Race Report: Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon 2013

This is my third year in a row doing the Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon, and this race still ranks as one of my favorites. I love the course (similar to the Chicago Marathon and the Shamrock Shuffle), the crowd is great and the logistics are always handled really well. This year was no exception.

Even though I could have taken the L to/from the race, I didn’t want to ride the train alone at 5am, so I opted to drive instead, and park in our secret $2 lot. However, that lot is a mile from the race site, so it probably took me roughly the same amount of time to get to/from the race, but at least I was safe on the way there and had my own air-conditioned bubble for my stench on the way home.

Anyway. I met up with some bloggers before the race, of course.

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Beth, me, Eric, Sara, Xaar’s man, Xaarlin, Pete, Chris

I checked my bag, took one look at the long port-o-potty lines, and figured it was a good chance to take advantage of VIP, which I had access to for the race. Still port-o-potties, but at least there was no line, and I could wash my hands with soap and water. I also grabbed a bottle of water, which I ended up carrying with me for the first half of the race – keeping it in the back of my bra.

I spotted my F’N friend Amanda before heading to the corral.

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I also ran into Nicole in the corral, but we both checked our phones, so no pic.

I didn’t really have a goal for this race. When I registerd for the race (in May), I was still in PR shape, so I put 1:50 as my expected finish time. My training has fallen way off since then, and as raceday approached, I knew I did not have a PR in me. But, I still wanted to do my best, whatever that was. And have fun. This is a fun race.

I ran past Dave between miles 1-2. If Instagram is any indication, he definitely had a fun race.

I started conserviatvely, and just ran a pace that felt good. Based on heart rate, I knew I could run faster, but given my minimal training, I didn’t want to get cocky. Eventually around mile 4, I felt warmed up. I saw Erin spectating around this point and zipped over to say hi, and I think this was also when I got too sweaty to keep my water bottle in the back of my bra without it slipping out. I carried it for awhile, finally ditching it by mile 8. Wouldn’t you know, having my hands free actually felt good.

If you’ve ever run this race before, you know the second half of the course is not as fun as the first. You head out of downtown, it’s sunny, and you just want to be done. At least that’s how I felt. I was trying my best to stay cool – drinking water, pouring it on my head, running through every hose that was turned on runners. It helped, but it’s still July.

Somewhere around mile 10, I ran into Eric on the course. I think we were both ready to be done. I even asked him when registration opened for the Soldier Field 10 … I feel like 10 miles is the perfect race distance. Of course if 10 mile races were as common as half marathons, I’d think 15K’s were perfect.

Around mle 12, I ran into Nicole. Normally she is faster than me, but she ran the Twilight Half Marathon last night. She said she would try to keep up with me for the finish, but eventually I was keeping up with her.

My Garim said I finished in 2:04:48. Definitely not a PR, not even a course PR. (And I feel like last year was more miserable in terms of heat and humidity, but I was marathon training.) But my time was pretty on par for what I’ve been doing lately. Actually, pretty good for what I’ve been doing lately.

I slowly made my way through the post-race area, got my bag and headed over to the VIP area to check out the food. It may have been the hunger, but that I had some damn good bacon.

View from the VIP area at #RnRCHI #latergram #sofancy

View from VIP 

But I had to leave the cushy VIP area to find friends. (AKA … the common folk.) I found Annabelle and Declan, but we couldn’t find anyone else. No worries, that’s enough for a classic port-o-potty pic.

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Then I got home and pretty much did this for the rest of the day.

Also what I've been doing since getting home from #RnRCHI

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31 Comments on “Race Report: Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon 2013”

  1. Glad you ran it comfortably! The 2nd half was rough when there was no shade for miles. Live to run another day!

    I hope they gave you bacon mints too!

    Glad I found you at the post race meetup! we were wandering around like predators/creeps. Glad you took time for us peons! lol

  2. Thanks for chatting with me for a bit there on the course. I was about ready to phone it in and nearly did after I lost you in the tunnel. I walked most the last mile. I was not feeling good at all.

  3. I ran RnR in 2010… HATE the back half of that course… They should reverse it so you have sun coverage for the end not the beginning.

    Congrats on the race!

  4. Nice job out there! I loved following along for everyone’s adventures on Twitter and Instagram. Although, I enjoyed following along from my couch in my air-conditioned house, drinking a glass of water and eating cheetoh’s. (Welcome to my weekends.)

    I’m glad it was a fun race. What kinds of things were included in the VIP tent?

    1. VIP included food before and after the race. Before I think was granola, yogurt, fruit, coffee, water, juice. I ate oatmeal before leaving home, so I just grabbed a water. After the race they had chicken, veggies & dip, caprese sandwiches, eggs, bacon (OMG SO GOOD), sausages, potatoes, fruit and water, juice, coffee and probably pop. Maybe beer, I didn’t check. The food look good, but I only felt like eating potatoes and bacon. They had private port-o-potties with a portable handwashing station and also sunscreen, hand lotion, tampons, etc. Tables (with umbrellas for shade) and chairs for eating/relaxing. I think they said there was private gear check, but I didn’t use it (regular gear check lines weren’t that long, plus regular gear check was closer to the finish).

      1. Oh what a sweet deal! I was in the VIP area last year but too dehydrated and out of it to really enjoy it. I did my interview with Dr. Andy Baldwin and left without enjoying much of the perks. I’m totes jealous and I hope I get to enjoy the full experience next year!

  5. That 2nd half was brutal in the sun and no shade and hot pavement of lakeshore drive. But at least that stupid McCormick place tunnel had lights and loud music… So water bottle in the back of your sports bra? I must try this!

    Congrats on the race!

  6. Sounds like a great day. Love how many bloggers you ran into over the course of the run. I have only done the RNRhalf once and thought it was pretty great.

  7. I agree on the tough second half. Sounds like you had a great race – glad you could enjoy yourself even if it wasn’t the race you initially had planned for.

  8. Water bottle in the sports bra, eh? Not a bad idea on days where it wouldn’t just slip out immediately.

    I’m glad you had a good race and VIP experience! Like Kelly, I was following along at home in the a/c (though sadly, without any cheetos to snack on).

    1. I saw one from Declan but that was it. I didn’t even see the one I made for myself! Declan said the board wasn’t even operating when he went past.

  9. The 2nd half was brutal, but I loved the music and lights in the McCormick tunnel. Hope to see you at another blogger meet up soon. 🙂

  10. Great post! I had a rough race myself. I was drinking, dumping and gagging on the water! OMG the tunnel, I am petrified of tunnels, the strobe light made me want to crawl into fetal position…but then I would still be in the tunnel haha. Love all your pics!

  11. Sounds like you had a solid performance! I think last year’s was hotter/more humid, too, but this year’s race felt pretty gross, weather-wise, to me, too. You’re absolutely right; the second half of the course is kind of a bummer, mentally, until you get to McCormick Place (the tunnel mixes things up a bit) and by Soldier Field. I’m glad you had a great time and it was really nice to meet you in person! 🙂

  12. Agree that the 2nd half of the course is not as nice as the 1st half, but what a 1st half! Anyway, glad you kept the port-a-potty picture tradition alive! 🙂

  13. Congratulations on a fantastic race!!! For someone who claims to not be very well trained, you did AWESOME. Marcia said that she saw you at the VIP tent so I am sorry that I missed you there. The food was SO good indeed, especially post-race!!!

  14. Unfortunately, they were running low on water/Gatorade for us back of the packers. I did giggle because the “Race Guards” circled me and my partner virtually the entire race. This is a “one and done” race for me. The race price is pretty steep. Packet pickup was inconvenient (each person had to pick up his/her own) at $21 to park (that’s steep for this S. Suburbanite). I, too hated the back half. I kept saying that we should be running North on Michigan because that’s how the marathon ends. The saving grace was the trip to Sugar Bliss cupcakes afterwards.

    1. I agree, it is a pretty pricy race. I was able to take the Metra from downtown to the expo and back, so that wasn’t too expensive, and I parked in a $2 lot (although I had to walk a mile). But I still feel like this is one of the best races in Chicago (up there with the Marathon and the Shuffle), but a great course and smooth logistics seems to come at a price.

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