Part of the beauty (or maybe “risk” is the better word) for running the March Madness half marathon in Cary, Illinois, in mid-March is that you never know the type of weather you’re going to get. Last year, runners were treated to a nice windy and rainy thunderstorm for their 13.1 jaunt through rural IL, while in the years I had done it (2009 and 2010), both times the day was crisp and bright but cool, around 30s or 40s. This year’s race blew everything out of the water, though, as it was a balmy 60 degrees at the 8:35 start time without a cloud in the sky, no wind to speak of, and nearly 80+% humidity.
I’m pretty sure none of us thought when we were registering for this race on 12/31 that we’d be wearing shorts in mid-March. God bless the midwest (and global warming).
So how was the race? Well, in a word, challenging. This race is tough any day of the week because it’s set-up pretty similarly to the Boston course: lots of downhills in the first half, followed by lots of ascents, and in the mix, some little rollers and not much flatlands. Silly me must have thought I was a novice runner on Sunday, so I went out much too quickly–sub 7s for my first three–and of course, I only got more tired as the race continued, as the sun got hotter, and as my legs got more fatigued from all the ascending and descending. Check out the course map below for a visual.
All told, I posted a 1:41, which was a good 9 minutes slower than my last half at F^3, but I guess it’s also important to remember that F^3 was in flat Chicago and on a day that was barely 20 degrees. I’m not a fan of warm weather or humidity running, so I gave it my best shot on Sunday and tried to run with it (terrible pun, but I couldn’t resist).
One nice thing about running in Cary is that I get to see many of my runner buddies, especially those from the suburbs, whom I usually see infrequently. Below is me with my buddy David C.
After racing and chatting with my buddies, I also got the pleasure of going to see another friend, Laura, and her husband and new baby, since they live relatively close to the race. Here’s a pic of Laura and me chilling with baby Theo on the ground.
Despite the beautiful weather and the lovely time with my friends on Sunday, the day ended on a crappy note, as I ended up spending over two hours at a clinic where my in-laws live to be told that what I thought were allergies was actually “viral sinusitis.” I’m thinking that I had this during the race, too, which could have made going full-tilt even more difficult (in addition to it being toasty and humid and hilly). I hope I can shake this soon, though, as I’ve got a 20-miler staring me in the face on Saturday and the shuffle 8k on Sunday.
Also, interestingly enough, the level of soreness from this race has been unmatchable. On Monday, my body felt like it had just run a marathon, not a half marathon, the day before. My quads were completely trashed–feeling like they had gotten hit repeatedly with a bag of oranges–and I resorted to descending stairs backwards or sideways to make the contact more comfortable. Between the muscular soreness, then, and this illness that I’m sporting, I’m a bit of a mess.
To better health in the next 72 hours…