The race itself didn't start until 7am, but I wanted to get there early (I'm always terrified of being late) and don't have a car, so I woke up before the sun was out to make sure that I had all the time I needed to make it to the race.
|It was early, you guys. Really early.|
When my first alarm went off at 4am (I had two alarms set, just in case I slept through the first one), I got ready for the day ahead. I washed my face, brushed my teeth, got dressed (I made sure to have everything I needed out and ready last night), fed Hannah her cat food (she was freaked out about the change to our morning routine), and fed myself a light breakfast (a piece of toast with almond butter and half a banana). I made sure I had everything I needed, and then I was off!
|This is my "Holy crap! It is sooooo early!" face|
|Hello, creepy and empty train platform.|
Everyone got off the train together and walked over to the race. It was incredibly easy to find, being right downtown in Grant Park.
|When in doubt about which way to go, just follow the other runners.|
|Good morning, Chicago!|
|I watched the sun rise over the lake. It almost made me want to always get up early enough to watch the sunrise.|
My first stop (yes, even before gear check) was at the bathrooms, which were conveniently close to the starting area. I haven't done many races, but I think one of the most important pieces of advice I've ever been given and I can ever give is to find the bathrooms right away and make a pit stop, even if you don't think you need to. There is nothing worse than running an entire race (even a short race) while needing to pee.
|Waiting in the line for the bathrooms.|
|Let's do this!|
|Corral D - aka my home until the starting line.|
The other runners were also clearly excited. There was cheering as the fast folks came whizzing by us, heading back to the finish line. There were high fives and shouts from runners to other runners of "You got this!" and "Looking good!" and "Keep it up!" It was a really great experience. The camaraderie and support among the various runners and the volunteers was really inspiring and helped make the morning incredible.
The first aid station (and only aid station for the 5k) was still well stocked when I got there. I did slow down and walk a bit while I drank some water once I hit the aid station. The day was beautiful, but it is summer, so it was hot, humid, and the sun was shining bright. There was little to no shade on the route, and by the time I hit the aid station I was already getting a little overheated and felt a headache coming on. I was struggling with the 5k, so I can't imagine what it was like for those running the half marathon. I just hope that all of their aid stations were well stocked, too.
|Look at all those runners!|
|The only thing better than a banana after a race is a chocolate covered frozen banana.|
|Free stretching and injury screens? Yes, please.|
|Thanks for the fun morning, The Magnificent Mile Chicago Women's Half Marathon and 5k!|