Me and my crazy friends, apparently. 😉
The Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon madness began yesterday when we headed over to the convention center to pick up our race packets and walk around the race expo. We got there for the last hour of the expo and enjoyed browsing around the booths that had tons of free food and running products for sale.
I really wanted to buy the race poster but didn’t want to jinx myself and be stuck with a $20 Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon poster in case the race didn’t go well since none of us were feeling our best. Hey, it was the day after a night out celebrating, after all. 😉 I’m hoping I can find one online.
To prepare for the race, we stayed in at my friend Krystal’s apartment and enjoyed a pasta party with garlic bread, whole wheat noodles, and a large salad.
We tried to get to bed early, but I don’t think I actually fell asleep until after 11 p.m.
Waking up was pretty easy, considering about five different cell phone alarms started ringing at 5 a.m.
We got up and changed into our race day outfits.
My friends made all of us matching pink tanks to run in that said “One more RUN before the FUN” and had a sports bra embroidered with “Bride to Be” on it for me to wear! So stinkin’ cute.
We arrived at the race site and dropped off our bags at the gear check before heading out to the start line.
We started about 20 minutes after the horn went off, which was totally fine since we all were wearing chips and our official time would be calculated from our individual start times. There were more than 18,000 runners! It was definitely a crowded race.
I really wasn’t feeling my best while walking toward the start line, but told myself I would just take it easy and enjoy the race.
Once I started running, I actually felt much better!
The weather was a bazillion times better than the sticky Florida heat I was used to running in. It was 72 degrees… not hot in the least! It felt amazing to be running when the temperature wasn’t in the 90s. Breathing air that didn’t feel thick and wet was such a treat!
I honestly had the BEST time running this race. There were bands stationed every mile or so, and plenty of water/Cytomax stations.
I felt great the entire time. I had a little bit of pain on the outside of my feet, but nothing awful by any means. I was also in a fantastic place mentally, and really, really enjoyed running and thinking about what a fun weekend we had and what a fun couple of months are ahead of me as our wedding draws nearer.
The race course meandered through the city and passed by the Sears Tower. The last 3 miles or so had us running right along Lake Michigan and were filled with lots of spectators.
My friends and I saw a lot of neat sights during the race including:
- A man holding a sign for his girlfriend that said “You may be in 13,087 place, but you’re #1 in my heart!”
- Two vizslas like Sadie!!! (I freaked out)
- Jake from The Bachelor
- Giuliana Rancic from E! News
- A woman running with only one leg (talk about inspirational)
- A woman wearing a “Baby on Board” t-shirt
I ran the entire race, only walking through the water stations to gulp some Cytomax. I felt strong and in a great place mentally.
During my first and only half marathon back in 2007, I remember feeling so exhausted and really ready for the race to be over. This time around I felt excited and completely fine. I guess only running 10 miles before tackling 13.1 wasn’t too bad after all!
Going into the race I was concerned that I would really struggle through the last 3.1 miles. When I hit mile 10, I felt good and just told myself I had less than a 5k to go . I know I will remember this experience for the rest of my life, so why not make it a wonderful memory?
I ran through the finish line with a big smile on my face! I just finished a half marathon at the tail end of my bachelorette party weekend… can you say insane? 🙂
My official time: 2:07
Though I wasn’t running for time, I was pleased with my finish time. I averaged in the high 9-minute miles the entire race, never going over 10-minute miles.
After the race, I ate a bunch of the post-race treats and hung out with my friend Laurel as we waited for our other friends to finish so we could all head out to a BIG lunch.
On the menu for our post-half marathon feast?
Giordano’s deep dish pizza!
We started off by ordering two deep dish pizzas, one cheese and one super-veggie with pepperoni. Since the pizzas take 45 minutes to make and we were starving, we all ordered appetizers to share, including salads, garlic bread, mozzarella sticks and fried zucchini. So tasty! I gobbled up a piece of garlic bread, a small house salad, several fried zucchini slices, and two mozzarel
Then the pizzas made their way to our table and I think I had a puddle of drool in front of my face.
I’ve never seen so much cheese on one pizza and I was in cheesetastic heaven!
I had one large (actually ginormous) slice of cheese pizza and enjoyed every last bite!
Why can’t they have a Giordano’s in Orlando? So flippin’ tasty!!!
After our pizza pit stop, we came home and watched a movie before heading out to Baskin Robbins for ice cream.
I ordered a cup of cookie dough ice cream. I loved all of the chunks of cookie dough! What a childhood classic!
Now we’re relaxin’ for the rest of the night, watching Father of the Bride and heading out to Whole Foods to pick up some food from the hot bar for dinner, though a leftover slice or two of the deep dish pizza is callin’ my name at the moment…
Time to continue eating massive amounts of food! 13.1 miles seriously ignites your appetite! :D