Today I ran the Chicago Rock n Roll Half Marathon, and it was, by far, the best race I’ve ever run.
It started out early – at 4:45 a.m. with breakfast.
The race start was at 6:30, and we had a cab come to get us around 5:30 which gave us just enough time to hit up the potty one more time and get in our corral. We were a little aggressive in our corral time (1:55 I think) but it made a world of difference at the start line since there was virtually no lag time.
I don’t know why I ever dreaded this race!! It was spectacular! If I ever got tired, I looked up and around me at the gigantic city buildings. If my hip was giving me trouble, I looked to the sun peaking over Lake Michigan. And if my stomach was threatening me with rumbles, I looked out at the Sear’s Tower peaking up into the clouds.
All of those factors made the Chicago Rock n Roll Half Marathon my most favorite race ever. But you know what the icing on the cake is?
I ran it in 2:04:09!!!!!!!! That’s like, better than a 9:30 pace! You may know that I’ve run two half marathons before this, the first with a 2:12 time, and the second with a 2:14 time. This time around, the most I ran on my long runs was a 9 miler, while most were 8 miles. That said, I still can’t believe it. I’m still in shock! I credit it to the amazing views, multiple bands, and PLETHORA of spectators and crowds. that blanketed the 13.1 (actually, 13.6 according to my Garmin) course through the city and along Lake Michigan. The energy was insane.
I started out running it with my cousin, Bronwyn, who has been dealing with a nagging Achilles tendon and shin splints. Unfortunately, they both flared up pretty early on in the course, so we split up around mile 3 so she could rub some biofreeze and tend to her sore tendons.
I was a little worried, running alone and without any ipod at all (my first race without,) and was a little worried about Bronwyn, too. However, all of the sudden, we passed mile 5, then 6, and then 7 and I was more than half way done. I was keeping up a 9:15-9:30 pace somehow and the group I was running with was great. We kept cheering each other on saying things like, “over half way there!” and “we can do this!” and then “now’s the time we can speed up!” It was very encouraging
I ended up eating a pack of beans around mile 7, and got an extra boost. I pulled a rookie move and wore something I’ve never worn before on race day – a Spibelt!
(sorry for the crotch shot!)
Luckily, it turned out to be a godsend because I stored my phone and sports beans in there and it held perfectly! The only drawback was that it put some pressure on my bladder which made me think I had to use the restroom, but I fixed that by moving it around so the actual pouch part was on my back.
Once I got the bladder situation under control, and passed mile 7, I told myself just to make it to mile 10, and then I’d figure out what I would do then. Good plan, eh? haha. Luckily, mile 10 was right as we were turning onto Lake Michigan again, and then sun started to peak out (it sprinkled and rained on us from miles 4-10) and it was just what I needed to push me through to the end. Before I knew it, I was in the chute to the finish line!
I’m so glad I had my phone, too, because it was a MAD house after the race. I called Shane and he promptly came to where I was, and we headed back to meet up at the fountain for the others.
Shane and me
Buckingham Fountain (Married with Children Fountain)
My cousin, Bronwyn and me!
After the race, and after changing clothes in the bathroom, we all headed to Stanley’s a brunch buffet place, to chow down on some grub and drink some bloody mary’s. Here, I was able to meet up with Amy, Megan, Nikki, and Laura for brunch!
Sorry for the crappy photo quality. I honestly didn’t think about taking any pictures here because I was hungry/tired/loopy/out of my mind. I’m lucky I remembered this one! It was so fun catching up with Amy and Megan, who I met at the Healthy Living Summit last year, as well as meeting some new friends
After a couple hours, we all headed out (well, I limped) and Shane and I went back to Dom and Bron’s house where we steady dropped on the couch for a good 45 minutes.
Kickin’ back with coconut water.
Bronwyn was throwing a fundraiser for the American Brain Tumor Associate later on, and Shane and I went back and forth on whether we were going to go, but in the end decided we should probably skip and go ahead and head home. Shane has to work early tomorrow morning, and we had a good three hour drive home. Enter: road food:
Because apparently, the cool way to recover from a long race is drinking a bloody mary and eating filled junk food!
3…2…1…crash. I’m going to migrate to the couch for the night, my friends. Thanks for “listening” to my race recap!
What’s your favorite scenery to run/walk/bike in? The woods? A trail? Along the water? In a city? Elsewhere?
How do you aid your body in recovery from an endurance event?
Favorite road trip food? I probably should have gone for a banana…
Have a great Sunday night, folks!!