I had a wonderful time at the Chicago Monster Half-Marathon yesterday, and I managed to execute my plan pretty well for a while. I was a few minutes behind my goal pace at mile 4, and resigned myself to a new plan, in which I would NOT break 2 hours, but would enjoy myself and the beautiful city I was running in. I was thinking of this race like a 10K, and was sure I wouldn’t have enough time to make up my pace. Turns out that 13.1 miles is a long way. My friends Zosia and Jason overtook me before mile 5 and they were running faster than the people I had settled in with. Immediately I joined them, pushed a little, and found myself back on track by mile 9. I was feeling unstoppable at that point, so I left Zosia to chase after Jason, who had escaped earlier, and that was where I made my big mistake. I caught him shortly before mile 11, and ran hard with him for a few minutes – but I had overdone it, and dropped back with ITB pain and sort of hobbled in the rest of the way. I did make my time goal, finishing in 1:58:19, but I surely am tired and sore now. We’ll see how long my recovery takes this time around – I do know that I enjoyed this race more and for longer than I did my previous half-marathon effort, and I think I could have finished stronger if I hadn’t foolishly gone so hard between miles 9 and 11. It’s hard to resist the impulse to run fast when I feel so good, which seems to be a big part of the challenge of distance running.