Race Report: First Midwest Bank Southwest Half Marathon

Consider this a flashback Friday post. I wrote this recap months ago (like a week after the race… which wad the first Sunday in May), but never downloaded the photos to add to the post. (I swear photos, or lack thereof, hinder 90% of my blogging efforts.) Yep. Epic Laziness. Anyway, on to the four month old race recap.

I should probably preface this post with the fact that I always recommend proper training for a race because (spoiler alert:) I was stupid under-trained for this race and would never recommend that to anyone…

So this past Sunday, I ran the First Midwest Bank Southwest Half Marathon (Or something like that, the name had changed a time or two in the last few years.) There were a ton out reasons to run this race: it is nice and close to home. One of my good guy friends was running. The race director is the owner of my local running store. I’d always heard great things from other local runners. I volunteered at it last year. I got to run past my dentists office. My dentist had run this race herself. The list went on and on, but I’d never actually done it before.

So one (of the only) gorgeous day in March, when it seemed like the weather was finally breaking, I signed up determined to make this my race. I was going to dominate. Then the weather got shitty again, and my training was basically non-existant.

Story of my life.

I thought about dropping down to the newly added 10K. That probably would have been the smart thing to do considering the half would be roughly the same number of miles I’d logged in training. But since I survived my first half fairly under trained, and my overall fitness was much better than it was in 2010, I decided to throw caution to the wind and do the half anyway. If all else failed, I could walk.

Before the race even started, I ran into my friend M. We chatted about being under-trained and how much winter sucked. We headed to the way back of the starting corrals and ran into another high school friend who was running her first half ever. M and I decided to stick it out together for a while and do run walk intervals. We actually ended up doing the whole race together, and in the end she even got a PR!


(Photos courtesy of Samatha from The Peanuts Gang. You can read her awesome recap here)

The race itself went far, far better than I ever expected it to. While we griped at the 10K turn around that we should turn back now, I actually felt really good until somewhere around mile 10. My body didn’t hurt too bad, and I was mentally in it 100%. I guess it’s just another sign that strength training, cross training and general fitness are equally add important as running when it comes to training for races.

The course is an out and back down a main street that they shut down. It runs through a lot of forest preserve so it’s absolutely gorgeous. It’s mostly flat-ish, but courses always seem hillier to me than they’re ever described. The road itself was in rough shape after the particularly harsh winter which made for some interesting pothole dodging.


We finished with a time of 2:39.17. It’s not my best time by any means, but it certainly isn’t my worst either. I survived the race without injury despite my lack of training, and I actually enjoyed myself!

All in all, I call this race a huge success.

Operation Fit into my Damn Dress

Still makes me giggle.
Still makes me giggle.

As I mentioned in last Monday’s post reflecting on my weight loss, I’ve recommitted to weight loss and specifically the idea of comfortably fitting into my (already purchased) wedding dress. I’ve been lovingly referring to this as Operation: Fit into my Damn Dress.

After the last two weeks (I officially started getting my shit together again on 9/4.), I’m down about 4lbs, and I’m back under 170lbs. I’m aslo feeling really good and extremely confident and motivated. I’ve been  back at the gym on the regular, though this last week was kind of rough. I was super busy, and my Saturday morning workout was derailed by an unexplained lack of lights at the gym.  I’m getting back at it tonight though.

I’m finding my biggest motivator has actually been letting go of my goal weight. There’s two elements to this:

The first is committing to the idea of weight loss to fit into my dress rather than to reach a specific number. This has given me something really tangible to latch on to. I’ve had a pair of “goal pants” hanging in my bathroom for a while now, but let’s be honest here, a $35 pair of jeans just isn’t quite as motivating as a $400 wedding dress…

The second is actually taking some time to reflect on and reconsider my goal weight. My goals have always been much more health oriented than weight oriented, and as a result, my goal weight has always been a little bit foggy and arbitrary. . I honestly don’t even remember my original goal weight. I assume I set one though… When I started Weight Watchers, my goal had to be in the health BMI range. Thus my goal weight became 141lbs; the absolute top end of the healthy range for someone that’s 5’3″.

The problem is I’ve never really been confident of my ability to reach that goal let alone maintain it! I don’t think I realized until recently how much that negatively affected me. It seems like it should be obvious; if you’re not confident you can reach your goal weight, where’s the motivation to even try?

So I’ve re-set my goal to 150lbs. 150lbs seems reasonable and doable to me. I can actually remember weighing that much because I’ve seen that number on the scale in the last 5 years. I feel like I could have reasonably maintained that weight too if marathon training hadn’t throw me all out of whack. And so that’s my official new goal. I’m seeing a new primary care doc at the end of the month. I plan to discuss this with him and get the doctor’s note necessary to make it my Weight Watchers official goal too.

I don’t plan on doing any sort of formal weigh-in posts, but I’m sure I’ll check-in here on my weight loss progress on ocassion.


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It's about more than just the finish line.