Chicago Rock n Roll Marathon: My Best Race Ever

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 encouragingSmile

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!Smile 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? Winking smile 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 friendsSmile

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! Winking smile


3…2…1…crash. I’m going to migrate to the couch for the night, my friends. Thanks for “listening” to my race recap!Open-mouthed smile

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!! Open-mouthed smile

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  1. Soo @ Little Miss Fitness says:

    Whoo-hoo, Paige! Way to go, girl! I’m so happy for you! I love when races are actually…fun. :)

    My favorite scenery to run in are shady neighborhoods with cute little homes and a lot of trees.

  2. Ahhhh-congrats!!!! You rocked it! You deserve a hot bath and a massage

  3. stephanie says:

    congrats!! you are so awesome!! I’m so glad you enjoyed the race and did so well!! I hope you get lots of good stretching in tomorrow, I can’t imagine being in a car for 3 hours after a race!

  4. 2:04 IS SO GOOD! Congratulations on a new PR, girlie :) I’m so proud

    Oh, and awesome breakfast selection– a bagel & peanut butter is my FAVORITE to enjoy before a race. Perfect fuel food

  5. Way to go Paige and Bronwyn:-) Love the pics of Chicago

    Favorite race…Arsenal Island with awesome river scenery in Rock Island, Illinois. The Bix in Davenport, Iowa has awesome crowds, but just starts on the river, no water after that except for the hoses. But any place along water or woods with shade is perfect.

    Favorite race fuel…definitely bananas/peanut butter and skim milk.

  6. Congratulations on an amazing race!! My post race meal of choce is IHops harvest nut’n grain pancakes! My husband always treats me after a race! :) Way to go girl!!

  7. Congrats on your awesome race! I’m so glad your new method of marathon training worked out. I was born in Chicago and we go back every year to visit, so I loved hearing about all the great sights. Chicago is my favorite city in the world, so I feel like that would be awesome motivation to run a great race. Loved hearing all about it!

  8. Wow! Awesome job!! You deserve all the snack mix and drinks that you can cram! Hopefully, you won’t be hobbling around tomorrow.

  9. Yayy! Congrats on the PR, awesome! :)

  10. You did awesome, congrats! And without a ipod – WOW!

    I like run/bike on trails but a few races I have done through downtown areas are pretty cool too!

    Drinks lots of water, eat lots of protein and stretch, then do yoga the next morning.

    Does iced coffee count as road trip food?! haha

  11. Yay! Awesome job!!!

  12. Congrats on a great race!

  13. Awesome job Paige!! You rock!

  14. That’s an awesome time! Nice race!!
    I wore a spibelt for the first time during my only half too, loved it!
    I think the water is my favorite scenery. It never really gets old for me.
    Hope you have a good recovery. I could barely walk for 3 days after! Probably should’ve iced in retrospect!

  15. Congrats Paige! That’s a great race time.

    I think running by the water always works to get me pumped up too. I have run a couple of half marathons in San Francisco and just seeing the bay helped me speed up.

  16. Congrats!! I love reading race posts, they are so motivating! It makes me so exciting for my first half next February!

  17. Way to go! That time is amazing! :)

    I like running with a view of the mountains, or sunset. This may make me a creeper, but my all time favorite running “scenery” is at night when I can see inside peoples windows. I like to see how they’ve decorated.

  18. WOOHOO! Congratulations, Paige! It was an absolutely perfect day for running in Chicago and you rocked it (pun intended, haha)! :)

    Brunch looked like a lot of fun, too. I wish I could have been there but look forward to meeting up in Chicago again sometime soon!

  19. I think that my favorite part about road tripping is that you get a chance to eat all of the gas station foods that you wouldnt normally eat. I used to love stopping on road trips because it always meant that I was allowed to get whatever I wanted. I usually chose starbursts or something sour as I was NOT a fan of chocolate! 😀

  20. Wow. Amazing time! And with no iPod…did you end up singing any songs in your head?
    Unfortunately, last time I got stuck with a Britney Spears song stuck in the ‘ol noggin.

  21. Congrats! I’ll never run with my worn out bones, so I’ll live my marathons through you! 😉

  22. CongratsCongrats!! love the phanny pack…btw! I love LARA bars or trail mixes for the road :)

  23. Congrats again, Paige! You did great!

    And yeah- I’m always a wee bit loopy after long races like that. I always feel the need to apologize to everyone because I’m really trying to concentrate, I just can’t!

  24. Congrats on such a great race!
    I really like to mix up where I run but usually stick to parks and quiet streets.

  25. Just heard on the Today Show…The weather man who lost so much weight, Al Roker, ran the Chicago R and R yesterday too in 3:02:06. Gongrats Al. He’s broadcasting from Chicago right now:-)

  26. Congrats, P! You did awesome! Good job, Bronwyn! – you girls kicked butt and still looked great afterward! I am proud of you, P- and what a great time! :)

  27. WOW!!!! SO SO SO proud and impressed by you!! 2:04 is AMAZING!!!!! LOVE IT girl!!

  28. AWESOME job! I haven’t run that race before, but if and when I ever do a 5th half mary…it’ll be that one!! Props to you, girl!

  29. Congrats!!! Great job, Paige :)

  30. That is amazing! Great job :)

  31. Congrats on the awesome time! I’ve always heard really good things about that race, and it was so lucky that it wasn’t super hot this year! So great catching up again- we need to get you guys to a Cubs game or something so you have an excuse to come back up soon! :)

  32. go paige go go go pagie :) whoooo hooowaaah! best race eva :) dont ya just love Chicago ???? well i also love your fannypack… call it what u will… but tis a fannypack! :) haha xoox

  33. I love running in neighborhoods. I like looking at all the different houses and frequently get ideas for my own house.

    Congrats on the race!

  34. Wow, congrats on the new PR! Great job!!

    My recovery after long races/endurance events consists of tons of stretching, an ice bath, and the best part: refueling :)

  35. Hi Paige! What a great race, congratulations! I introduced myself after the race, towards the exit. Fun to meet you in person!

    • Hey Amanda! I’m glad you commented – when you left I was thinking I wish I would have asked if you had a blog:)

      • I just started my blog, literally writing the first post last week even though I reserved the domain a while back. I ran into Amy (Second City Randomness) @ Trader Joe’s and she inspired me to get it up and running!

  36. Way to go on your race!! I ran it too..unfortunately I did not have a great race but I am glad you did!

  37. Oops, how did I miss this?! Congrats on the PR! Looks like a fun race; RnR does a great job!

  38. awesome job on the run!!!!

    wooo you are getting speedy :)


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