Post Half Marathon Reflections

I have so many different thoughts relating to my experience training for and running the Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon!

Me & My Medal!

I’ve received a lot of questions about the race, ranging from what I thought about my training plan to whether or not I noticed any changes in my body or appetite while I prepared for the race.

I figured I would break up my thoughts into segments, since I have a lot to say! Hopefully this will allow you guys to read whatever aspect you’re interested in, or just scroll down, ignore everything and enjoy some pictures. To each their own!

I. My Training Plan: I comprised my training plan using a hybrid of many plans and intended to follow the long run distances recommended by Hal Higdon’s plan. (For those of you unfamiliar with half marathon training plans, most recommend doing one “long run” a week where the runner gradually adds one mile to the long run each week.)

I created the plan I did because I didn’t want to run more than three days a week. I love strength training and wanted to keep up my normal weights routine which included BodyPump classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I found that the plan I created worked really well for me! I didn’t feel too burnt out on running by the time the race rolled around, and on race day I felt adequately prepared.

After Running the Final Run of My Training Plan

My training got sidelined a little bit when a bruised heel set me back three weeks. I intended to tackle a 12-mile run before the race, but only managed to cover 10 miles. Going into the race this definitely concerned me. Fortunately as I was running the half, I felt powerful and I didn’t feel too fatigued after the race.

Overall thoughts: I loved my training plan and would follow it again.

II. Training as a Whole: While I didn’t feel overwhelmed by all the running, I didn’t enjoy feeling like I had to run. That was probably my biggest complaint throughout training. If I woke up in the mood to take a spinning class on a day I planned to run, I didn’t like forgoing my exercise desires to stick to a plan. I really missed including a variety of different cardio exercises in my day-to-day workouts.

Overall thoughts: Feeling like you have to run is kind of a bummer, but eventually I learned to just suck it up and get out there. I always felt great once a run was over!

III. My Appetite and Body Changes: It may seem odd to some, but I actually gained weight while training for the half marathon. My weight gain wasn’t crazy and wasn’t something I worried about at all. I attribute my small weight gain to the increase in my appetite I experienced during training.

More Fo Yo Puh-Lease!

After I began running distances longer than eight miles, I noticed that I felt hungry more often.  On long run days once my appetite returned (I’m never hungry within an hour of running), it almost seemed like I couldn’t eat enough and all my body wanted was carbs. Of course I listened and made sure to refuel properly, but overall I definitely felt hungrier during my training. After talking to many runners, I found that I’m not the only one who wanted to eat everything in sight after a long run! Apparently running for more than 90 minutes will make some of us out there want to eat our hands!

Overall thoughts: I felt hungrier during my training and noticed some body changes, but nothing dramatic in the least.

IV. The Race Expo: The only other half marathon I completed was a small one in Orlando (the OUC half in 2007), so this was my very first race expo! I thought it was great and enjoyed learning a lot from the running-expert vendors. I also loaded up on free samples which always makes me happy.

At the Race Expo

Overall thoughts: Super fun and lots of good free samples!

V. The Race: I cannot say enough wonderful things about the Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon. I enjoyed this race more than I ever could have imagined. The race had bands playing energetic and lively music every 1.5 miles or so and spectators lined the entire course.

Ready to Ruuuun

The course itself was wonderful and meandered through downtown Chicago so runners were able to really take in the feel of the city. The last four miles of the course took runners along Lake Michigan. It was great to feel a slight breeze and run toward the city skyline. Talk about motivational!

There were also water and Cytomax stations located frequently along the course, so hydration was never an issue.

After the race it was easy to get my belongings from the gear check station and people really seemed to enjoy the post-race beer garden and concert, though my friends and I opted for some deep dish pizza. 😀

Overall thoughts: I loooooved this race!

Question of the Afternoon

  • Have  you ever run a half marathon or a full marathon?
  • If you haven’t run one, not do you have a desire to one day?