Country Sole Half Marathon Race Recap
If you follow me on instagram you know that I ran the Country Sole Half Marathon in Chicago last weekend (October 22)! This post is coming a little late since my life has been a whirlwind lately. I planned on getting this recap up a bit sooner but I was busying having 72 exams (okay 3), projects, and taking my National Boards exam for dental school. I still wanted to write up a race recap from this race though because it was so fun! And…….I got 1st Female 20-24!
I haven’t raced a half marathon since last fall so I was super excited to run this one. I had a one day “fall break” from school on the Friday before the race so I drove home early that morning (after a quick trip to the gym of course ;)). I studied for most of the day after I got home and then went to my brother’s football game that night. I left before half time because it was already 9 p.m., I was tired, freezing, and needed to prep some stuff for the race!
I quickly got my clothes ready, made some overnight oats, accidentally broke my parents dryer (don’t worry my Dad fixed it), drank some tea, and hopped into bed. I woke up the next morning at 5 a.m., drank coffee, got ready, and hit the road by 6 to drive down to the Chicago Lakefront. I was actually pretty proud of myself for not making any wrong turns because I still get confused in Chicago traffic. Lucky for me, it was super early so there wasn’t any traffic!
The race was put on my All Community Events and had a start/ finish line at Montrose Harbor. I loved that there was a lot of available parking near the start line and that the tents were well labeled! I hadn’t picked up my packet yet (ya know bc school), so I headed over to the tent, picked up my bib and cute zip hoodie, and checked my gear. The bag check was super organized and I was so thankful to have used it! I have actually never checked gear at a race before but this was pretty painless!
A quick trip to the bathroom (aka port-o-potty) and I was ready to go. I headed over to the start line because I only had a few minutes to spare. The gun went off and the race was on! They did have some pacers for this race, but the fastest was a 1:35 finish so I decided to go at it alone. I have run with pace groups in the past for the first few miles, but now that I have my own garmin forerunner I just decided to go with what my body told me to do.
I felt pretty strong throughout the race and kept pretty consistent splits. The weather was freezing cold though and it took me until around mile 5 to really warm up! I wore a long sleeve underarmour, a long sleeve dry fit, and a windbreaker. I was so glad I decided to go with all those layers because I am usually pretty cold/ prefer to be warm when running in cooler weather. I could have even used some gloves!
Most of the course was along the lakefront path and close to the water. The course consisted of 2 big loops and lots of turns/ changes in direction which can get a little bit confusing, but all of the race volunteers were great! I did make a wrong turn ….or should I say lack of a turn I was supposed to take at one point, but managed to get back on track very quickly by shouting to the next volunteer I saw. That little mishap only cost me about a minute so that wasn’t too bad!
I can not say enough good things about how great the volunteers were at this race. They all shouted to different directions to take for the different race lengths as you paced by. The course was actually really well marked I am just a little bit of an airhead when it comes to following any sort of direction/ map. The only complaint that I have is that when I tried to get water from the last water station the volunteers weren’t ready with cups out so I didn’t get any but that was okay because I was at mile 12 and almost done anyway.
My parents came to watch the race and I saw them at about mile 12.5 and then cruised to the finish. I was running alone for most of the second half of the race and would pass some people here and there, but this was a smaller race overall with probably only about 300-400 people. I was happy with my performance overall, especially since I was alone for big chunks of the race.
Me coming into the finish…because running pics are always oh so glamorous- ha!
I finished, went to the tent to grab my stuff, checked the finishers board and noticed that I was 1st in my age group! At around the half way turn around I had noticed that there were 4 females in front of me but I wasn’t sure of their ages. I was able to pass one of them before finishing and landed first female 20-24! That was super fun and I got an extra medal! I also ran a small pr of a few seconds, but it would have been a bit bigger if I had made the correct turn.
Overall this race was perfect for me because of how well organized it was and I really did enjoy the course. It reminded me of a time when I ran at Montrose Harbor during my freshmen year when I went to Augustana still. It was pretty nostalgic because there was a part of the course that was the same! It definitely brought me back to that day- I believe it was our cross country conference race.
After the race I headed with my parents to Wisconsin to watch my brother’s football game and then headed back to Milwaukee that night. It was a quick trip home, a quick race, and a quick return to Milwaukee to make sure I could get all of my studying done.
The race offered the cutest zip hoodies & a breakfast of biscuits & beer. And no….I did not have the biscuits or the beer (#glutenfreeprobs also #vegan). I love the hoodies though and have already worn mine a few times- it is so cozy!
Half marathons are one of my favorite distances to race- I plan on doing another one over thanksgiving weekend (aka the next time I’ll be home). I’m also considering running a 5k next weekend, but thats still TBD!
Do you have any more races planned for the fall or winter?? What are you training for?? Do you like smaller or bigger races better??
Let me know in the comments!