This is my life. Sometimes shown through the eye of my camera phone, and sometimes not. I'll talk running, gadgets, music, and whatever else I stumble on to

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Rock N Roll Chicago Half Marathon race report: Facing my fears

Rock N Roll Chicago Half Marathon

"Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing." -Unknown

That was pretty much my mindset going into this race. I originally planned to finish in about 2 hours, but after 3 days rest, a solid 7 mile run the Wednesday before, and a great weather forecast, I decided to go for another personal best. Could I finish in 1 hr. and 50 minutes? After finishing in 01:56 in Highland Park last June, I didn't think I'd have anymore in me, or so I thought.

While at the expo on Saturday, I upgraded to the #5 start corral where I thought my 01:50 pace setter would be. Instead, he ended up one corral forward and I was left to fend for myself, once again. As hard as I try to run with pace setters on race day, something always happens and I miss them. Oh well, it was me and my Garmin.

I forgot to turn off the Auto-Pause on my Garmin, so it managed to stop ticking when I went under both of the tunnels on the route. As you can see from my stats (below), it ended up being off by 3 minutes, and a few of the mile splits were crazy fast. Not until after mile 6 did they balance out, and I was in the 8:30's- perfect. The course brought back memories of the Chicago Marathon last year, since many parts were on the same path. The scenery changed a lot and it made it that much more exciting.

This same time last year during this same race (then known as the Chicago Distance Classic), I was so concerned with going too fast, getting hurt, and just finishing that I didn't push myself. Some rather fast training runs through June and July this year really built up my confidence, and found myself running the middle miles at an 8:30-45 pace rather comfortably.

By far, this is the fastest I've run in a race- ever. Everything just clicked- from new shoes, new nutrition (Gu Roctane Gels), weather... the low humidity, cool breeze, and a flat course contributed to my new PR of 01:53.21 besting my time in Highland Park by 3 minutes. I placed 2668 out of 14,438 finishers. My left knee got a bit tight near mile 9 with just the slightest pain, and had to ice it at the medical tent as a precaution when I was finished. As of this writing, the knee is doing really well. No harm done, it seems.

The event itself was one of the most organized and well run races I've ever taken part in. The folks at Elite Racing/Competitor really know their stuff. I never waited more than 5 minutes in any line including gear check and potty. I've never seen so many porta-johns in my life! The post-race party featured Emmy award winning blues act Susan Tedeschi, which I very much enjoyed! The bands at every mile marker gave a needed push when I needed it. I HIGHLY recommend this race and probably any Rock N Roll series race out there.

My last half marathon will be the Lewis & Clark Half Marathon in St. Charles, MO. on Sept. 13. This race will serve as a full-on tune up for the Chicago Marathon in October. I'll be piling on even more miles between now and then including three 20 mile training runs in Aug. and Sept.

For now, I'm still basking in the light of my new half marathon PR. Things are looking up for a good finish in October.

Pictures and stats below...

Click here a complete video of the event, including the amazing "Kara Cam"!

Click on all pictures for a larger version.

Rock N Roll Chicago Half Marathon
The starting line an hour before the 6:30 a.m. start.

Rock N Roll Chicago Half Marathon
The post race party featuring Susan Tedeschi.

Rock N Roll Chicago Half Marathon
Susan Tedeschi.

Rock N Roll Chicago Half Marathon
Signed swag by my favorite male marathoner Ryan Hall!

Ryan Hall and me
Ryan Hall!

RnR Chicago Half Marathon stats
Race stats. Official finish time 01:53:21

Labels: , ,