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Chicago Rock N Roll Half Race Recap

July 23, 2012

I know, you’ve all been DYING to hear my race re-cap, right? Ha, right. Well here it is for some Monday morning entertainment! p.s. anyone want to come give me a massage? Sooooore this morning, and Molly wasn’t so helpful when I asked her… She just laid on top of me and requested that I pet her.

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The Chicago Rock N Roll Half Marathon was Sunday morning, starting at 6:30am. I was up at 5am and immediately started the coffee and got ready. I made up a piece of Udi’s bread with PB and 1/2 of a banana.

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Unfortunately I didn’t eat it sitting there at the table… I ate in the elevator and outside because there was definitely not enough time to take Molly out after her breakfast and eat my own without doing it all at once! I thought I looked crazy, but then I saw how many still drunk or walk of shame people were out that early…

I checked the temps and was pretty happy, this is better than I expected, although very humid!

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My cousin had ordered a cab so I headed outside when she said she was on her way. We took it downtown and got to the race at 6am… lol much earlier than we’d hoped. We like to show up right before start time. Oh well, we took some photos and used the bathroom.

photo 1 (7)

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Aaaaaand then I realized that I had forgotten my headphones. Seriously!?!?!? Ahhhhhhh. I was annoyed. It ended up being fine, except those last 2 miles I REALLY could have used some music to pump me up and distract me from the pain and severe desire to just stop.

Here’s a map to get an idea of the course:



The race started pretty quickly and we wound our way through River North, back into the loop, and the out west. Just after mile 4 was a water stop so I had my first gel at that point. This one I had kept in my sports bra and it was so warm… ewww. Did you want to hear that? I’m sure you did.

We headed back into the loop and then finally turned left onto Michigan Avenue around mile 7. This turn onto Michigan was my favorite part of the whole race. There were TONS of spectators and I got so pumped up! I love people, these kinds of things show me that there really are good people in the world – anyone who’d sit out there for a glimpse of a loved one and cheer on all the runners is a good person!

After this point… things went down hill. The miles started passing much more slowly since there were very few spectators and the bands were pretty far apart. I just kept moving my feet! Around mile 9 there was a water stop where I took my second gel (NOT too warm! Or I just didn’t notice at that point?) but I ended up with some serious nausea from eating that and drinking water all at once. I kept going though and we eventually hit a turnaround for the last 3 or so miles back up north.

My second favorite part of the whole race was running through the underground of McCormick Place, the big convention center where the expo was held. It was a dark tunnel almost 1/2 mile long and there was a DJ blasting some pop song. I pretended I was a character in Mario Kart and that this was a speed blast tunnel where I could go super fast! and I did! Haha tricking my mind!

Once I got out of that tunnel, everything went SO BAD. I kept up my pace, but let me tell you, it was HARD. It was SO. HARD. I knew from all the other bloggers that I follow that the last part of a race is a mental challenge and I kept reminding myself of that. As much as I was dying to just stop running, I kept pushing it and even got faster and faster by the end.

Eventually I made it past that finish line and was SO relieved. I was completely exhausted and dehydrated, I actually had a medic come up to me and walk me to the water. I almost just sat down right there after the finish. Luckily the water (and a free Jamba Juice smoothie!) made me feel a lot better.

I also got some free Chobani! I was so excited to see them at the race:

photo 4 (5)

I eventually found my cousin, we took a cab home, and I finally could drop all my stuff and breathe. I was so proud of myself for pushing through!

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Plus I had the adorable Molly to greet me! (She ran the race too…)

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She was already home and napping by the time I got back. She’s much faster.

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I got my results back and found out that I PR’d from my half on April 1st by 44 seconds! Haha. Well, since it was much hotter I’ll definitely take it!


Concluding thoughts:

  • I need new running socks. I have about 7 blisters just on my toes on one foot. Really? Plus I wanted to rip them off my feet around mile 11. They were toooo hot!
  • Sponges soaked in cold water are awesome. Especially in the last few miles of a very humid half marathon.
  • Towels soaked in freezing cold water at the finish line are almost as good. Almost.
  • Starting out slow and building up speed works. It doesn’t mean I won’t still want to die in the last mile. It just means I will want to die while running an 8:00 min/mile pace rather than a 9:30 min/mile pace like last time.
  • People make the best race signs. Read them. You’ll laugh, a lot.
  • Appreciate the spectators and say thank you to the volunteers. The race would suck without them.


Are you training for anything right now?


Do you think sports and fitness is a mental game?

62 Comments leave one →
  1. July 23, 2012 7:11 am

    congrats on your race! you rocked it!

  2. July 23, 2012 7:31 am

    Spectators really do make or break the race. Nice job girl! Your dog sure is a good end present to come back to!

  3. July 23, 2012 7:42 am

    great job on the PR! halfway to the marathon!

  4. July 23, 2012 7:54 am

    Congrats lady. Good miles there! The pup is cute too : )

  5. July 23, 2012 8:08 am

    Congrats on your race!! I agree — the spectators always help, and it’s DEFINITELY a mental game most of the time

  6. July 23, 2012 8:33 am

    Congratulations on the PR!

    I think that running is COMPLETELY mental. The body can be pushed to extreme limits. It’s all about finding your zone and staying in it, which can be very hard to do.

  7. July 23, 2012 8:49 am

    congratulations lady! i’m sorry you didn’t feel well right after, but glad you’re okay and that you finished strong! way to go on that PR!

  8. July 23, 2012 8:49 am

    That’s so awsesome! Congrats! Hopefully one day I will run a half-marathon too!

  9. July 23, 2012 9:17 am

    Congratulations! You’re a rock star!

  10. July 23, 2012 9:21 am

    Congrats!! Great job on the PR! I’m sorry you didn’t feel well during it but pushing through and finishing strong will help you so much for your marathon!

    Also, good thing you like the water soaked sponges, they appear a lot on the marathon course 🙂

  11. July 23, 2012 9:30 am

    Looks like a great race. At my last marathon they were handing out handfuls of ice to put down your shirt. It was awesome.

  12. July 23, 2012 9:50 am

    Congrats on your race, your PR, and a sub-2 hour half! All things to be very proud of 🙂 I’m training for the Chicago Half right now, and I really have no clue what I’m getting myself into haha so it’s great to read stuff like this and get a better idea of what’s in store for me on September 9 (aside from the whole sub-2 hour thing. My dream goal is sub 2:30, but I imagine I’ll be closer to 2:40, unless it’s magically 50 degrees, cloudy, and not humid at all on September 9 and all this training-in-mad-heat business gives me a crazy speed boost…but I’m not really counting on that haha).

    • July 23, 2012 6:18 pm

      I will be praying for perfect running weather on September 9th just for you!!! You’ll do great, and the key is to try and enjoy it!

  13. July 23, 2012 10:25 am

    Way to go! Great finish time! I wear Experia socks and I love them! My family members often buy them for me for Christmas and my birthday. They are a little pricey for socks, but they are worth the investment.*

  14. liverunlaughyoga permalink
    July 23, 2012 11:03 am

    Congrats on your race! I am currently training for the chicago 10k race and then the navy pier 10 miler in september. Your dog is so cute. I found your blog via Facebook page. 🙂

    • July 23, 2012 8:18 pm

      Good luck on your races! And that’s Molly, my brother and sister-in-law’s 1 year old golden retriever!!! I loooove her, especially when I get to puppy-sit while they’re out of town, like this weekend!

  15. July 23, 2012 11:31 am

    Congrats on your PR, especially in the terrible heat and humidity!!! 🙂

  16. July 23, 2012 11:36 am

    Awesome job! (And congrats to molly too 🙂 ). I start training for my second half tomorrow! I’m super excited!

  17. Anna Lynn permalink
    July 23, 2012 12:23 pm

    So glad you finished and you pr’d! You should be proud despite how hard it seemed. The bad races and training sessions make you appreciate the good ones even more!

    I am an absolute believer that running and exercise is so mental. Your body can do it (especially if you’ve been training), you just have to believe it!

    Have a great day 🙂

    • July 23, 2012 8:21 pm

      Thank you, Anna Lynn! I definitely kept telling myself it was a mental battle and my body could do it!

  18. July 23, 2012 12:31 pm

    Well done that is an awesome time especially when you were starting to find it tough going!xx

  19. July 23, 2012 1:59 pm

    KATIE way to go! and molly too 🙂 what type of running socks do you use? i love my thorlo with arch support socks.

  20. July 23, 2012 2:23 pm

    Great job! I agree, the last few miles were tough. I feel like the stretch to the finish lasted FOREVER. It was like the finish line just wasn’t getting any closer!

  21. July 23, 2012 4:08 pm

    congrats on the pr!! I love thanking the volunteers – they do so much, plus I’m always hoping for some good race karma 🙂

    • July 23, 2012 8:29 pm

      I really give them props, they’re standing out there in the sun way longer than I’m running!

  22. July 23, 2012 5:04 pm

    WAHOO!!!! NICE work, Katie!

    You’re right–you should be proud! Way to keep you head in the game and not letting it give up. Very awesome! I bet it was soooo hot. Wow. Impressed!

  23. July 23, 2012 6:04 pm

    You’re amazing!
    Looove the medals this year. So cool 🙂

  24. July 23, 2012 8:05 pm

    You are fantastic and amazing Katie, great job in this race! I am loving the medal too, a keep for sure! 🙂 I wish I was training for a race right now… hopefully in time though

  25. July 23, 2012 9:05 pm

    Congrats girl, that’s amazing!
    And I literally laughed out loud picturing the walk of shame people.. haha

  26. July 23, 2012 9:36 pm

    Congratulations on your PR! You’re awesome!
    And I couldn’t agree more- spectators always inspire me to keep pushing forward!

  27. July 24, 2012 5:55 am

    Congratulations on your race!!! That is awesome that you PR’d, and it sounds like you really worked hard for it. I can never believe when you describe how recently you really got into running – you are AWESOME!!!

    And I’ll have to try the sponge in cold water trick! I’ve done it with a towel, but a sponge would be so much better!

    • July 24, 2012 7:39 am

      the sponge was amazing! Haha and I know, I feel so weird that I’ll be running a marathon about 1 year after starting to train for my first 10 miler!

  28. July 24, 2012 6:38 am

    Congrats on completing the race!! Those cold sponges at mile 11 were AMAZING. I literally drenched myself in water and loved it.

  29. July 24, 2012 6:45 am

    I’m so sorry you were feeling lousy at the end of the race, but a PR in that hot weather is really amazing, so you should be really proud of that! I hope you can work out your blister problems soon!

  30. July 24, 2012 7:06 am

    Awesome job! THe last half I did I felt so sick for the entire day after – I almost threw up about 25 times. Gross.

    Awesome PR!

  31. July 24, 2012 6:53 pm

    I ran the Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll too! I wanted to kiss whoever decided to put in the sponge station. Best part of the course! haha. Congrats on the PR!

  32. July 25, 2012 2:50 pm

    Congratulations girl! That is a great time! My cousin is very big into running marathons and I love going to watch her! We always make signs and stand near the end to help give her that push! She always says how much it really does help!

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