Happy Wednesday! Today I’m linking up with Annmarie from The Fit Foodie Mama, Jen from Pretty Little Grub, Michelle at Fruition Fitness and Nicole from Nicole from FitFul Focus for Wild Workout Wednesday!
This will be a long post so buckle-up! This past weekend I was lucky enough to head back to Chicago for the second year in a row for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago 5K and Half Marathon. I love this city and was so happy to go back and see some of my running buddies!
Rock ‘n’ Roll Expo
We arrived late Friday morning, checked into our hotel and made our way to the Expo. I won’t do a separate recap on the Expo because most of the Rock ‘n’ Roll expos are very similar. As usual, bib and t-shirt pick up were super-duper easy and there were no lines! I thought that the shirts were super cute this year!
We walked around the Expo for about 30-45 minutes. I purchased some really cute running shirts and a Rock ‘n’ Roll pint glass. I was proud of myself for not going overboard at the Expo, even though there were some REALLY cute Brooks apparel items that I wanted to pick up! I also stopped by the Pro Compression booth and met the awesome Suzanne – she was such a sweetheart! After leaving the Expo we took the train back to our hotel room, ate some dinner and then headed off to bed for the 5K in the morning!
Rock ‘n’ Roll 5K
The 5K race began at 7:30 a.m. and it started and ended in Grant Park. The route was WAY different than last year’s route! Last year the race ended along the lakefront. It was about 1000 degrees and it was literally SO damn hot to run by the water at that point in the race. This year the route ran along the lakefront in the beginning of the race. It also helped that the weather was pretty good (I didn’t start to get hot until the end). I actually felt great during the run and clocked my fastest 5K time of the year (sub 31). That’s still way off my PR time but I’m happy with the little victories this year.
BRAG ALERT: My mom also ran the 5K and came in FIRST in her age group! I really wish that there were AG awards for the 5K so that she could get a plague or something. She has placed in her age group before, but this is her first win 🙂
After the race I ran into Diane (@runninrocker). I absolutely love meeting new people, especially friends from IG. She was super sweet!
After enjoying our beers and chatting for a while we headed back to our hotels. I was very happy with the 5K race. There was a water station about halfway into the course. The course never felt crowded and the medal was SO awesome!!
#WeRunSocial Meet Up!
The #WeRunSocial Meet Up was held on Saturday afternoon at The Bean. Can I tell you how excited I get for #WeRunSocial gatherings? I LOVE this crew, LOVE LOVE LOVE and I always appreciate meeting new people and making new friends – and this meet up did not disappoint! Check out all the fun in the photos below!
After the meet up, a few of us went out to Lou Malnati’s for deep dish pizza. We had over an hour wait so we killed some time just chatting.
When we were finally seated, the food was long worth the wait! We all felt like little piggies, and were completely stuffed by the time we left, but it was so worth it!
I enjoyed chatting with everyone and learning more about them. I believe this is how you go from IG friend to “real life” friend. I find that it’s so easy to build friendships with other runners! After indulging in too much pizza, we all parted ways to our hotels to get ready for the half marathon in the morning.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon
After an early (4:45am) wake up, it was time to rock the half marathon. We made a pit stop at The Bean to take a few photos and then it as was off to start in our corral. We had discussed running the race together but since I was the slowest runner in the bunch, by a lot, I declined, lol. I didn’t want to hold anyone back. A runner I had meet the day before at the meet up, Lacy, offered to run with me since she was just coming back form an injury as well. Lacy was totally my running angel during the race (you can read more about it here). Basically both my IT band injuries flared up and my runner’s knee started to act up toward the end of the race. I was miserable from mile 6 until the end of the race. I took way more walk and stretching breaks than I care to admit. I was hurting, bad, but Lacy stayed with me until around mile 12. I felt bad for slowing her down (especially the last few miles) so I told her to run ahead and that I would meet her at the finish. I just want to take this moment to thank her again, she was so nice!
On Monday I was still thinking about why I was in so much pain during that race. I took a look at the mileage on my shoes and it was around 450 miles (!), so basically those sneakers are now retired lol. I’m sure that may have added to the pain, but either way I’m going to JackRabbit Sports on Saturday morning (after the NYRR long run in Central Park) for a gait analysis and to see what they recommend. It may be that I need a new type of sneaker. I’ve been running in Mizunos for almost 2 years, but it may be time for a change.
As far as the actual race course, it was awesome! You run through most of downtown, past many landmarks. The course is primarily flat and the crowd support is awesome! The music on the course is fun and the volunteers rocked the medical tents and water/Gatorade stations. I’ve done a few Rock ‘n’ Roll races, but this one ties with San Diego as far as the energy of the city. There’s just something about running through a city with that much positivity. The weather was also great – much better than last year! It was overcast and humid, but I much prefer running in that type of weather vs. 95+ degree heat! Literally as soon as I got my medal it started raining – actually pouring! We were all advised to run for cover so I hung out with a few runners underneath trees. It was a little scary beccause of the threat of thunder and lightning and the race was suspended for a little while (maybe 20-30 minutes), but luckily the runners that were still on the course were able to finish the race!
And just like that, the weekend was over 🙁 I probably averaged around 5 hours of sleep a night, so I was pretty exhausted by Monday, but the weekend was so much fun. I don’t think I’ll be back next year, only because I want to explore new cities for my runcations, but I HIGHLY recommend this Rock ‘n’ Roll race. Chicago is a great city with tons to do and see so it’s a great long weekend getaway.
Have you ever visited Chicago? What’s your favorite city to visit for running or racecations?