Chicago Half Marathon for 9/11

Earlier this week, I made the decision to take Amtrak out to Chicago for the weekend in order to run the Chicago Half Marathon.  This year, it happened to fall on 9/11/11- the 10 year anniversary of 9/11.  Part of the decision was that Philly was flooding for the second time in 3 weeks and there was no way I was going to attempt 17-18 miles on a treadmill, even in 2 runs.  The Schulykill path is where I do most of my longer runs since it’s an 8.5 mile loop, but it ended up being closed off Wednesday with it reopening Friday at the earliest.  Anyways, I arrived after taking the Limited Capitol train to Chicago from DC on Friday morning and was able to drop my bags off at my 50% off hotel in the loop.  I headed over to an LA Fitness I found 2 blocks from my hotel (score!) to get a swim in since sitting for 17 hrs on a train isn’t the most exciting thing to do.  Afterwards, I headed out to Navy Pier to pick up my race stuff.  Score the Long Sleeve Tech shirt (see Friday’s post)!  However, wasn’t a fan of the packet pick up.  After almost a dozen half marathons, 2 marathons and some 10 Mile races, this is the first where if someone else was picking up your bib, they had to bring in a NOTARIZED Form saying it was alright for them to pick up your stuff.  I kid you not!  Want proof? Head over here.  Couldn’t you see this being a problem for people coming out of the country or who work long hours? I mean really.  The fact it was at Navy Pier was also an issue- it’s not necessarily the easiest place to get to, but I digress.  When I got there, the people handing out bibs looked like a bunch of High School students who had no idea what they were doing.  The guy in front of me nearly got a 5K shirt and I heard there were numerous problems with the volunteers giving runners other peoples’ bibs.  Giving the wrong bib to the wrong runner?  Part of it was the runner’s fault for not noticing this until they got home, but still.

While I was there, I signed up to take the shuttles they had from Millennium Park to Jackson Park just because they went straight there.  It seemed all find and dandy since they had multiple shuttles leaving at multiple times- until we got an email Saturday saying that most if not all shuttles would leave at 530 AM only. Lack of organization there.  Come race day, I was able to hop the shuttle (thank goodness I was only 2 blocks away) and arrived around 6:15-6:20.  I normally never check anything since I’ve learned to run with little or I’m in Philly or a surrounding area with my car, however, I brought a change of clothes since I had another 4-5 miles to run after the race.  I checked my bag and jumped into the porta potty line like any good runner should. I headed over to the corrals while the national anthem was playing and at 7 AM, we were off.  The first few miles were led by NYFD Engine 4 which was at Ground 0 on 9/11 and has since had some restoration work done to it (see yesterday’s post for pictures!).  During the first mile, there were bagpipers playing Amazing Grace which I thought was a nice touch.

The race overall was a rough one for me.  My legs were tired and I had to work out a sore calf muscle in my right leg.  I also felt sick the entire race because I took some advil which didn’t feel like it went down the entire way.  I got some motivation out of some signs on the course however.  Some of the better ones were:

  1. Hurry! There are Zombies behind you!
  2. Move your @$$ honey! (I apologize for anyone who doesn’t swear!)
  3. Running means making sacrifices. I decided to drink after the race instead of before the race.

The last few miles, the medics were getting busy as it started to get warmer out.  Some people were passing out on course or at the finish.  I appreciated the last mile when they were saying how much further you had left!  I some how made it across the finish and within seconds was dry heaving before getting sick on the sideline.  That is honestly a race first for me, but I had been trying to get whatever was stuck in my throat up the entire race.  Someone brought me water but I ended up fine in a minute or two.

After working my way through the finish area, I got some food, water and awesome medal, I headed over to pick up my bag.  Utter 1/2 Marathon Fail.  It took a good 20 minutes of me waiting in line to get it.  There seemed to be no system of how it was organized or who was looking for what.  After I finally got my stuff, I headed over to the Jack’s Fund tent, the charity I’m running for during the NYC Marathon, since they had a small group of 1/2 marathon runners.  I got some free hugs and met some of the other runners doing NYC in November and had the opportunity to talk with some of the organizers on why I chose Jack’s Fund and how I found them.  I got some free Pizza and headed towards the NYPD Engine 4 truck to get a few pictures and hopped the shuttle back to downtown and finish off my last 4 miles.   I have mixed feelings about this race.  Not quite sure if I’ll be back for it, but if anything, it was a good way to remember 9/11/01 and I got a decent long run out of it.  It also didn’t rain which was a change from Philadelphia.  Take it as you will, but this is how I spent remembering 9/11/01

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About drrunner
8 time marathoner, 65 ish time 1/2 marathoner with a bucket list item to hit all 50 states. BibRave Pro, Doctor and a mix of insanity

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