Second Sunday in September — time for the annual Chicago Half Marathon now in its fourteenth edition (and I have been running it in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 making this and the JPM Chase Corporate Challenge the races I’ve run most often). And the course was altered this year, alongside with an earlier start as the Bears have their season home opener today. So we started north towards 57th, then running down to 67th, turning east towards the lake at around three miles — and having the remaining ten miles along the lakefront running up to 31st (the usual turn) and back down to 63rd. I like this course better; let’s hope it sticks.
Race conditions were fantastic. We had a rainy and gray day yesterday but today is pure bliss. Temperatures around 60 degrees at the 7:00am start, no wind, sunshine and not a cloud in the sky.
The race itself went well. I had a pretty brutal running year suffering most of the time from some archilles tendon inflammation. It has gotten better in the last few weeks possibly thanks to some heel cups I now put in the shoes. But I had exactly one run longer than ten miles since the Boston Marathon. So I lost a lot of speed, as well as endurance and was a little nervous as to how I’d do. And considering all this, it went pretty well. I fininished in 1;41:50 or a 7:47 pace. While is easily the slowest half in a number of years, at least I got to run it evenly, pain free and with a negative split (== faster second half) and some gas left for a fast last half mile or so. So maybe I don’t have to retire from running just yet. We’ll see if I get some speed back in 2011.