This is part of a series of posts from my quest to run a half marathon in all 50 states. Illinois was my 25th state. Half-way there!!!
Looking at half marathons for my one in Illinois, I was drawn to those in Chicago. I had been there once when I was in high school and had been wanting to go back, so I signed up for the 2012 Allstate Life Insurance Chicago 13.1 Half Marathon. It was in June and as one might predict, it was hot. Extremely hot. So hot that they put out warning flags at mile 2. I knew early on that I wouldn’t be getting a PR (personal record) at this race. Although it was a large race with a lot of runners, it was well-organized and had corrals so we weren’t on top of each other.
In 2015, the Chicago Spring Half Marathon and Michelob Ultra Chicago 13.1 Marathon merged to become the Chicago Spring Half Marathon, currently part of the Michelob Ultra 13.1 Series which includes races in Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, and Chicago. The Chicago Spring Half Marathon is in May, which I think would greatly help with the extreme heat that I experienced in June, so I think that was a good move on the director’s part. The race starts along Lakeshore Trail near North Lakeshore Drive and only has a rise in elevation of 25 feet, so it’s about as flat as half marathons come.
Chicago is filled with all kinds of fun things to do. My family and I spent a week here just doing all of the touristy things like taking photos of ourselves in front of the “bean” at Millenium Park, going to the Museum of Science and Industry (highly recommend), checking out the Field Museum (also highly recommend), admiring the views from the Skydeck at Willis Tower, and my daughter had a ton of fun playing in the water at Crown Fountain. One way you can save money is to buy a Chicago CityPASS and you can save 53% off admission for up to 5 attractions.
From my post-race notes: “Nice course along shoreline of Chicago, with some shade first 7 miles, but no shade remaining miles; extremely flat with only one small incline. Was very hot the day of the race, however and completely cloudless. Warning flags (due to extreme heat) were on course starting at mile 2. Volunteers were great along course and afterwards. Big, heavy medal, nice technical shirt and rucksack. Large race but with corrals wasn’t too crowded. Usual food and drinks afterward. Cooled my severely blistered toes in the cool water of Lake Michigan. Because of heat, finish time was 5 minutes off goal (had to slow down last 5 miles), but was on schedule for a 2:02 finish before that.” Ha! That last sentence in my notes crack me up! I can tell myself that I was on schedule for a 2:02 finish, right?