Rock N Roll Chicago 1/2 Marathon

Now that half marathon #16 is in the books and I’ve flown back to Philly, I’ve had time (and sleep) to think about my weekend in Chicago.  I haven’t been to my second home since last year at some point and boy, I’ve missed it!!!  I flew in Friday morning and our flight was delayed over an hour.  It was a combination of rain, our flight starting off at the wrong gate and it taking 20 minutes to get off the run way.  I got into Chicago around 10 AM Chicago time and headed over to the expo to pick up my race gear.  The expo wasn’t all that special- I’ve seen most of the vendors before.  Since I was meeting up with a friend, I was in and out in 10 minutes and headed to my hotel.  Note, I booked my hotel Tuesday and that was after we got a good deal from another runner friend coming in for the race.  After checking in, I met up with a friend for the afternoon and we headed out for a short run while his girlfriend was on a conference call for work.  After we got back and showered, we did some grilling and headed to my alma mater to take a look at all the work they’d done (holy construction Loyola!).  From there, I headed to Evanston and met up with another friend for dinner.  After catching up, I headed back downtown (thank goodness for 3 day groupon CTA passes on sale!).

Saturday morning, 3 friends made their way to Chicago.  I met up with 2 of them at the expo, where, while waiting, I met my alter ego Christine Amy Martinez made an appearance.  A friend had signed up for the race, but ended not making the trip from LA.  The Rock N Roll series, for whatever reason, no longer allows people to pick up bibs for others, even with a note and permission from the person.  This is a huge issue because I knew a few people who were coming back from vacation and couldn’t make the expo.  The race made it seem like they were doing people a huge favor by allowing my friends to pick up bibs race day. Why not just let them have someone pick up their bib??  Anyways, I was determined to get my friend’s bib and my alter ego came out.  Yeah, we’re just going to leave it at that.   Let’s just say a bib went good use.  Another issue I have is with the prices.  $150 to sign up for a half at the expo?  Are you kidding me?  Even after a certain date it was $100 and that wasn’t even close to the race date. Why jack up prices?  I’ve gotten the same amount of ‘stuff’, including end of race food, etc for less than what Rock n Roll charges.

After the expo, I met up with some friends at The Melting Pot to catch up and then headed out to church (smart phones are a good thing).  Afterwards, I met back up with my fellow runners and we headed to Quartino’s for dinner.  Holy loudness!!  After some good pasta and conversation, we headed to the hotel and called it a night.  We laid out all of our stuff so we were all ready to go in the morning

Our wake up call was 5 AM. YAWN.  The 4 of us met in the lobby around 530 and headed to The Congress Plaza Hotel to meet up with some runners we know and have run with before.  We also made sure my alter ego’s bib was used well.  We started in corral 8 with the goal of just to get out of the start and on the course.  It was definitely hot and humid the entire race.  I haven’t done a run over 7-8 miles in over a month just because of time so I knew I wasn’t going to PR by any means and the heat didn’t help at all.  There was water and gatorade on course, but I felt like it was erratic in placement.  I appreciate the marks at 5k/10k/15k/20k, but I wish they would have done split times there as well.  I was dripping sweat at least 5 miles in!  The last 3 miles were rough.  My stomach wasn’t liking me (and I did eat before the race!) and I was sure I would be sick by the end of the race.  After hitting mile 11 we ran under McCormick Place.  I’m not a fan of that part of the race just because you can’t see well and if someone gets hurt, it’s hard to get too.  After passing mile 12, around the 20K, there was a runner down who did not look good at all.  some of her friends and medical were there working with her (which is why I didn’t stop- help was already there).  I was hoping she was alright!  one of my running friends saw her as well and asked about her when I finished since we were a few minutes apart finishing.  The last part of the race was a straight shot to the finish, but the finish seemed so far off! You came around the corner and were running Columbus Blvd, and it just felt like it kept going and didn’t end.  After getting through the finish, I picked up my medal, wet (cold) wash clothe, 2 chocolate milks, water and banana.  As people started finishing, we made our way back to Congress Plaza to meet up with our group.  We then headed back to our hotel and got some much needed showers. Let’s face it, that’s always the best part of the race!

After we freshened up, we headed to lunch over at the Emerald Loop Bar and Grill and had a free appetizer to boot.  After walking around State street, depositing a check and picking up some Garrett’s pop corn, we relaxed in the hotel until 6 or so.  I headed off to Midway to fly back home while 2 of my running buds headed to dinner to meet up with our running friends from this morning.  It was a good weekend overall with good company.  Here’s to hoping to another meet up for the marathon in October!

How Did Boston Treat You?

Yesterday was the 116th running of the Boston Marathon.  One day, I’ll decide how badly I want to run it and endure Heartbreak Hill and all the glam that comes with Boston.  What can I say, the best I’ve done in the marathon is a 4:54 and it’s ridiculous to try and get the magical BQ time.

Yesterday, it was in mid-upper 80s temperature wise.  Yes Bostoners, I feel your pain.  I ran the 2010 Chicago Marathon.  When I started the race, it was a good 73 degrees outside.  When I finished some 5 hrs and change later, it was 93 and people were lined up at medical tents.  This was 3 years after the 2007 Chicago Marathon which had diverted runners and was canceled after a certain time due to heat.  We had no deferral option (and I’m ok with that, I was running either way).  The BAA gave runners the option to defer their entry to the 2013.  They’d of course have to pay for entry again next year (which isn’t cheap) and lose whatever they put down money wise this year.  The catch? Runners had to pick up their bibs (or email the BAA and have their bibs set aside) AND not start the race yesterday.  Confused?  Take a look at this article tweeted by Runner’s World.  Of the people who registered for Boston, only 427 of the 16% who didn’t race can defer until next year.  Initially, I agree that I was thinking that it was going to be 4,000-5,000 people.  But, since you had to pick up your bib and not start, that changes things.  That’s a plus if you got hurt close to the race and wouldn’t have been able to run this year anyways!  What are your thoughts about deferring Boston?

I’M BACK!! And Good Things Really Do Happen To Good Runners!!

Holla!!! I’m back after a few month hiatus from blogging.  My last race was the Cleveland Marathon turned Half Marathon.  Today, was the last minute NYRR Queens 1/2 Marathon.  How, you ask, do you get into a sold out race less than 24 hrs beforehand?  Well the saying good things happen to good people is true.  I didn’t have to go into my last day of rotation yesterday so I took the time to NYC for a day/night.  I made the decision Thursday Night and got $22.50 round trip Megabus tickets and a cheap hotel room close to Times Square.  After meeting up with a friend from undergrad, I headed to the NYRR office to see if they had any NYC Marathon Training stuff.  I found a shirt and as I was checking out, the lady behind the desk wished me lucked and asked if I was running the Queens Half.  I replied that I wasn’t because I wasn’t expecting to be out here this weekend as it was a last minute idea to come out, but I would be doing a long run this weekend.  She whispered to me to go check at registration before I left just to be safe.  I headed up and asked and they said they were sold out but to head downstairs and someone would meet me there.  2 minutes later, someone comes down and whispers too me if I was the one asking about signing up and then handed me a registration form. SCORE!!!  I filled it out discretely and handed my $45 and she came back with my bib. YAY ME!!!!

So this morning, I was up bright and early at 4:50 and was able to catch the 5:19 N train to Queensburo Plaza and then the 7 Train to Mets stadium.  The race was at Flushing Meadows Corona Park and was a 7 AM race, but we started at 7:15 or so.  I couldn’t hear what was being said over the speakers so I’m not sure what they said the delay was.  Once the gun went off, it took another 5 minutes for me to get across the start.  The first mile or two weren’t bad but then I felt like it got really hot really fast.  I was using this as a long run and really wasn’t racing per say.  My legs were also shot from walking all day yesterday, so running with tired legs wasn’t all that fun, but I guess a run on tired legs is needed on occasion.  I’m kind of bummed I missed a dailymile meet up!  Anyways, at mile 4 I had to take a pit stop.  that added another 4 minutes to my time because I had to wait :-/  In true NYRR fashion, water stops at every mile or so (very much appreciated) as well as sprinklers/hoses to cool us off.  There were a few areas that had huge puddles that covered the entire running path.  Needless to say, we were diverted around them.  I would say one of the major things that annoys the crap out of me is when a runner is dumping 4-5 cups of water all over themselves at every water station, even when there’s hoses/hydrants spraying water for the purpose of cooling runners.  I can see doing it at 1 stop, but when it’s 6-8 stops, it adds up.  Towards the end, they were running low on water and when there’s people behind you, it’s a respect thing to leave them some.  I came in around 2:27:59, taking out the bathroom pit stop, it’s more like 2:23:59 or so.  Not bad for a last minute half marathon I suppose!

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