Monday, July 20, 2015

Rock n Roll Chicago Half {2015}


After work L and I ran to McCormick place to the RnR expo. Although it was 90+ degrees out, running to the expo was a much better decision than dealing with a cab or CTA.

We got our stuff and I took the obligatory cheesy RnR finish line shot.

We also ran into Emmers and continued to take cheesy photos.

We sweated out our souls on the runs to and from McCormick.


We joined some good friends for their annual Beer run. We hit up 5 bars and ran between them. On our way from Beer Bistro to Goose Island we got caught in a downpour. It was so fun. I also made sure to stick with radlers and gose/Weiss beers of low ABV.

Post beer run, we cleaned up and went to a surprise birthday party at Northdown. I had a few more light abv beers (needed to stay hydrated for Sunday's half!) and we ate Pork Frites.


Race day.

Time:  1:53.19
70/1278 AG 5.4%
355/7171 Women 4.95%
1089/12025 OA 9.05%

Positive splitted the shit out of this race.
Mile Time Cumulative pace Segment pace
2 mi 16.45 8.22 8.22
5K 25.48 8.19 8.13
10K 51.52 8.22 8.40
6.9m 57.45 8.22 8.47
10m 1:25 8.30 8.47
11.8m 1:39 8.23 7.46
13.1 1:53:19 8.38 10.55

We left our place at 5:40 to walk to grant park. It was warm. We took selfies to pass the time.

My plan for the race was to go out around 8:00's and just cruise through the course. I picked low 8:00's because my goal half time in perfect conditions would be about 25 seconds faster, and I knew with the heat, I would run a bit slower. I took off and hit the first mile in an unremarkable 8:15. I felt hot already. Second mile clocked in around 8:20. I started dumping water on my head at the first aid station and continued throughout. After the 2nd mile I abandoned any pace "goals" for the race because of how I felt. (I like to go into a race with a plan- but 100% of the time that "plan" can be amended).

I felt hot. Sweltering. I took a gu around mile 4 and continued dumping water on my head. By mile 6 I was done. I didn't want to run any more. This wasn't fun, it was awful. I seriously considered just walking home since I was very close at this point. The thought of an additional 7 miles filled me with an absurd amount of dread. Mile 8 I took another gu and continued regretting ever signing up for this. I love the heat- and don't mind running in it because I can run by perceived effort and not give 2 shits about my pace. Sunday got to a point of it not being enjoyable at all.
{at the start- Meb's pace group}

I high fived cheerleaders and spectators which always makes me smile big. I hammed it up for the course photogs and consequently have a load of photos of me which I'll probably buy.

But for most of the race I was questioning why I do this. Why I run longer races. Why I train for stuff like this. Since I had a lot of time to think I came to some conclusions.

I do enjoy getting better at distances after putting work in. I love seeing forward progress.

I like structure of training plans.

I genuinely love running.

I am ambivalent about races currently.

I can workout and feel good without races.

I no longer need races to "motivate" me to run.

I am happier without the stress of races in my life right now.

Around mile 12 I saw a golf cart coming back on the course. I first thought it was for a runner needing medical assistance. But as it got closer I heard folks cheering. I realized MEB was in the passenger side giving high 5's and encouragement to runners. I stuck my hand out and we connected for an epic hand stinging high 5. Immediately after I was overcome with emotion. I was so done with this race and also was happy to see Meb. It was super conflicting. As I crossed the finish I was so relieved that it was finally over.

After sitting on the curb waiting for L to finish I thought more about running and racing. It's so easy to get consumed and carried away with this shit. And for me, I like balance, and the way I get about races- even ones without time goals like this one makes me feel icky. I go all in with races. I like to do my best- whether a PR effort or just running a smart race like I did for this one.  And I do this all for what? Another mediocre race time or medal that will get put in a shoebox? It's time to take some steps back from racing for me for now.

And the race was well organized like always. The cold sponges around mile 10 were delightful. The course sucked especially on the out and back portion around mile 9-11. I absolutely hated running through the McCormick tunnel, like always. Going from sunny to dark and dank with potholes is always bad.

Post race we met Emmers and our friend Cris for brunch. We enjoyed eating outside with Cb keeping us company.

Post brunch we went to the bar and had a few celebratory beers to rehydrate. And CB became that douchey bro in the bar who picks fights with people. (He was barking at an older sweet dog who was also in the bar)

Post race we took a long nap.

Then we went to dinner on a rooftop.

We had an amazing time drinking amazing cocktails, eating locally sourced food and making new friends.

It was the perfect end to a very busy weekend.



  1. Great job gutting it out. I ran 7:50s for the first 6ish miles, got the worst cramp of my life in my hamstring , and dropped out. I am disgusted with myself for not slowing down more. You are a warrior!

  2. heat is rough! I used to do every race that I could, but lately I don't feel that need. It has turned into more of a social thing for me and I like to be able to run with other people sometimes and push myself but they aren't as exciting as they used to be. Great job positive splitting the shit out it! :)

  3. That is so cool Meb was giving out high fives. He seems so awesome. I hope I can make one of the fun runs he does in the city some day.

    I bet almost everyone felt this way about this race. It was horrible conditions to be running in (I bet you would have felt better had it not been so humid - that was probably cause of most of the discomfort!). But you did really well, and your positive splits weren't horrible!

    But definitely don't race if you can't enjoy without going all out! That IS too stressful! Although, I think you would enjoy a fun half with me. Where we just chat and bs and have a good time ;) Just sayin'

  4. Congrats on the Meb high-five. Did you have a chance to remind him of the time you guys got a picture together in 2009? :) He paced the 1:30 group!? Ugh, I might have been able to do that, although based on the conditions I probably would have flamed out halfway through at that pace. Based on my shakeout run Saturday morning (before I decided to DNS), I had already decided that 6:50s were too fast and was looking at 7:00+ for the first few miles to see how that pace felt before deciding whether to speed up or slow down. My guess is that I would have dropped down to 7:30s and tried to hang on. Anyway, I was generally excited about the course, but that out and back portion is kind of lame, something that I would expect from a smaller race, but not one that runs through downtown Chicago. It is like they were trying to eat up miles in a remote part of town. Also, it would be nice if they could somehow avoid or demolish the smelly, dark, potholey tunnel! Anyway, glad to hear you ran smart a and survived the race and also scored a top 6% AG finish to boot. Nice. A neighbor who ran it said she saw more than one person collapse due to the heat/humidity. I think I will still try it again next year, even though I know it will be a struggle. Congrats again.

  5. That humidity was KILLER out there. Way to push through! I am still blown away by you getting to high-five Meb - COOLEST THING EVER. As always, it was so great to see you and to do post-race celebration together! I LOVE that picture of you and the Nesquik bunny - you should make it your new Facebook profile picture. =P