XSport Fitness Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago 1/2 Marathon, 2011 – Recap

chi town ski line

 There’s nothing like getting up at the butt crack of dawn in a cool city and knowing you are about to run a race with 15,258 other people. The excitement, the nerves, the butterflies – LOVE it all!! Even when I am quite not ready for a race and honestly still a little hung over from Friday night. Darn those tiki drinks! It was nice not to have the full marathon pressure with this race though. It was only the option of a half marathon so I wasn’t running with other who were running a full and looking over at them and being jealous. Most of the people who were running weren’t taking it all too seriously and seemed to be having fun. And since it was my first one there was no pressure to PR basically because I had none. In the lobby in the morn, talking to the concierge around 5:15am and complaining about why Starbucks isn’t open that early I met my new BFF, Ramon. We hit it off right away, talking about SB and running and turned out to be in the same corral.
 

BFFs - until we met Lor

 So we said our goodbyes, goodlucks and see you at the finishes! One of my favorite part of races is standing at the start listening to the National Anthem. The overwhelming and emotional feeling that you get is indescribable. I felt so lucky to be there at that moment taking in the Chicago skyline and being able to run. Lucky to be alive… blessed for the opportunity and determined enough to do it. Not to mention strong, brave and fearless (might as well throw those bad boys in there too) – why not!? I would normally save those words for the 26.2 but pending an unprepared race, I had to muster up all I could get!
 

race start

 
 
 
The race started off well, although I did notice a LOT of people running out of the gate as if it was a cattle shoot. Passing everyone and flying by people. I knew I’d be seeing them later, walking or passing them in a few miles.The first few miles for me were tough, I thought to myself “whose idea was this again” – oh yeah mine! And why did I drink that last beer, tiki drink and mai-tia on Friday night? Mile 6 started to feel good… I was definitely into the groove and started to get a good pace and pick it up. I saw Lori and Greg at mile 7 – just when I was getting a little down and tough. Seeing them gave me the extra boost that I needed to kick it into gear! You always say you don’t care what your time is but I knew I had to finish in under 2 – done and done. Not great time but I feel good about how everything panned out.
 
 

chicago baby

 
 
The weather was decent, cloudy and not too hot. We even had some rain along the way which felt good and cooled things off a bit. One of the stretches of the race that I didn’t like was going under the tunnel at McCormick Place. It was super hot and dark – very hard to see your footing and I almost ran into a few people. Here’s a running tip though, don’t check people out while you are running because you WILL loose your footing and or knock into other runners. 😉 – just a thought.
 

amazing

 
Mile 10 hit and I decided to really pick it up. There were a few little uphill spots at 10 and then again at 11 and 13. Not sure why the race designers always put hills in at the end, but whatev. I showed them. Another thing that made me a little nervous was running over some of the bridges. You could literally see down to the water and the metal was very easily caught in your sneakers. If you weren’t being extra careful (ie. not stopping to take pictures) you could have wiped out!
 

back into the city

 
 
Overall the Rock and Roll Marathons do a great job at organizing and providing and excellent experience. There were probably about 6 or 7 bands along the way. Not sure where they got the number 13 from, but you fly by as you are running and get excited listening to the music. We didn’t stick around to see Bret at the end but I did see a few spectators and runners dressed up like him which I thought was pretty RAD.
 

ride da bull

 
 
We didn’t stick around for MGD64 because it started to rain (don’t worry we made up for it later) – but we took some fun pics on the way back to the hotel and got iced bathed showered up for some restaurant hopping in the afternoon. First stop Bandera for the most amazing chicken sandwich I’ve ever had. And on to more food… desserts drinks and fun.
 

chix sammie and beer

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