For the first time running a Rock ‘n’ Roll race, I was getting a chance to participate in the Remix Challenge. I’d be running 2 races over the 2 days and get their awesome guitar Remix medal. It seems that the other Rock ‘n’ Roll Races I have run have been a 1 day only events or I haven’t been able to get into town for the first day of racing. Finally that would change! The plan was to run the 5k on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday. The nice thing about running the half on Sunday is that it would be a new state for me as well. All in all it was planned to be a fun weekend. Then life happened though and I actually almost bailed from going. I really was not in the mood to be running and certainly didn’t want to be traveling, but with some help of friends, I figured that it was best to go out and run and keep my mind off things versus sitting at home sulking over things. So, off to Chicago I went!
I was staying with Kathleen about 45 minutes out of the city. We had an early wake up call for the 7:30am race on Saturday. By about 5:30am we were on the road to the city. We wanted to give ourselves plenty of time to grab our 5k bibs and check a bag for our stuff. The plan was then to head down to McCormick Place to pick up our bibs for Sunday’s race. So, our arrival time of about 6:30am was perfect. Kathleen found great parking that was about a 15 minute walk to the race area. Since we got there so early, we easily picked up our 5k bib and checked out bags.
We both wanted to hit the bathroom real quick and we basically had the pick of the bunch. In fact, the one I choose had not been used before. I don’t think I ever had this happen at a race. Since we had plenty of time left, we just went over to Columbus Drive and sat for awhile. It was a pretty relaxing race morning and since weather was cool and not too humid, it wasn’t bad just sitting around. Finally we decided to get up and head to the corrals. I actually got a chance to say hello to Heather and Tom again. I first met them at the Mad Half Marathon last July. We got to chit chat and when we went into the corral, we realized we were going to be at the start of the next corral and right at the start line. I think the first time at a race, especially a Rock ‘n’ Roll race, I was starting right at the line. Even if it wasn’t the first corral, it was still the line.
About 8 minutes after the starting gun went off, Kathleen and I were across the line. My plan was to take this 5k pretty easy. I have been so slow lately, so going out with any speed wouldn’t happen. Going out easy was the plan. I know that sounds silly since it’s just a 5k, but I really wanted to make sure I got through both races in one piece.
For the most part, the 5k course looped around Grant Park, starting on Columbus, down along the Lakeshore Trail and ended eventually on Jackson at Lakeshore Drive. In terms of a course, it was certainly scenic, but being mainly in the park, it wasn’t a wow course. I certainly was glad I’d be running more in downtown Chicago the following day. I understand not wanting to spend the time and money into the logistics of shutting down major Chicago roads on a Saturday for just a 5k race. In terms of hills, I think those were non-existent. The total elevation gain for the race was 19 ft. Can’t really complain about that.
The worst part of the course was the trail along the water front. There were a few times I thought I was going to bite it on the path. They had some cones up, but it didn’t help that people were walking 4 across at points and you had to weave not only in and out of the people but also in and out of the pot holes. At one point we actually saw a couple holding hands and all I wanted to do was run through them. So annoying! If you’re going to do that, then start in the back. Also, let’s just not do that. This isn’t the time for holding hands, unless you’re 6. Then you can hold hands with your parent.
For the race, I did much better than expected. We had negative splits at 11:40, 11:26: 11:14 and 10:07 for the last bit. I was not expecting to do anything close to that. I was thinking I’d be more in the 12:30 range, so this was a nice surprise. It was nice that the weather cooperated as it was 64 at the start and pretty low humidity. I know it could have been quite the opposite for July Chicago weather.
People did warn me that my GPS watch would go crazy for the Chicago race, but I didn’t see it as too crazy for this race. Both Kathleen and I hit the first mile a little early, but it seemed to catch up. I ended up finish at 3.13 miles, which is pretty good for a 5k race I think. I’ve certainly had worse.
After getting our medals and taking some pictures at the Buckingham Fountain, we grabbed some breakfast with Heather and her mom and then went straight down to the expo. You know I love a good expo and usually Rock ‘n’ Roll expos have some good giveaways at the booths. This particular expo didn’t wow me though. It hard every typical Rock ‘n’ Roll vendor like Garmin, Altra (which I LOVE and found a great deal on a pair of shoes!!), Toyota, one of the head band companies, etc. There were a couple of awesome Chicago shirts, but I decided against grabbing them. I actually loved the official course shirt, but it was that darn white burn out material and I don’t need to be wearing a see through shirt like that. If they put that design on a solid shirt, I’d be all over it. Even at that price! Just s shame there aren’t options for that one. I think the solid color is the tank and the Brooks tanks don’t fit me great.
After exploring the expo, Kathleen and I headed to the Navy Pier for lunch. We weren’t there long, but it was a gorgeous Chicago day and perfect weather to just enjoy being outside. After heading back to the burbs, I actually took a quick 45m nap before dinner. We had an early dinner at a place local to Kathleen. Once getting back and knowing that we had a 4am wake up time, I passed out around 7-7:30pm that night. I mean, sheet over my head, passed out on the couch. I woke up around 9pm as I had to go the bathroom and the apartment was dark. Oops! I was tired and was desperate to get as much sleep as I could. I just knew that it was going to be a long day out there on the course the next morning.
Official Finish Time:
145/269 Female 30-34
Disclaimer: I did receive free entry into this race as a Rock ‘n’ Blogger team member, but all opinions are my own.