old 8K PR of 45:41. He beat me by only 35 SECONDS. I am not a Firefly for nothing.
Once I finished, I found Josh and walked slowly together to get some Gatorade, water and the other goodies that the race staff was giving us. Then we went to get our stuff from our respective Gear Checks. Josh found a co-worker of his that raced and walked with him to the Michelob Ultra tent to get my FREE beer even though I was starting to get cold again.
After we drank our beers, we walked out of Grant Park and found a hotel that had a Starbucks where I got myself a Mocha to warm my body up again. The rain held off until we got into the hotel so it was good timing. I was tired and just wanted to head home.
Monday officially kicked off my full focus on the upcoming half marathon at North Shore. Right now, according to McMillian, I have a shot for 2:07 HM. I plan to NOT stop there, but still aim for a 1:50 HM so I can get into a preferred corral at Chicago. I am confident that I can do it. The weather has really warmed up so it will help with the training, but I am still planning on going my EZ runs on the treadmill in order to keep the pace recommended by McMillian in order to get that goal time. I am also set to do a 4:27 full marathon at the pace that I am at. But I see myself doing better than THAT.
Well, since the weather is behaving today, Josh and I am are going out for a tempo run today on the running path. Tomorrow's a rest day for both of us and another day off from work for me.