Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Rock N Roll Half Marathon & Shoulder Review

This was my 6th year participating in the Rock N' Roll Half Marathon (formerly Chicago Distance Classic).  As I said before, I run this now to support my Charity group UPS for DownS.  We had the pasta dinner the Friday night before and had all the usual fun.

The Charity Runners after receiving our medals at the Pasta Dinner
Allison gave me my medal and we stopped for a photo op
I was a little more nervous to run this year because of my shoulder and barely slept the night before.  Actually, I'm always nervous to run any race, even a 5k, mainly because running is hard for me.  But no pain, no gain...right?  The night before, I had bought some KT Tape for my shoulder.  I have heard that if it's not put on right, there is no point in using it but I thought this way I had the option to use it.  Later that night, I watched the videos on how to use it and looked at the directions.  The problem was, I couldn't put it on myself, since it was my shoulder.

This run starts incredibly early (6:30 am) in hopes to beat the heat.  Maggie, Kelly and Kim were meeting at my house so we could carpool down there together.  I didn't really find anyone that wanted to attempt to put the tape on since they didn't want to do it wrong. I wasn't going to push the issue and figured I would be fine without it.  We met up with some of our Frankfort/New Lenox Run Group (aka F'N Runners, aka FNRC) and also met up with some fellow bloggers for some photo ops.  And for me, I ran over to my UPS for DownS charity tent to say hi and more photos!  Before leaving the UPS for DownS tent, one of the women there told me she was a physical therapist and if I could find some tape, she could tape my shoulder for me.  I told her I had some and she proceeded to tape my shoulder for stability.  The only problem was...I had put sunscreen on thinking I wouldn't be putting the tape on.  The tape won't stick if the skin is oily. But we tried it anyway.

F'N Runners Pre-Race

UPS for DownS Charity Runners
Taping my shoulder
She did a great job taping my shoulder but because of the sunscreen, it started coming off and I took it all the way off at mile 1.5.

I headed to the start line with Julie and Maggie.  While waiting for the race to start, we saw Nicole.  It was strange seeing Nicole in our corral as she is a super fast runner and usually in a speedier start corral, but it turns out she was running this half with a friend who was running her 52nd half marathon in 52 weeks!  And they had a goal time of about 2:45 (Yay!  I was finally possibly going to beat Nicole, which will never happen again! lol).

Me, Maggie and Nicole
The race started and I split from Maggie as I knew her pace was faster.  I wasn't sure how my shoulder would feel and was really nervous.  Julie and I hung together for a while and right at the start, we saw a guy with prosthetic legs running.  Seeing things like that just really make you stop and think (and makes you never want to complain again!).

I ran with Julie for the first 5 miles.  I could tell she was hanging with me if I stopped at a water stop and would look around if she didn't see me.  Running with her was making me run a little faster and I was holding a decent pace.  But when I hit about 3 miles, we turned a corner and started running from West to East and the sun was just straight at me.  It was starting to get difficult for me to maintain that pace and I didn't want to hold Julie back.  I told myself to run until mile 5 and then tell her to go ahead of me, which is what I did (Julie ended up finishing about 5-6 mins ahead of me).

I was actually on a PR pace but it was early and I could tell I was slipping a little bit.  I kept thinking about what someone said to be the day or two before, and I repeated this to myself several times during the run..."Remember the reasons you are running today."  My reasons for running today was not to PR.  After all, it was only 11 days after dislocating my shoulder and the first full day without wearing my sling.  The 3 reasons I was running that day and not just there cheering was because (sorry for the repeat) this half was the first half I ran in 2006, I was running for my charity, and I was running in memory of my friend Jason.  Remember why you are running Amanda!  This helped me tremendously not to get caught up in racing...and getting disappointed with my finish time.

So around mile 7, I started trying to have some fun.  I started slapping spectators hands.  I was running with a Chinese dragon (and stopped to take a photo).  I started chatting with people a little.  I was smiling more.  The fun lasted for me until about mile 9 (lol).  I think this might be why I missed lapping my mile 8 time (I had turned off auto lap prior to the race because the initial tunnel you go through always messes up the satellite!).  Also kind of funny because in my last post (and in my mind)...I said "I know how my shoulder feels after running 4 miles, but I won't know how it will feel after running 8."  And I missed mile 8 so I guess it felt fine!

Chinese Dragon Runners...Beat the Dragon
The people holding the dragon were from PF Changs.  Their shirts said "Beat the running dragon."  They had an extra person and would periodically switch the location of all the runners so someone always got a break.  It was pretty cool to see.

It was hot that day.  Luckily part way through, the clouds came out a little bit and there was a breeze.  Even though that felt better, I was feeling a little sluggish.  I stopped at every water station.  I stopped at every ice station.  These stops definitely slowed my time up but it didn't really matter much.  Although in all honesty, I really wanted to beat my time from the 13.1 Chicago Marathon in June, with an awful time of 2:29.  (If you remember, that half was when I was still incredibly iron deficient and it was extremely hot that day...and I ran/walked the last 8 miles).

I ran with the Chinese dragon off and on for the second half of the race (probably why there are no finishing photos of me!  The dragon was in the way of the photographers!!  The course was changed from the previous years and I wasn't too happy with the last 1/3 of the course.  It was boring and there were two nice size hills in the last 2 miles (I mean, Chicago is supposed to be flat!).  The hills were ramps on the highway we were running up.

But finish I did.  I got my medal.  I finished in 2:24.  Definitely not my best time but I put a good amount of effort into that run (without trying to hurt my arm).  It not an overall PR by far, but it's a half PR for the year.  Since overall PR'ing isn't my thing this year, I'll just work on improving my times from this year alone (PR'ing for the year).  Except the Chicago Marathon. That WILL be an overall PR!  I need to keep myself healthy and injury free to do it and I should be golden. 

My shoulder felt pretty good during the run.  I was actually able to "use" it a little during the run which I wasn't able to do during the training runs a few days before (when I just held it in place).  It felt a little sore at times and a little bit fatigued overall but I was happy with the way it felt.

I met up with my Charity Group, my FN Runner friends and my blogger friends for some more photos.

Bloggers Post-Race
F'N Runners Post-Race
Maggie and I at my Charity tent post race
My favorite thing to do after a run...lie down.  Although in all honesty, I was feeling a little sick from the heat and this made me feel better.


I'm a little disappointed that I hurt my shoulder because right before this, I had just started strength training and boot camp.  I am seeing the Orthopedic Dr on Friday for a follow-up and my Chiropractor on Saturday so she can assess things and I can start some physical therapy for it.  Overall my shoulder feels much better.  It's still sore and I will do something like pull my front door closed with it and a huge pain will just run right down my arm.  Putting on my workout clothes is still really hard and hurts my shoulder/arm...more than actually working out.  But it's all minor stuff.  I'm pretty happy with it's progress so far (it's been 2 full weeks today since the dislocation).  To be continued on the shoulder.

You can also read Kelly's, Maggie's, and Sara's Race Recap if you just can't get enough.  And you can find some of the other bloggers in the photo on their pages.  I'm too lazy to link any more up!


  1. Congrats on the finish in the RnR especially with the hot and humid conditions and you running with a bum shoulder. It was not a day for P.R.s for most runners. Hope the shoulder heals quickly!

    1. Thanks Pete! Yes, this weather this year has been cramping a lot of PR's for many people!! That's ok...I'll keep trucking along!!

      Thanks! My shoulder isn't bad. Just need to start with some rehabbing to strengthen it!

  2. I'm so glad you're shoulder is feeling better. You will be in top shape by the time October 7th comes around!!! :)

    1. Kelly, this is the year of the injury for me (lol)...I'm determined to come out on top! Watch out 2013!!

  3. Hey awesome job on the race! That's pretty impressive, given what you've been through these past few weeks. Heal up and let's those mega miles in August and September!