As I mentioned yesterday, we’re heading to Chicago Friday morning for a wedding this weekend. I’ve only been to Chicago once, but me and Chi-town (despite your deeeelishous pizza), we had a very rough start.
I went to Chicago for the first time in May for the Magellan Spring Half Marathon (May 15th). I want you to keep in mind what I just said there, particularly two key words: May. Spring. Got it?
Why Chicago? Well, my friends Matt, Melissa and Michelle are from there. And when Matt and Melissa took up running at the beginning of the year with the goal of doing a half-marathon, I got very excited. I thought, “Yeah! New running buddies to run with! And we’ll enter lots and lots of races, and collect tons and tons of tech shirts, and it will be totally awesome, we’ll be a Running Wolf Pack for EVA!!”
A few months later, Matt and Melissa informed me that they hated running. A lot. And that after the Chicago half-marathon that they had signed up for, they would probably never run again. Suddenly, all my dreams of a Running Wolf Pack began to evaporate. In a panic, and realizing this would be my only chance to run with them, I quickly signed up for my first half-marathon.
I’ve done my fair share of races. I’ve even done a couple of ten milers, including the George Washington Parkway Classic in mid-April. But I had never done a half-marathon. So I threw myself into training and we all did really well in our individual trainings. We felt physically and mentally prepared for the race.
Matt, Melissa and crew (including super-cheerleader Kelly) got to Chicago a couple of days before I did. They said it was cold, and the weather reports seemed to agree. Highs in the low 40s?? Since it was already pretty warm here in DC, I guess we all had forgotten what 40s felt like. Regardless, I made sure I packed a running jacket, some ear muffs and some gloves. Yep, that should do it.
It did not. We made a desperate last minute run to the now-boycotted-forever Nike to try to get some more appropriate running gear the day before the race. The place was mobbed, and fully stocked….with summer running gear. Hardly a parka to be found. And definitely no gloves. Poor Melissa and Michelle ended up wearing gardening gloves purchased at a drugstore.
When we woke up the morning of the race, we tried to pump ourselves up, convincing ourselves that the tiny peaks of sunlight indicated a nice, warm day. Then we got outside and we knew we were in trouble. It must have been in the 30s and the winds were 20-30 mph. With the wind chill, the temperature was (no shit) 27 degrees. Oh, and we were running entirely along the lakeshore, where the winds would kick waves onto us. Oh, and did I mention it was sprinkling the whole time?
We soldiered on and ran the entire race. It was pure endurance and stubbornness. And it was hands down the most miserable running experience of my life. I could not stop shivering after the race and when I took a hot shower, it hurt so bad. I just stood there in the shower for about 10 minutes before I could actually use my hands.
So yeah, Chicago has a lot to make up for.
I’m warning you Chicago: Running Buddy Amy and I are bringing our running shoes this weekend and I’m spoiling for a rematch.