Samantha Guelda is Team LUNGevity’s event manager and an experienced marathoner! Take a look at what she had to say about Fleet Feet’s 2nd Annual Chicago Women’s Half Marathon & 5K below:
With an abundance of races to be run in Chicago it’s hard to decide which to put your money, and training, into. On Sunday June 23rd I toed the line with nearly 4,500 women who selected Fleet Feet’s 2nd annual Chicago Women’s Half Marathon & 5K as their race. To say I was empowered would be an understatement. After seeing so many strong women surround me at the start, hearing shouts of encouragement during the race, and giving congratulatory hugs (super-sweaty-salty-hugs, I should say) after crossing the finish line, I knew I chose a special race.
I meet up with friends I’d made through the Fleet Feet Cheer Team before the race, wish everyone a good run, check my gear and make my way towards the corrals, enjoying the feel of a start line. The first miles, as always, go by fast. The beautiful view of the Chicago skyline to my right and an inviting Lake Michigan to my left keeping me entertained. Just before mile 6 I hear “Hey! How ya feeling?” and turn to see a familiar face. The next 5 miles go by quickly as we chat and get to know each other a little better. I wave her on around mile 10 (I was doing this for fun, remember!) and hold on in the heat the last 5K. With the finish line in sight I pick up my pace as best I can and cross at 1:50:07, a respectable time in my book with it nearing 80 degrees! While the medal is gorgeous, the cold cloth I’m given feels just as good on the back of my neck.
The past 3 summers I’ve been training for a marathon and with none scheduled this year I’m having fun signing up for races on a whim. 5 years ago I completed my first half marathon and listened in amazement to those who were either using the half marathon as a training run or “just for fun”. That’s an amazing moment for every runner; when your long runs become your short runs. Completing the 13.1 mile distance used to be my goal, but when training for a full marathon that 13 mile distance became a cutback week run and, therefore, old hat. True, I’m not running that distance every week but running consistently means I’m able to complete 10Ks and half marathons “just for fun”. So that’s what I’m doing this year and I must say I’m having a blast! -Samantha