Home > 1/2 Marathon, Rock 'N' Roll > Rock ‘N’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon 2010

Rock ‘N’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon 2010

With four hours of sleep, I went to the airport to catch a 6:00AM flight to Chicago. Luckily, got there with 6 minutes to spare before they started boarding. Not the greatest flight sitting in the middle of an S80 with a bunch of gas. After we landed, I found the nearest and quickest transportation to the McCormick convention center. I went to an Airport Express shuttle that charged $50.00 for a round trip to Chicago. It was cheaper than a taxi and got me there in time for the convention, so I took it. I must admit, I was a little nervous about taking the CTA. The building was gigantic and someone could easily get lost in it.

Picked up my packet, shirt, and goodie bag. They had all the stuff you purchase in the front and then behind this curtain they had all the promotional stuff, the part of the convention that I’m used too. I went to the Rock ‘n’ Roll booths and they let us sign up for Chicago 2011 for $55. If you know you’re going to do an event in advance, register at the conventions, they always have some kind of deal. I went to information to find out where I had to get off on the CTA. They gave me this map that showed all the stops near the event and said where the event was on the map. From there I was able to find out where I had to get off. They said they weren’t very helpful but I wouldn’t have found the race if it wasn’t for the map they gave me. The rest of the convention wasn’t all that great. Most of the information handouts were for Chicago and they had some funky tasting yogurt.

After, I grabbed some quick McDonald’s because I hadn’t eaten since 4AM. I shoved it down my throat and ran to the checkpoint to be picked up on the 1/2 hour mark. After about an hour and a half, I found out the place they pick you up was fifty feet from where I was. Went back to Ohare and took a free shuttle to the hotel I was staying at. The man at the desk was very helpful. He helped me find a good stop on the blue line, helped me with what I had to do to get to the CTA in the morning, and wrote me down for a wake-up call  in the morning. He had a good attitude about everything.

Went to my room and this time they had a key card for the lock with a bathroom and an air-conditioner. The windows were shut which was a plus, whether they were painted to the wall or not was irrelevant at that point.. I took care of business first setting up my shirt and bib, putting the chronotracker on my shoe, threw out all the convention advertisements I didn’t need and organized everything I needed for tomorrow. I organized the morning before the SF half marathon and it went pretty well, so I did it again. It helps to have it all laid out so I can get six hours and 15 minutes of sleep instead of just six hours before the 4AM wake up call. Then, I called some food in with Order Inn. Very nice service they have, I got Fettuccine with regular bread and garlic bread. It came within 10 minutes and I was watching Scrubs on Hulu in 12. It was a glorious pre-game dinner.

Fell asleep to comedy central and woke up to hotel phone that sounded like a murderer was coming to my room. Needless to say, I was up after that. Did my morning routine, put sample sunscreen on (long story, but it worked very well, no sunscreen sweat and no sunburn), and ran out the door to the shuttle. I then realized I didn’t have any water or any breakfast. I went straight to the Blue Line and quickly figured out how to use the machine. I popped in the $20 I had and it shoved out a card. Apparently, there’s no way to get your money back so if anyone is taking the CTA before December 1st, let me know. Other than that little mishap the CTA is pretty simple and will save you a lot of money.

A bunch of runners started getting on about halfway to the event and we all got off at Jackson. At some point in your travels, you’re going to catch up with someone in the race. So, I thought to myself, “Just follow the shoes.” I didn’t know where to go but there were a hundred other people with colorful shoes, most of them with a check mark, going in the same direction. I walked around to find if anyone had Vaseline. A tip for the events, at least for the Rock ‘n’ Roll series, is that you can put on Vaseline at the medical station before the race. They have dip sticks for the tubs too so people who you have no idea where their hands have been don’t dip or double dip in there.

They were also handing out Cytomax and water before the run so I chugged both of them before the race started. I also got someone to take a picture before all the commotion started, the picture turned out well most likely because the guy had an SLR wrapped to his neck, I think I picked a good person to take it. Again, didn’t take very many pictures because I didn’t want my phone to die. I figured I would get a picture of the buildings that we were next too, it was the best building shot I could have taken.

The race started and within a few steps I threw up in my mouth hardcore, the swallow was the worst. I tried keeping up with a light jog and this lady that was pacing me but I could feel my muscles hurting and a big bathroom break coming on. It was really hot out and I was starting to worry I wasn’t going to finish or I was going to get heat stroke; something out of the ordinary was going to happen because I didn’t eat or drink water before the run. So, I figured it was better to walk after mile 4 and I didn’t finish with that bad of a time. I passed a lot of people that were running ahead of me. I finished with a time of 3:09, if I pushed a little harder I could have made under 3:00. If I remember correctly, I ran the first 5k in 33 minutes, so I was at 11:00 minute pace.

I was expecting a lot of food afterward and possibly fill my stomach’s cries. They gave out cold, wet towels, refreshing after the race. They gave out nice cold waters, alright this is getting better. And then they had Popsicles. Popsicles? That’s it? And I got an orange one at that, I was about to throw-up again. I went to the information desk afterward and they said I must have missed the food and I thought, “I haven’t eaten since 4AM and I just ran/walked 13 miles, how do you think I missed the food?” I saw a bunch of tables on their backside, seems like they ran out. So, I went out to central parkway (street) and started walking. I met up with a family who was wondering what I was doing in Chicago. I told them I did SF and I plan on doing the Rock Legend next year along with all 50 states eventually. They showed me where the Blue Line was.

Passed out on the train a dozen times and then called the hotel to get my stuff on the shuttle. Went through security and finally ate at 2PM, it was delicious. Got to my flight 2 and 1/2 hours early. Saw the Mississippi river for the first time, that thing is long. Our first flight attendant mess up going over gate information, “Oh, I forgot.” The whole plane starts laughing, so funny. Our second flight attendant crew had the whole plane laughing too. The layover in St. Louis was interesting. I found a retired guy visiting family who had a daughter and a son-in-law as first year interns in medical school and he was giving me advice about this and that.

I got home, ate another dinner, and passed out.

Favorite parts? Eating that Fettuccine and watching Scrubs in my hotel room with the air conditioner turned on. They had a very easy to use set up, big buttons that say cool, heat, on/off. Took me about an hour to finish all the food they gave me and had a lot of fun with the one-liners they came up with in the new season. Favorite part of the run was sitting on the train because I knew at that point I could relax. Getting the medal, I couldn’t even take it all in at that point because of how hot and hungry I was.

Recommendations? Get a hotel near the Ohare airport and take the CTA. Hotels have a tendency to be expensive near the events and get cheaper the farther you look. My hotel had a free shuttle to the airport which will take you to the Blue Line (round trip will cost $5.00).From there it’s about 45 minutes to the Jackson stop near the event and about two blocks to the corrals. If you leave your stuff at the hotel, they may be able to get it to you and you’re already at the airport by the time you get back.

Run Recommendations? The Chicago run was in August this year and is in August next year. Prepare for hot weather: hat, sunscreen, and make sure to drink plenty of fluids. At least one cup of water at every station. I try get in one cup cytomax and one cup water every fluid station. Make sure to get one bottle of water at the end to chug down and one for the road.

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