Finally, my recap of this amazing race weekend! It’s been just 10 days since the race but with so much going on, it seems like a lifetime ago! Buzz about this race started several months ago when a number of bloggers started discussing plans to come to Chicago and meet up for race weekend. A few of them asked them if I would be running but alas, I was scheduled to work 12 hours on race day, and my husband and I had tickets to the Cubs-Cardinals game the day before.
Now, a little bit of background on the race and a few things you might not know about me (just scroll down to get to the race recap if you prefer):
First, I suffer from some serious FOMO. And by FOMO, I mean FO. MO. The more talk there was about the weekend and the longer the list of bloggers traveling in for it grew, the more I wanted to join in on all the fun. It was as if I was being invited to the biggest party of the year with all the cool kids and I had to say no. So when a work colleague texted me and asked about a schedule switch, as in “can you work for me on Tuesday, July 24th, and I will work for you on Sunday, July 22nd (race day)?” I happily made the trade. The wheels started turning in my head. Could I go to the Cubs game on Saturday (and miss out on the blogger meet-up fun) and then do the race on Sunday? I’d have to think about it.
Now the second thing you might not know about me is that I can’t pass up a bargain to save my life. So when RnR announced race discounts available through 11:59 p.m. on Global Running Day (June 6th), I thought I’d check it out. The first discount to pop up was $10 off for the Las Vegas race in November (which is regularly priced at $155.99). Sale, schmale. I scrolled down to Chicago and saw it was being offered for $50.99, which is $60 off of the regular price of $109.99. Now that’s a sale! Still, I debated.
While I suddenly found myself available and I suddenly had the opportunity to register at a great price, I was super-intimidated to tag along with these somewhere-around-two-hour-half-marathoners, given the fact that I am a nowhere-around-two-hour-half-marathoner. Fingers tapping, mind reeling, FOMO calling, I started the registration process. And just for kicks, I typed in the $15 discount code I’d seen floating around…and it worked! That’s right, folks, I registered for RnR Chicago at the low-low price of $35.99! Still not fully committed, I figured snagging this bargain basement price was worth it, even if I wound up not running the race.
As race weekend approached, I still hadn’t told anyone I was registered for the race. But as plans for brunches and dinners started to solidify and invitations to join in the fun continued to roll in, I had to make a decision. My youngest son happily took my Cubs ticket, which freed me up on Saturday to meet up with the group for brunch. My middle son, who lives just seven miles from the race venue, just as happily (or so I think) said I could stay at his place on Saturday night so I wouldn’t have to deal with the hour commute into the city on race morning. So with no legitimate excuses not to run this race, I was in like Flynn!
Registration was through the Active website. Since I already have an account, the process was quick. As is my usual M.O., I did not train for this race. Technically. I did run/walk Grandma’s Marathon on June 22nd and the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon on June 15th. My own Cliff’s Notes version of training. While I signed up for the race on June 6th, I didn’t fess up to the group until six days before the race that I was in. I drove into the city on Saturday morning and met the bloggers group for brunch at Beatrix. Several of them had run the 5K earlier that morning, so it was great to hear about their experiences. It was so fun meeting everyone in person! Lots of hugs and even a few teary eyes were had by all. Everyone was so nice, and we all agreed it seemed like we’ve all been friends forever. If you’ve read any of the recaps of the race in the past week and a half, you’ve probably seen this photo, but it’s worth sharing again!
In case you missed them, you can click on everyone’s names for their recaps of race weekend:
Brunch lasted into lunch with many laughs and a few mimosas along the way! Several of us drove to McCormick Place for the expo where we picked up our packets, visited some vendors, did a little shopping, and had some photo prop fun. I met another blogger, Lindsey, who is a fellow BibRave Pro. You can read her recap of the RnR half here. We also got to meet Kathrine Switzer, who was as gracious and kind as anyone could be, spending time with each of us, taking photos, and giving us her autograph.
After the expo, I dropped Kimberly off at her hotel and headed back to the ‘burbs to have dinner with my mom. I didn’t get home until 4:30 p.m., only to turn back around and head to my son’s house in the city at 9:00 p.m. He left me a key since he and my youngest son were out for the evening. I chilled for a bit, got my race stuff together, and hit the hay at around 10:30 p.m. I didn’t fall asleep until almost 11:30 p.m., and then heard one of his roommates come in a little after midnight. I fell back asleep after a while, only to have my phone ring at 1:50 a.m. It was my son, whose roommate had locked him out of the house. So much for staying in the city to get a good night’s sleep!
I ultimately woke up at around 4:30 a.m., had a little to eat, and headed to my SpotHero parking spot, just 2 blocks from the race venue. Attached to the building was a 24-hour Dunkin’ Donuts, so I went inside and had some much-needed coffee before walking over to gear check where we planned to meet up for a group photo. Lindsey found me right away, but with the time ticking before the start of the race, we didn’t get to see most of the other bloggers. I did run into Wendy and Holly just as they made their way from the porta-potties to the corrals. I couldn’t find my way to my own corral, so I pushed myself into the first opening I could find and saw Michelle and Kim and her mom, so I went and stood with them while we waited for the race to start. Shortly after, Deborah joined us. The four of them were running the 10K.
Just when the first corrals started to move, it started to rain. Super duper. Did I mention I’ve never run in the rain? I did have the foresight to wear a hat (I never wear hats) and after several minutes of steady rain, I decided to put my poncho on and take advantage of the photo op. We moved forward and made our way to the start line, and then we were off! I decided to run with Deborah at the start of the race. Except for the great company, I was happy to see we split off for the half marathon and 10K just before the one mile mark, since I knew I would never be able to keep up with her.
The race route is familiar to anyone who’s run in Chicago before, a bit of a mini-version of the Chicago Marathon. Unfortunately we didn’t have much time running along the actual lakefront, but given the weather, it didn’t matter much. It pretty much rained the entire time! I’m not very good at recapping mile by mile anyway, but with so many recaps out there, suffice it to say it was 13.1 miles and it pretty much rained the entire friggin’ way. The skies opened up with about three miles to go, and I just kept on moving forward. While I realize that GPS data is pretty sketchy in the city, I do believe the route was long, based on my time and effort at the very hilly Napa to Sonoma the week before compared to my time and effort at the flat RnR. Boom. Recap done.
I was completely drenched by the time I crossed the finish line, so I just grabbed my medal (which was unceremoniously handed to me with the ribbon wrapped around the medal) and a water and I was on my way. I saw bananas and crackers were being given out, but I don’t know what other post-race food there was. I didn’t bother to find the beer tent, as it was completely pouring at that time. I did take a minute to have someone snap a post-race photo, and then I headed to my car where I took off my running shoes, wrung out my socks (literally), put on my flip-flops, and walked in the pouring rain to Cochon Volant Brasserie for another great brunch with my blogging friends. I also got to meet Erica from Erica Finds and her friend Melissa.
Overall, this was a fantastic race experience, not so much because of the race itself, but because of the fantastic weekend meeting up with my (no longer) virtual running friends. As far as the race, this was my first experience running a Rock ‘n’ Roll Series race. They are expensive, but I was lucky to nab an incredible discount on my registration fee. To be honest, if it wasn’t for the opportunity to meet up with the other bloggers, I’m not sure I would have run this race. The expo was good, not fantastic, but I was happy with what was there. It was a special thrill to meet and talk with Kathrine Switzer. I’ve read many complaints about the finishers’ shirts running small, but mine fit perfectly well (and I bought my usual size). The race medal is awesome!
Have you ever run a race for the weekend experience, rather than the race itself? Yay or nay on the Rock ‘n’ Roll race series?