Sunday, August 14, 2011

Race recap: Rock n Roll Chicago


I went into this race just hoping for the best- whatever that was.. With the lingering calf/shin problem that has been around since the end of may, I was just praying to finish the race pain free. The past few months I haven't gone over 30 miles for a week of training. This week, I didn't even do yoga at all :( I felt exhausted and drained all week and managed a 3 mile and 6 mile run this week. That's it.

Rolled out of bed before the sun woke up and wonderful, wonderful and I made the mile trek over to the start area. I was seriously nervous for this race. I was worried about my tummy having issues because pasta dinner the night before sits like a brick in my belly,and I was worried about my injury (it still rears it's ugly head occasionally- and isn't 100% healed), and was nervous about hitting my "A" goal of 1:50 for the half, which would get me into a seeded corral for the Chicago marathon. I knew it was possible, but with the minimal amount of training I've done, well, I wasn't too confident.

My garmin mileage was whack for this race because of a tunnel in the first mile, and also someplace near the end where it goes under the McCormick place. Other times during the race my pace would read 14:00+ minutes and a mile later would read 6:00 which I assume is because of the tall buildings impeding satellite reception. For this reason, I have no mile splits. From the official results, I know I did negative splits. It's the way I train, so I'm happy I was able to accomplish it for the race.

I took off with the 1:50 pacers and felt pretty good. We were hitting nice even 8:19 splits. I took water at every aid station- about every other mile. Drank 1 cup and dumped the other on my neck. I was soaked by the finish. Around mile 5?, I looked off into the distance and saw some crazy scary black storm clouds and thought sh$t, hope there's no lightning. Just before mile 6 I took a jet blackberry Gu about .15 from a water station. It had 2x caffeine and was a nice pick me up for the rest of the race.

About mile 7 I just started to push more and more and eventually lost the pace group. I kept looking over my shoulder to make sure they didn't pass me at a water stop- otherwise I'd have to haul butt to catch them. I think by now I was starting to hit some 8:05ish miles. I was on cruise control and felt pretty darn good. I started doing the math in my head at each mile marker to ensure I was still on pace for a 1:50 finish. After 9 miles of being on pace I couldn't let it slip away. Chariots of fire came on my iPod and I nearly cried. I was going to make my goal, the goal I wanted so bad since I signed up for the Chicago marathon back in february. Eminem's "loose yourself" came on a few songs later and I must have listened to it 5 times during the last couple of miles. It was a straight road to the finish and the finishline didn't seem to be getting closer. I kept pushing on and would look down so the finish didn't seem so far away. I crossed the line and cried.

This race meant so many things to me.

-a nearly 5 minute PR. I love me a PR.

-a surge in confidence after the last 8 weeks nursing this injury. I am doing things right and will continue yoga and slowly build mileage back to my routine.

-a seeded start in the Chicago marathon.

-a goal achieved and beaten. It feels damn good.

I am also so proud of my wonderful wonderful for finishing, even though he cannot train much due to his crazy travel schedule.

Rock n Roll Chicago thoughts:
-extremely well organized. Many aid stations, volunteers were smiling. Thank you!!

-loved loved loved the downtown course. It was reminiscent of shamrock shuffle, with about 8 more miles..

-the weather was perfect. Maybe 62 at the start, cloudy and some light sprinkles. I was so concerned it would be 95 like it was a few weeks ago.

-the 6:30am start was early, but welcome. Get it done before it gets too hot. Have the rest of the day to celebrate.

-popsicles and cold towels at the finish. Awesomeness.

-the crowds. It was packed with spectators in the second half. Loved the crowd support.

I would do it again. The RNR events are pricy, but worth all the pennies because they are run very efficiently.

Celebration followed our finishes.

Kettle chips with bleu cheese from hackneys. A nice long nap completed our afternoon.

Congrats to everyone who ran today!


  1. Congrats! I love the medal and the tee. Very nice!

  2. Congratulations, girl! And most importantly, I am so glad your shin was okay - what a huge, huge relief.

    I am addicted to Lose Yourself, too. It always give me a little push when I need it.

  3. Great recap! And I didn't realize your PR was so big--5 minutes is amazing!

  4. Congrats on the PR! I didn't have a chance to comment on your last post, but I was pretty sure that you would reach your goal, barring any re-occurrence of your calf injury.

    Sounds like the race went perfect! I think that's a great idea that they started the race at 630 to avoid the heat. I'm starting to like races that start early for this reason. Starting a marathon after like 630 doesn't seem very smart to me.

    It doesn't surprise me that the emotion flowed for you during the race, seems like you have had an up and down training cycle with the injury, congrats!

  5. I got goosebumps reading this! Especially the part where you said you crossed the line and cried, I love that overjoyed feeling of a great accomplishment. I'm so happy for you, this is so great!

    October will be awesome for you. It seems like the yoga is a great benefit for you as well right now. 8 weeks, can you believe it?

  6. Holy crap girlfriend- you are AWESOME!!! Nice job getting a PR and rockin' (no pun intended) it like no other!!

  7. You rocked this race! I loved running through downtown Chicago. I know it was an expensive race but I'll definitely do it again next year. 8 weeks.... eeek!

  8. So awesome!! I wish I was that fast!

  9. SO PROUD OF YOU!!!!
    I've been missing from the blog world, so apologize for just reading this, but I am SO happy for you. Congrats on kicking butt on your goal, I am totally not surprised. You have such a strong, determined heart.

    OK not to mention that I LOVE your photos. You look so cute. Great shoes too. The 'pee' photos is hilarious, love it.