The expo was held at McCormick Place - a huge convention center on the lake. My twitter/DailyMile friend, Angie M, was staying with us, so we hooked up with her when we got into town and grabbed lunch. Since we were staying a few miles north, we navigated the CTA bus to get there. You had to walk about 3 miles inside McCormick to get to the expo (we joked they should've held the 5k there in the AC, running back and forth down the massive halls). The expo was quite large, with all the usual booths. We spun some wheels for giveaways, collected water bottles and chapstick. Crap like that.
|Obligatory staged finish line picture with my girl.|
|OMG that's Dorothy Beal!|
|Sun starting to go down behind the skyline.|
Angie and I got up at the butt crack of dawn (actually 3:45 is much earlier than the butt crack) to run 5 miles before the half marathon. Let me tell you, there are a lot of very interesting people on the streets of Chicago at 4:30 in the morning. I think my favorites were a really stoned guy without shoes on asking if he could run with us and the 2 girls doing their walk of shame and one commenting "OMG, they are already out running". Yep. We are badass like that.
5.13 miles along Michigan Avenue and Lake Shore Drive in 56:47 (11:04 pace). Being bad bloggers, Angie and I did not take a post 5 miler selfie.
We got back to the hotel and I helped Kaylee get ready for her 5k. Then we walked the couple blocks to the starting line. (Note - if you plan to run this race, the Congress Plaza Hotel, while being the #1 most haunted place in Chicago, was ideal from a location standpoint.)
|Beautiful sunrise over Grant Park.|
|Awake and ready to go!|
Once I finally started (remember it's been about 90 min since I finished the first 5 miles) it took awhile for my legs to want to get going. I had decided to run 5 minutes/walk 1 minute for the 13.1 but in the first 2 miles I just ran to try and get away from the crowds. I was also a little pissed to see how many people from corrals 34, 35, 36 had already started as I passed them in the first mile (you could tell corral by the first numbers on their bibs). I get that had they started in their actual corrals they probably would not have made the cutoff times, but really? What's the point of having corrals if they aren't enforced?
|Chicago Theater and the "L".|
|Saw my girl with her bling outside of our hotel at mile 6.|
|I was very happy to see the water around mile 10.|
|Fun inflatable outside McCormick's tunnel.|
|Sun's out/Guns out! Soldier Field is just beyond the trees.|
There was the usual assortment of gluten-laden items at the finish line, so I grabbed a banana and a chocolate milk. The ice-cold wet washcloths were heavenly and a very nice touch. (There had been wet sponges around mile 11, too, which was awesome.) I met up with Kaylee and Angie and we hung out in the Westin VIP tent for awhile (Angie had scored us passes).
Neither Angie nor I wanted to fight the lines for Michelob Ultra (and Kaylee wouldn't have been able to get into the beer tent area anyway) so we held off on beer until lunch. Before we left, I had to get a picture with these guys though. They had been on the course and were actually really funny and super enthusiastic.
Honestly, I was disappointed in the race itself (not my run but the overall race) and unless I scored another free entry I would not run this one again. I had really high hopes for Rock n Roll but I thought it was kind of boring. There weren't enough bands/entertainment for all the hype and while the course was ok, after awhile the city all just kind of blurs together (this coming from someone who really loves Chicago and running in the city). The HM race shirt is nice but the 5k shirts were unisex. Had I know this, I would've gotten Kaylee and XS because the small is really big on her. The medals are really cool, though, and bling definitely matters. My girl managed to PR her 5k by almost 3 minutes, but said it was very congested for the entire 3.1 miles and it made it hard for her to hit the goal she really wanted. I'm still super proud of her for getting outside her comfort zone and racing.
|It's not a Chicago race unless there is a bling pic in front of The Bean.|