A common suggestion from friends and the marathon books I've been reading is that to get prepared for the size of the marathon and the details of running an organized race it would be a good idea to run a smaller race ahead of time. This last weekend, my planned 14-mile training run coincided with the Chicago Distance Classic half-marathon, so I signed up.
As an experience, it was a blast. Erica came along to cheer me on, we got to run on city streets and Lake Shore Drive, I got a medal with a penguin on it, people handed me water just like you see on TV, etc., etc.
As a run... it was OK. I didn't get a lot of sleep the night before (stoopid 6:30 am start time) and I think I was a little enthusiastic out of the gate and ran a little too hard. I ended up with a ton of knee pain starting at mile 11 and did a fair amount of walking in those last two miles. My "chip time" for the 13.1 miles was 2:29:40, which means I finished 6504 out of 8720 finishers. I've been trying really hard to not care about time and concentrate on finishing, but as I was hobbling though mile 12, the 2:30 pace group caught up to me and I decided that I didn't want them to beat me to the finish line. So I hobbled a little faster and beat them by 20 seconds. In your face, 2:30!
Best t-shirt I saw:
Front: Length: 13.1
Back: That's what she said.
Best supporter sign:
Run like you stole something
Least helpful supporter, who I think thought he was being helpful, around mile 10:
"C'mon runners, c'mon. There are plenty of people already at the finish line."
I carried my little camera with me on the run and grabbed a few shots along the way.