2011 Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon Chicago Recap

I survived. Lasting impression, the Rock 'n Roll races are super organized. The expo was fun, I picked up a free gym back, gorged myself on engery bars and granola samples, and met Biggest Loser season 5's Jackie and Dan.

The race was scheduled to start and 6:30am and they did not waste one second getting started. Had I not been 15 minutes behind schedule, I would have normally appreciated that. I didn't miss the start or anything, but I was racing to get from the El train to the gear check before my corral started. One suggestion to RNR, do not situate the gear check at the furthest possible point away from the start line! It was my own fault, live and learn . . . to wake up at 4am instead of 4:30! I LOVED the course. I usually avoid downtown Chicago at all costs, so it was actually nice to take in all the sites on a closed course. I recognized a lot of places and realized I hang around downtown more than I thought! The hydration and aid stations were plentiful and the volunteers were awesome! This was my first RNR race experience, they really have it down to a science. A few sucky parts, the bands! Wow. First off, the headliner, Brett Micheals CANCELED the day of (boo!!!). The first 8 miles of bands were pretty cool. I'm not sure if it was the fact that my ipod died at mile 9 or if the bands actually got worse at this point, but from then on I could actually hear crickets on the course. A couple of bands were playing slow, dreary tunes, and one was on break. I understand taking a break, but this is a timed event, have enough material to cover the entire race, please. Okay, enough about the negative. The post race gathering was really good! It was situated around Buckingham fountain (the iconic fountain from the Married with Children intro), which is really beautiful. There were tons of free samples, several massage booths, and BEER!

It was my friend Katie's first half, and she beat me! Me and one of my fellow Black Girls RUN! Ambassadors, Renisha

About the actual run, it rained off and on. I felt really good up to about mile 8, my knees started to get sore. It may have been that without music I had nothing else to distract me. When I saw the mile 10 marker I felt really energized and I could not stop running even though I really wanted to walk! It was starting to really rain again and I just wanted to finish at that point. The rain felt really good, but I hate rain splashing in my eyes. Had I worn a visor the rain wouldn't have bothered me at all. Of course, there was a hill at mile 11, arg. I had to walk it. I learned from running the St. Louis half not to run the hills in the last three miles, it zapped my energy. When the hill rounded out, I could see the finish line. It seemed to take forever getting there! Normally I like seeing the finish, but it seemed like a mirage it was so far away. I still ended up finishing strong, which is always my goal, at sub 2:49. My actual time goal was 2:45, so I came close. I'm running another RNR in Vegas in December, and I plan to finish sub 2:45! This bad baby will be mine for completing two RNRs in one year!

My race mug shot . . .