Monday, July 28, 2014

Strike Out ALS 5k and Rock N Roll Half Marathon - Recaps

I'm so sorry I've been a bit MIA lately. Busy at work, tired, training for a marathon, lazy... You know how it goes.

So here's what I've been up to:

1. Strike Out ALS 5k

I had an opportunity to participate in the Strike Out ALS 5k and was so excited! Granted, I'm a Cubs fan and this is at the "Sox Park" aka Comisky Park (aka the real name is ... well I don't care actually). The route ended up being around the parking lots with one lap during the 3rd mile around the actual field inside!  I wouldn't run this race for the parking lot scenery but it was really cool to run inside the stadium!  It was super convenient for me as I work in the city and just had to hop on the red line for about 10 mins to get to the stadium.

I met up with Melanie (See Mommy Race) and Emily (Out and About). It was fun to just chat and wait for the race to start. Funny thing is that no one wanted to go to the front near the start line. There were like 3 people standing there and everyone else was like 30 feet back. The people running the race kept telling us to move up! Ha!  So needless to say, I was really close (3 lines back) to the start line for a change!  There weren't too many people there either so it felt like a small local race, which was nice.  I wasn't feeling a fast race after I started and really am slightly disappointed in my result from that day. I think it was about 29 minutes for the 5k (Avg 9:20 pace approx). My PR is an 8:30 pace so I just feel like I'm so much slower these days. That's ok. I know I'm not in a 5k PR shape. But I had a lot of fun hanging out with some fellow bloggers and running around the baseball field!

L-R: Emily, Melanie, Me

Start Line (Photo Courtesy of Emily)

Post Race
2. Rock N' Roll Half Marathon, Chicago

I ran the Rock N' Roll Half Marathon in Chicago (again) on July 20th. As I've mentioned before, I run this race for a few reasons but one is because it's the first half I ever ran in 2006 (called the Chicago Distance Classic). I missed 2007 because I hurt my knee but then have been on a running streak since 2008! So I've essentially run this race now 8 times. 

As I've heard mixed reviews this year on this race. For me, it wasn't quite as a positive experience as in past years. They changed the course slightly and even though I like to run downtown through the city because most races are only along the lake, some of the route in the city, I didn't care for. And where were the bands? I run with my headphones so really I didn't even notice at first that they weren't playing every mile, but when I finally saw one, that's when it jogged my memory that I hadn't seen them!  They can be a nice distraction while running for over 2 hours! 

I went down with my boyfriend Derek and a couple running friends Carol and Shelly.  We found a couple other runs friends and waited in the corral with them. The weather temperature was not bad at all but when I started running, I felt the humidity. Humidity and me don't get along. I knew I wasn't running for time. I was using this as a training run for the marathon. I had 12 miles on deck for training anyway. I gave it a decent effort in the first half of the race but by the middle, I was pretty over it. I gave it a lack-luster effort. I saw someone cheat around mile 9 when they cut from Lake Shore Drive over to the Lakefront Trail. It was only separated by a small downhill of grass.  They probably cut about 2 miles out of their half. But they did miss the mile 10 checkpoint. Not that that will matter. Disappointing that people cheat themselves out of the race like that. Oh well. By mile 9, I thought "Just 4 more miles, just a Thursday night run with my group."  This normally doesn't help me much but for some reason it did that day. I still was slow but I had a better perspective in my head. 

Plus, all the hills I've been running weekly during training (Wednesday's are my "hills" day) definitely seemed to help. Granted Chicago is flat as a pancake.  Except when they decide to throw exit/entrance ramps as part of the course. That made for some nice hill work during the half. There were a few in the first half of the race but nothing too major. Between mile 11.5 and mile 12.5, they threw in 2 LARGE "hills" (aka entrance ramps).  I remembered one of these from the previous year and I remembered walking up the ramp. This year...I ran right up both of those suckers with minimal effort! Woohoo!  And I thought about my hills while doing it. Even though I had only done 3 weeks of hills prior to that half, I swear that helped me!  So I felt good about that while finishing up the half marathon (which by the way, had the LONGEST finish line in I've ever had to run! Would it ever end??). 

Again, I do this run every year. It's normally really expensive so I sign up early and with a discount code and usually pay the cheapest price they offer.  Doing it this year with the course changes and the lack of bands really has me wondering if it's worth the effort to do it anymore. It has a special place in my heart though so only time will tell if I do it next year. 

Oh and my time?  Right around 2:20. For the lack-luster effort I gave the second half, I was fine with that. It's right around my "summer half" times anyway.

If you did it this year, did you like the course changes?  Are you going to do it next year?


1 comment:

  1. The RnR is still my favorite half marathon course. However, I didn't like the part where we had to run on the grass or on the Trail, but all-in-all I really enjoy the parts of the course that are the same as the Chicago Marathon course. Only a couple other races a year close down that much of the loop for running, so it is special in that regard. Too bad that person cheated. I hope they did not cross the finish line and get a medal at the end. If they did, their finishing time puts everyone who finished behind them one place further back on the results, which is (obviously) not right.