Chicago Rock N Roll Half Race Recap

July 23, 2012

I know, you’ve all been DYING to hear my race re-cap, right? Ha, right. Well here it is for some Monday morning entertainment! p.s. anyone want to come give me a massage? Sooooore this morning, and Molly wasn’t so helpful when I asked her… She just laid on top of me and requested that I pet her.

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The Chicago Rock N Roll Half Marathon was Sunday morning, starting at 6:30 am. I was up at 5 am and immediately started the coffee and got ready. I made up a piece of Udi’s bread with PB and 1/2 of a banana.

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Unfortunately, I didn't eat it sitting there at the table… I ate in the elevator and outside because there was definitely not enough time to take Molly out after her breakfast and eat my own without doing it all at once! I thought I looked crazy, but then I saw how many still drunk or walk of shame people were out that early…

I checked the temps and was pretty happy, this is better than I expected, although very humid!

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My cousin had ordered a cab so I headed outside when she said she was on her way. We took it downtown and got to the race at 6am… lol much earlier than we’d hoped. We like to show up right before start time. Oh well, we took some photos and used the bathroom.

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Aaaaaand then I realized that I had forgotten my headphones. Seriously!?!?!? Ahhhhhhh. I was annoyed. It ended up being fine, except those last 2 miles I REALLY could have used some music to pump me up and distract me from the pain and severe desire to just stop.

Here’s a map to get an idea of the course:

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(source)

The race started pretty quickly and we wound our way through River North, back into the loop, and then out west. Just after mile 4 was a water stop so I had my first gel at that point. This one I had kept in my sports bra and it was so warm… ewww. Did you want to hear that? I’m sure you did.

We headed back into the loop and then finally turned left onto Michigan Avenue around mile 7. This turn onto Michigan was my favorite part of the whole race. There were TONS of spectators and I got so pumped up! I love people, these kinds of things show me that there really are good people in the world – anyone who’d sit out there for a glimpse of a loved one and cheer on all the runners is a good person!

After this point… things went downhill. The miles started passing much more slowly since there were very few spectators and the bands were pretty far apart. I just kept moving my feet! Around mile 9 there was a water stop where I took my second gel (NOT too warm! Or I just didn’t notice at that point?) but I ended up with some serious nausea from eating that and drinking water all at once. I kept going through and we eventually hit a turnaround for the last 3 or so miles back up north.

My second favorite part of the whole race was running through the underground of McCormick Place, the big convention center where the expo was held. It was a dark tunnel almost 1/2 mile long and there was a DJ blasting some pop song. I pretended I was a character in Mario Kart and that this was a speed blast tunnel where I could go super fast! and I did! Haha tricking my mind!

Once I got out of that tunnel, everything went SO BAD. I kept up my pace, but let me tell you, it was HARD. It was SO. HARD. I knew from all the other bloggers that I follow that the last part of a race is a mental challenge and I kept reminding myself of that. As much as I was dying to just stop running, I kept pushing it and even got faster and faster by the end.

Eventually, I made it past that finish line and was SO relieved. I was completely exhausted and dehydrated, I actually had a medic come up to me and walk me to the water. I almost just sat down right there after the finish. Luckily the water (and a free Jamba Juice smoothie!) made me feel a lot better.

I also got some free Chobani! I was so excited to see them at the race:

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I eventually found my cousin, we took a cab home, and I finally could drop all my stuff and breathe. I was so proud of myself for pushing through!

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Plus I had the adorable Molly to greet me! (She ran the race too…)

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She was already home and napping by the time I got back. She’s much faster.

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I got my results back and found out that I PR’d from my half on April 1st by 44 seconds! Haha. Well, since it was much hotter I’ll definitely take it!

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Concluding thoughts:

  • I need new running socks. I have about 7 blisters just on my toes on one foot. Really? Plus I wanted to rip them off my feet around mile 11. They were toooo hot!

  • Sponges soaked in cold water are awesome. Especially in the last few miles of a very humid half marathon.

  • Towels soaked in freezing cold water at the finish line are almost as good. Almost.

  • Starting out slow and building up speed works. It doesn’t mean I won’t still want to die in the last mile. It just means I will want to die while running an 8:00 min/mile pace rather than a 9:30 min/mile pace like last time.

  • People make the best race signs. Read them. You’ll laugh, a lot.

  • Appreciate the spectators and say thank you to the volunteers. The race would suck without them.