Race Recap: Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon

Race Recap: Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon

I really had low expectations going into today’s half marathon, the Rock n Roll in Chicago.  I went in after a few weeks of not training nearly the way I should have been for various reasons, and it was about a million and ten degrees out there.  Okay, the heat is a bit of an exaggeration, but it was still wicked hot.  The undertrained thing though?  Completely true.  Still, I toed the start line fully prepared to finish to the best of my abilities, despite the circumstances.  It might not be the prettiest of races, but I was determined to cross that finish line!  That’s all anyone can ask for, no?

The race started at 6:30am, so Sara and I got a hotel room across the street from the starting line.  Best idea ever.  A 5:30 wake-up call was early enough!  We did get to watch the sunrise over the city, so that was a definite perk!

The bigger perk?  It was so nice to not have to fight Chicago traffic and leave at an insane hour to get down there!  Plus, it left time for cheesy self-portraits.  It’s all about priorities, people!

We headed out of the hotel just a little after 6:00am (only slightly behind schedule) and made our way over to the start line with the masses.  There were thousands upon thousands of people running today!  We found our corral pretty quickly, which left time for more picture taking!  Obviously.

We couldn’t see too much of the city from our corral, but as we rounded the corner towards the start line, we got a great view of the skyline.  I love love love Chicago!

Things started off really solid.  I was keeping a good pace, enjoying the awesome Chicago scenery, and taking it all in.  My biggest concern was really how my knee was going to hold up because those problems have flared up in the last couple weeks.  Those first few miles had me feeling fairly confident.  Running through some beautiful and historic sites didn’t hurt either.

The crowds along the course were fantastic and so supportive!  There were so many encouraging people, cheering on us runners and it was so deeply appreciated.  Once my knee started really hurting, I had a lot of time where I was feeling frustrated and discouraged; hearing positive words lifted my spirits!  There were some great signs along the course.  One claimed that Ryan Gosling was waiting at the finish line.  If only that were true!

The volunteers along the course were equally wonderful!  Water and Gatorade never ran out, and I loved the cold sponges around mile 10 or 11.  That was a lifesaver!  I also had my first experience taking a salt packet.  It has always been one of those things that sounded horribly disgusting, but when salt was offered, it sounded like the best thing ever.  It was still disgusting, but so helpful.

I got through about four mils before my knee started acting up.  For the next couple miles, it was uncomfortable, but manageable.  After that, it started going downhill pretty rapidly.  There were moments I was in tears, I hurt so much!  It didn’t help matters to see runners around me see their loved ones spectating and get so excited.  I wanted someone to see and give me a hug, too!  Alas, there wasn’t and life goes on.  For the last several miles, I was doing much more walking than running.  I was bound and determined to cross that finish line and earn my bling!

My Garmin got a bit messed up throughout the course going under some tunnels, so I’m not entirely sure how accurate all of my splits are, but there were tracking pads throughout the course which are much more accurate.

  • 5k:  36:17
  • 10k:  1:19:06
  • 10 mile:  2:17:32

My final time was 3:09:53.  It was definitely not what I would have liked to see, but given how much I was hurting, I really can’t complain.  In all reality, I should have stopped at one of the med tents along the course like I was so tempted to do, but the stubborn part of me beat out the reasonable part of me, and I kept going.  I did, however, stop at the med tent immediately after the finish line to get some ice!  It was the best thing I could have done because my knee is feeling remarkably decent tonight.

I would hands down recommend this race to anyone!  It was extremely well-organized from the time I walked into the expo (more on that soon!) to the moment I exited the finisher’s station.  Thanks Rock ‘n’ Roll for an awesome race in Chicago!  I’m already scoping out my next RNR race for sometime in 2013!

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