Thursday, August 30, 2012

Chicago Rock N Roll Half Marathon

Five weeks ago :) my friends Leah, Sue, Megan & myself ran the Chicago Rock N Roll half marathon.
This was my first Rock N Roll race experience and I wasn't sure what to expect.
Much to my delight, I had a great time!!

I flew into Chicago Saturday afternoon and took a cab straight to the Expo.  The other girls had gone earlier in the day, so I was playing catch up.
The expo took place at McCormick Place.  It was spacious and easy to get around.  I was personally annoyed because I was dragging my luggage through it, but otherwise it was great.
All the typical vendors and really everything you would expect at an expo.  A comparison to a Disney expo... a lot more free stuff here.  I also really like the ladies cut tech shirt we got.

After the expo, I took a cab and met up with everyone else at our hotel, the W on Lakeshore.
We just laid low on Saturday with a yummy pasta dinner at Coco Pazzo.

Sunday morning we cabbed it over to Grant Park for the race and were there in plenty of time.
Bag check, porta potties, start corrals... everything was super organized.
The only thing bad about the day was the heat and humidity.  Ugh!

The race started on time at 6:30am.
I thought the course around town was really nice.  I don't feel like Chicago has as many iconic landmarks/streets, etc. as a place like, say, NYC, so the night before at dinner we had asked Sue's friend, Maddie to kind of explain what we would be seeing along the way.
Mostly it was running through different neighborhoods like Greek town or the ghetto :)
We did see the famous Chicago Theater...

There were people cheering us on pretty much the whole way and the bands were pretty good.
There was a lot of water, ice and in the later miles, sponges available on the course.  All were very much needed since it was so darn hot & humid.

As far as the running part, it wasn't great.
The first 3 miles seemed to last forever... like forever.
4 to 7 were awesome.
7 to 10 I starting cramping up.
At mile 10, I heard a very strained "Heather"...  it was Leah coming out of a porta potty.
Her hips and back were done, and I just felt soooo hot, we walked the last 3 miles.
She puked up some water.  A stranger gave her a sponge and water (so nice).
We pretended to run and act stupid when we saw the photogs (Leah have you checked those pics yet?  I totally haven't)
I asked her if she wanted to run the last 100 meters or so to the finish line.
She gave me a look that said "Not on your life".
And then we were done, right back where we started.
Here's our medal (we didn't finish on a beach, Sue took this picture the next day):

There were popsicles at the finish line and I could not have been happier.
Wow, that tasted so good.
Bag pick-up was quick and easy.
The post race concert featured Cobra Starship.
It was great to just sit out in the park, listen to music, relax and drink a beer.
While I have heard horror stories about other Rock N Roll series events, based on my Chicago experience, I would totally recommend this race to anyone.
I plan on doing the Miami Rock N Roll half in November and I hope it is just as well done.

After the concert, we walked over to see the Bean.

Then we attempted to walk back to our hotel.  We ended up in a cab.
Did you know that downtown Chicago has multi levels?
Well it does and it was a little too confusing for us :)

After getting all cleaned up, we went out to lunch at Lou Malnati's for some deep dish pizza!
It was so, so good!
Drinks at Navy Pier were next.
Followed by a drink at the top of Hancock building.  Great views of the city.
Dinner was at Girl and the Goat, which I cannot recommend enough - incredible!

Monday was more touristy adventures.
Lunch at The Purple Pig - so good!
Then we enjoyed an architecture boat tour along the Chicago River.
Chicago is a really beautiful city, the architecture is gorgeous and the weekend was such a fun girls getaway!

Next up, the Disneyland half marathon this weekend!
Can't wait to get out to the West Coast!!


  1. I love all the pictures!

    Chicago is a bucket list race for me. Hope you enjoyed it, even if it was a little rough!

  2. I love Rock'n'Roll races!!!
    I like that you had someone with you so you two could get through that last bit in the heat together. I feel like friends can make any uncomfortable situation better, especially in races!!