Tag Archives: racing

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!

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(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.

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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.

Race Recap: Pretty Muddy

Full Disclosure: As part of the Pretty Muddy Bloggers I was given a free entry to the race in exchange for my promoting and posting about the race.  I did not receive any additional compensation, and as always all experiences and opinions are my own.

This past Saturday I participated in Pretty Muddy.  I heard about this race last year, but not until after I had other committments on race day.  I’d done the Warrior Dash and loved it so the idea of an all-women’s version was awesome.  I decided to shoot for the 2013 race.  Getting to be a Pretty Muddy Blogger and run for free was just icing on the cake I’d already decided to bake.

Pretty Muddy 2013 Medal

On to race day…we’ve already talked about how I don’t do much prepping for race day.  Well, it kind of bit me in the ass this time around.  I forgot which wave I’d signed up for and ended up getting up much earlier than necessary.  (Although, realistically I probably would have woken up just as early regardless.  My ability to sleep-in is pretty much non-existant.)  So since I had a lot of time before I needed to leave, I spent most of the morning screwing around the house rather than getting things together because I had “plenty of time to get there.”  As a direct result, I completely forgot to take extra clothes and shoes.  Because getting covered in mud and getting in my car with cloth seats could only end well, right?!  Of course, I didn’t realize this until turning around was just inconvenient enough that I wasn’t going to bother.  I’d figure something out.  I also didn’t bother to read any of the pre-race emails until I was on my way to the race…oh, there’s a $10 parking fee?!  Well then, it’s a good thing my bank has a branch kind of on the way…

So, minor hiccups of my own doing aside, the race went very smoothly.  Parking was easy peasy.  I had a little bit of concern about my tiny car driving through the field to park, but it was totally little car accessible.  Registration was quick and easy.  Gear check was quicker and easier.  They recommended you get there an hour early for check-in, but that was totally unnecessary.  I was supposed to start in the 10:00 wave.  I got there at 9:30 with plenty of time to check-in, watch the WERQ fitness class that was being demoed and still start in the 9:45 wave.  The wave started with very little fan-fare.

The run itself was not really what I was expecting.  For one, there was very little running.  The event was untimed and billed as a fun-run, but I seriously felt like the odd-man out for running more than the first 50 yards.  There were even a few points were I felt like I was being judged by the other participants for actually running!

I was also expecting the course to be something more akin to the Warrior Dash, lots of mud with obstacles interspersed.  This was more like a trail race with a few kind of muddy pit stops.  The obstacles were your standard climb over walls and up nets, duck under things, crawl through the mud pits, but none of them were really very muddy.  I was trying not to get terribly muddy since I had no clean clothes to change into and staying mud-free from the waist up was pretty easy.  There was a lot of participants who seemed to be actively trying to avoid getting muddy at all.  This was a little aggrivating at points because it caused back-ups at obstacles and well, you signed up for a mud run, what did you expect?!?

Muddy

I finished the race, got my medal, and went in search of the (very well hidden) rinse off station.  I hosed off as much mud as I could from my pants and headed back to my car.  Luckily, I never took my Zooma swag bag out of my car so the race shirt and yoga mat where still in my back seat.  I changed my shirt in the parking lot, and unrolled the yoga matt to cover my seat.  Victory was mine!  Moral of the story?  Don’t listen to your boyfriend when he tells you your car is a disaster and you need to clean it out.n  You never know when you’re going to need a clean shirt and a yoga mat to sit on.

All in all, I had a good time, but I’m not sure I’d do it again.  Well, I definitely would not do it again by myself.  The event was definitely designed to be done with a group of friends.  If I could manage to round up a group of girlfriends to do this with me next year, I would probably do it again.

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