First half marathon- Chi Town Half

The 2015 All Community Events Chi-Town Half was my second race and first half marathon. I never thought I’d ever run a half marathon, but 12 weeks of training with the Nike+ Running coach program really helped to make sure I had enough mileage logged to feel ready for the race.

This race was early on a cool Saturday morning (I realized after how much nicer a Saturday race is with a Sunday recovery day) in Lincoln Park. The weather was pretty perfect in my opinion, getting up to low fifties with plenty of sun by the end of it.


Chi-Town Half full-zip spring hoodie (I got a small since they were unisex sizing) and medal.

We picked up our race packets at Sports Authority the Thursday night before the race. Wasn’t too busy so pick-up was fast, and we got parking right in front of the store. The race registration cost was $70 (plus another $35 for parking at the Lincoln Park Zoo, yikes, we ran late and couldn’t find easy street parking before the race). Main swag piece- an awesome spring hoodie in a tech material. The zipper seems a little bit flimsy, but I super love this hoodie already. Great for a light weight layer.


The race course went down and up along the lakefront trail starting across from the Lincoln Park Zoo. I was nervous that the course might not be obvious since I had read that there were issues in a previous year and the 10k runners would run the first part of the half marathon course simulateneously, but there were plenty of big yellow arrows marking the course and plenty of people directing us where to go. It was sort of a rough feeling though to have a bunch of people cheering, “You’re almost there!!” at mile 5.5 for the 10k-ers. Splitting off for the rest of the half felt pretty hard core, on the other hand.

I registered in the 12’ corral, but figured I could run at least an 11’ pace so decided to try and stay with the 10:40’ pacer for a 2:20 finish for as long as I could. I fell behind the pacer a little bit around mile 5-7ish, but I really picked it up for the last 5k and blew by her at mile 10 and as many other people as I could, including a guy dressed in a Captain America shirt right at the finish line, which felt pretty great.

I finished with a 10:38’ pace and a time of 2:19:26, right at my goal, despite my Nike+ Running app crashing and leaving me to run on my own with just the pacer (who I believe finished way after me.)

My results:

  • Overall: 1270 of 1793 (29.1%);
  • Gender: 675 of 1072 (37%);
  • Age/gender group: 206 of 298 (30.9%);
  • 6.2 Mile split:
    • Time: 1:07:34.1 (10:54’),
    • Overall: 1403 rank (21.8%),
    • Gender: 764 of 1072 (28.7%),
    • Group: 230 of 298 (22.8%)

You can see from this that the runners of this race were generally much much faster than the Shamrock Shufflers. You can also see that sticking with the 10:40’ pacer put me at a 10:54’ for the 6.2 mile split.

We found out afterward that a broken pipe that flooded part of the course (with sewage I think) resulted in a re-route that added an extra 0.12 miles for most of the participants, including myself. For a total distance of 13.22 miles, my real pace was then 10:33’, woo hoo, and the pacer really couldn’t be blamed as she was likely following her gps splits.

Anyway, my Nike+ Running app crashed (worst timing), but I was glad to know that I was able to run negative splits. I just wanted to run at a pretty good pace for my capabilities (and first half marathon) but also not be super tired and sore at the end.

After party

The post-race party was small and enjoyable with a pretty good cover band and super pleasant weather. We had free Lagunitas beers (YES! good beer!!) and deep dish pizza (good pizza!!), so you couldn’t really beat that. I think the party was actually a shared party with the Deep Dish Dash 5k race that started in the same location about an hour later, so there were actually three courses being run simultaneously - the half, 10k, and 5k.

In short

This was a really nice small and flat lakefront trail half marathon. I think April is a nice time in terms of weather (not too hot) for a half marathon, but training through the winter snow/treadmill was a little rough. I love the hoodie, and the medal has a cool Chi Town skyline and looks much more like a real medal than the bottle opener on a lanyard that we were given at the Shamrock Shuffle. Overall, I’d definitely run it again next year if I can get through winter training.