Two weeks ago, I led a team of runners to Chicago to run in the Rock N Roll Half Marathon with Team Not Alone. It was a super fun weekend, and I came home worn out!
We arrived in town on Friday morning and hit up the race expo. It wasn't the biggest expo I've seen, but we got some free samples and breezed through it in about an hour. I was pretty disappointed that this was my second Rock N Roll event this year, and it was the second time I got a thin white tech shirt. I've always been pretty up front that I think the Rock N Roll races care more about making money than providing a lot of quality for the runners, and this is one example. Could they not spend a bit more to get a red shirt with white writing as opposed to the white one with red writing we got? I digress.
Then I led a friend around to do some sight seeing, including lunch at the Navy Pier, wandering Michigan Avenue and checking out the sights of downtown Chicago.
I stayed at Steph's on Friday evening, and she was super awesome to host a small dinner party. We ate, we drank, we talked and laughed... it was a great evening with her friends.
On Saturday, we slept in a bit before lunch together, and then I headed downtown to check into the Hotel Monaco (which was beautiful and awesome and I highly recommend it if you need a hotel room in Chicago). I held our team meeting and gave out goody bags, etc. Then, several of us grabbed dinner and headed to the Sears Tower.
I had never been up in it, so it was neat to get to play tour guide to some friends but still get to do something new that I haven't done before.
We made it back to the hotel a little later than is ideal the night before a race, but I was just running for fun so it was all good.
After about 5 hours of sleep, we were up and heading to Grant Park for the race. When we glanced up and saw that NO ONE was at The Bean (which I have never seen happen), I had to run up and get a quick pictures.
We all met up at the start line, and Laura and I made a last minute decision to run in sports bras. It was already pretty stinking hot at 6:30am! The team got to chat a bit, and then it was time for the race to start.
Laura and I ran the whole race together. I may not like to run a lot of Rock N Roll races, but considering I was just running for fun I don't have a lot of complaints on this one. I felt like the water/Gatorade stops should have been every single mile since it was so hot (at first they were every other mile), and I was also disappointed they didn't start having Gatorade at them until after the first few stops. It was HOT, and I felt like that should have been handled differently.
The course was similar to the Chicago Marathon course for the first few miles, so it definitely brought back a lot of memories. I was thankful it was flat, too.
We were doing well and holding a steady 10:00 pace until about mile 10 when we were both hot. I could tell we were both fading a bit as we were slowing down and taking a little longer to start running again after walking the water stops. We also weren't talking as much, haha. Nonetheless, there is something to be said for having a friend at your side in a race. We really pulled each other along.
Here is our after photo... once we got some water, chocolate milk and a Jamba Juice in us.. and sat down... we were a bit more smiley. You can't really tell in this picture, but there is not a dry spot on us. You would have thought we had jumped in a swimming pool at the finish we were so sweaty.
All in all, it was fun to get to run another race in Chicago as it is such a great city to run in!
We went back to the hotel to freshen up and check out before making our way to Gino's East for some delicious deep dish pizza. Steph and another friend joined the three of us so it made it even more fun!
The above picture also happened. I have no idea anymore what was so funny. Or maybe I was just tired and dehydrated and the one pint of beer I'd had while waiting on pizza had gone to my head.
After lunch, we rode out to Wrigley Field to see the famous sign. This was something else I had never done, so it was neat for me, too!
That evening, Laura and I took one of the architectural boat tours on the river. I had done this about five years ago, but since it had been a while it was really neat to do it again.
Then we walked over to The Bean since she hadn't seen it yet.
We finished our night at the Navy Pier and rode the Ferris Wheel. I have never been on it before, so that was fun to do one more new thing in a city that I visit several times a year.
If you're paying attention, you've noticed I never took a nap. I was exhausted. I crashed HARD that night.
The next morning, this happened.
The waitress brought it to me and said "that's a lot of food." I ate every bite.
I did some work at Steph's (since I had stayed there Sunday night), and then got cleaned up and made my way to her office. I joined her for lunch, and then it was time to get to the airport to fly home.
I was worn out for a few days after this one. Not only did I run a half marathon, but I also played tea captain and tour guide to several people. And walked a LOT. And it was sunny and hot all weekend... which I prefer to the usual weather I've experienced on my last few trips up there. But boy did it wear me down.
It was kind of neat to know that since this was my second Rock N Roll event that I will get a special medal in the mail sometime for doing two in the same year. I can't complain about an extra medal. :)