The Rock N Roll Chicago 1/2 marathon is one that I keep returning to, year after year. Not because timing is great for me (its my momma’s birthday weekend EVERY year). But because my friends & family love this race. Since I moved away from the Chicago area, this is a great excuse to come back & reconnect with some people I rarely get to see, plus Aby loves this race. Its always been my MO to go where my friends go. Racing with friends is always more fun!! And for anyone under 30, MO is “method of operation”. Apparently that’s not a common acronym at this point in time. I was just informed the other day that Aby has NO idea what that means (and I use it pretty frequently).
Aby, Nicki & I hit the expo on Saturday at McCormick Place. Always plenty of parking at McCormick. Easy in and out. We even received discounted parking this year which was a bonus!! Plenty of vendors. A couple photo ops.
Having to go downtown for the expo is a perfect excuse to enjoy the city by walking around, having a late lunch & Aby usually insists on ice cream. Ghirardelli’s anyone?
Race day starts bright and early to try beat the summer heat & humidity of the Midwest. We got downtown around 5:15a for a 6:30a race start. Temps were probably in the 70s and not nearly as hot & humid as normal. Thank goodness!
And we are ready to ROCK! Nicki for the 10K. Aby for her 3rd half marathon & as for me, well, I was just there to have fun. I’ve probably done 30 some half’s at this point. Not my race distance of choice currently but Chicago offers a 5K, 10K & half marathon. Great for the whole family & a great girls weekend where there is something for everyone! I particularly love races that have multiple distances so its more inclusive for runner friends at all levels!
It took about 2 miles before I realized that I was going to have to say goodbye to my “little” runner girl. Aby had a poor buildup for the race. Lack of motivation after losing her favorite running partner this summer!! But race day brings magic and well, she was ON FIRE.
Good bye, girl. I must admit, the miles kinda slogged on from that point. I wasn’t tired or hurt but had just come off the IM 70.3 Muncie the week before and I was facing down 2 half ironmans within the next month. I didn’t want to put too much effort into this race. I want to be healthy and that means that I can’t give it my all every time I hit the pavement. I’m at that point in life, and age wise, where I have to train smarter, not harder. So I slogged thru the miles. Slowly.
The course winds thru the streets of Chicago. I’ve ran the race several times at this point so I know the course. The spectators were concentrated at key intersections but it was otherwise a pretty quiet day. Like a training run with lots of friends!
Highlight was that I knew I had a chance of seeing Aby around mile 9, where there is a short out & back on MLK Drive between miles 8.5 & 9.5. So unless she had gapped me by over a mile, which was a real possibility, I had a chance of spotting her. And had I been even a few minutes slower, I would have missed her. But I saw her briefly, shouted “great job” and she shouted that she was going to try to “break 2”. I said, “Go get it!!” and she was off again. She broke 2 on her 3rd half marathon! 1:56 for her!!!! Great job, Aby!!!
Once we finished the out & back on MLK Drive, we head toward McCormick Place & the last 3 miles of the course. There is always a giant inflatable Brooks Running guitarist at the 10 mile mark. Happy to see him, as usual. Then on to finish the race!
Aby was flying high from her new PR. We all agreed that the race was great. Well ran. Plenty of aid stations. Lots of places where the City of Chicago had opened hydrants to cool off runners. Amazing volunteers, great course support, great crowd/traffic control. Overall, if your going to run a race in mid July, in the heat & humidity of the Midwest, this is one of the best. Thanks Chicago for continuing to support the Rock N Roll Marathon series & their quest to bring one of the best running races to Chicago, each and every year.
SWAG – Gender specific technical tee & race medal below.
Next up, the Ironman 70.3 Ohio. So I’ll be back next week to tell you all about that race. Have a great weekend & I hope you ROCK your runs, no matter how big or small, at whatever distance YOU love!
** Rock N Blogger – Amanda – TooTallFritz **