Chicago was a challenge for me. I knew about the hill at the start of mile 7. I had mentally prepared for it many times. My splits were good up to mile 7 as well. So what happened? Needless to say it was steep, very steep. It felt like I was running up 5 flights of stairs! I walked in the hydration station at the top of the hill and started out again. My times were a little lower (around 10 min miles), but I was happy with it. After all what I thought was the toughest part of the course was behind me.
Around mile 9, I could feel my body wanting to slow down. I made sure I had my GU and my liquids, but I was physically starting to feel tired. As I kept running my left foot started to hurt. I had been concentrating so much on the hill at mile 7 I didn't realize the end of the race was an uphill climb! I was toast. I would try to jog but then half to walk. All the while, my left foot was hurting. My foot will be fine. I just need to take a few days off then I can start running with more of a routine. I ran in my Kinvara's and I had never gone that far in them before so maybe my feet weren't ready. Oh well.
I finally made it to the finish line. People were running by me as I was jogging, and I didn't care. I just wanted to finish. I knew I was close to a new PR so I kept pushing. I made the new PR by about 1 minute. It doesn't sound like much when you consider I ran 13 miles, but if you remember the hill at mile 7 and the incline at the end, then I'm very happy with it.
I'm so happy about it I'm considering returning in July to run a different half marathon. It is almost in the same area, but with two major differences. First, there is no 100 ft elevation change! Secondly, this course only changes about 20 feet over the entire course - it's flat! I wonder what my time will be on this. Humm.