Thoughts from start to finish:
- Swag bag was pretty light. Cute tank top, but could do without the fliers;
- Took a cab. Drop off at the race was painless and the instructions for how to beat traffic, best time to arrive, etc. were helpful;
- Plenty of bathrooms - that actually had toilet paper (the very least to expect for a women's race)! ;-)
- The corrals were a little crowded;
- Really cool to run down a deserted Michigan Avenue! Because of that, the first few miles were exciting. Once the course headed south, it was still beautiful along the lakefront and Chicago landmarks.
- The course felt deceiving to me though! It felt like you were never going to reach the turn-around point - it was like the lines at Great America - you think you're almost there, and then what, wha?! ugh keep going keep going keep going, the turn-around has to occur at SOME point. The turn-around was literally an about-face, so if you found yourself in a thicker crowd at that point and you were really set on a PR or had a certain time goal, it's something to be aware of as a potential seconds-sucker;
- I thought Chicago didn't have a degree of incline anywhere, so I was surprised to have some inclines along the course (nothing terrible, I just wasn't used to even that little amount of incline);
- You run along the same course coming back north to finish which is good and bad: nice to see the awesome scenery again, but it would also be nice to see more of the downtown area (if, for instance, the course headed west, north, then east to finish, you'd get some cool downtown routes and the buildings would provide better shade (it was getting pretty darn hot along the lake without shade);
- The finish line was the same as the turn-around -- you kept swearing the finish would be right around the next curve, but nope, keep going keep going keep going. I have maybe one (MAYBE two) higher gears I can kick in if I know I'm almost done, and I definitely burned through those a good 1/4 mile before the actual finish, so I definitely felt like I was going to have to throw myself across the line, as opposed to crossing and feeling strong (as I'd hoped). My bad for not paying closer attention to the markers I guess;
- Awesome crowd, tons of encouragement, and a high five from an Olympian at the finish was hard to beat. Cool medal, tons of yummy snack bars, fruit and water.
- The volunteers were truly outstanding - plenty of water and gatorade during and after the race.
- Overall, it seemed very well-fun (no pun intended.. eh, why not - pun intended) and it would be a great race to try and get all of your girlfriends (especially the non-runners) to do together because it was really cool to see a race of mostly women, all shapes and sizes, out there running hard and achieving their goal.