Monday, July 22, 2013

Running with a GPS in the Big City--A race recap of the RnR Chicago Half

Yesterday I completed my 4th half marathon. This one was the Chicago Rock n Roll Half Marathon. This is a race series that has races around the country. Chicago happens to be the closest but it is also in the middle of the summer!

To start off with, I was really unsure of this race and how it would go. The weather had been super hot for about 10 days before with high humidity. Also, I had had some off training because of long runs, weather, laziness, and life. Finally, we ended up walking almost 8 miles around the city the day before, oops.

Race morning I was up before my alarm and I was ready to go. I got dressed and headed to the lobby to meet to amazing Princesses from my running group! We were supposed to meet 2 more ladies so we headed out. Well, when we got there we realized we could not get to where we were meeting for a picture so the 3 of us took our pictures and got ready to run.

BIG plus for RnR, they had prerace stuff out for runners. They had small bottles of water, bananas and bagels. It was a really nice touch.

They also so a bunch of smaller corrals, unlike runDisney that seems to do fewer LARGE corrals. There were 28 starting groups that started about 1 minute apart. It was a long wait to corral 24. Now, I had put an estimated finish time of 2:30 and it ended me up almost in the back which is odd since even with runDisney that would be more like midway but whatever, I do wish I had started earlier but I could not control that. No one was checking the corrals so I could have gone up but I did not. **Funny story, a guy walking by was complaining about finding the right coral to start in. All I could think of was being in an under the sea race.

I started off strong and decided to run the first mile. I felt great. My pace on my Garmin seemed crazy but sometimes it takes time to get it right and I was not really watching. At mile 1, my Garmin said 1.10 which is not too weird and I was about at a 10 mm pace which again was too fast, which is always my problem.

I got to mile 2 and my Garmin said 2.3 and an 8:30 pace which was impossible. Then I remembered all I had read about GPS. One of the biggest issues is that if it cannot get a good satellite signal, it throws everything off. Sure enough, with all the tall buildings my GPS was all off. Crap. The time was the only thing correct. I was really lucky though, I had put on a Westin pace bracelet so I knew I was on pace. Just to give an idea, my Garmin logged the course as 13.96 miles and my final pace at 11:16 which is not even possible!

I stayed on pace until Mile 5 when there was a HUGE backup for water/Gatorade, it was horrible. It was my fault because there were other tables but I could not see them because of all the people. It completely threw me off.

I was only about 3 minutes off pace but I was annoyed. I could not check my pace, my Garmin was saying I was over a 1/2 mile further. It was so off. Finally I got to Mile 7 which is where my mom and the kids were in front of the hotel waiting! It was so awesome to see them. The next 3 miles were nice, not too bad but it was getting hotter and we were out of the downtown building area so the shade was gone. Mile 10-12 were hard. I was trying really hard but it was just off. A lot of nice people were around but a lot of people were walking in HUGE groups and I kept getting boxed in. At mile 10 I actually ended up cutting someone off and I still feel so guilty for it. I spent almost a mile thinking about it.

Another plus for RnR was the cold water sponges at Mile 11. So cool in many ways! It was weird seeing all these sponges on the ground and kind of neat

At this point I ran into another Princess who I identified from her SparkleSkirt. We talked for a few minutes before splitting up and heading under McCormick Place. This was weird. It was so sunny and then we went into the dark where they had colored lights and glow stuff and then we came back out into the sun!

I finished about 10 minutes off where I wanted to be but I did finish. I got my medal and headed through the stuff. I ran into my mom and the kids without even looking for them! It was awesome but Abby was heartbroken. They had headed to the finish area and she could not see over the barriers. She was so sad. I felt horrible for her. She was better after we took pictures together like we do at the end of the races! I love her and love that she enjoys coming to see me. It means the world.

Highlights--Lots of crowd support, great signs, fun and nice people and awesome course support. From the medical people who just showed up out of no where when someone stopped to the sponges and the volunteers.

Cons--Chicago is a LOT hillier than I ever imagined. Big City running means not being able to depend on my Garmin which was hard. It was my hottest half ever and it was rougher than I had thought it would be!

I wish they did more fun races in Detroit!

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