Friday, July 22, 2016

Rock N Roll Chicago 5K race recap

Many thanks for your support and encouragement in response to my last post. I really do appreciate your kind and thoughtful words!

Quick update: I have almost completely kicked the cold now, save for an occasional lingering cough which I expect will be gone soon. I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with my current busy period at work. And I haven't run a single step since completing the Rock N Roll Chicago Half Marathon last Sunday! It's been glorious. =)
With the recent craziness of work, I'm falling behind on blogging. I've got both the Rock N Roll Chicago 5K and Half Marathon to talk about, plus I'll be running the PAWS Run For Their Lives 5K this Sunday (purely for the charitable cause). So let's recap some races, starting with the Rock N Roll Chicago 5K.
Just after the starting line at the Rock N Roll Chicago 5K
I was very excited to welcome Kayla to town for the weekend! I think the last time I saw her was at the 2014 Disneyland Half Marathon, so I was looking forward to catching up. Kayla was also tackling the Rock N Roll Chicago Remix Challenge. After picking her up from the airport on Friday night, we grabbed some food at Ram Brewery before heading home to hit the sack.

On Saturday morning, the weather was absolutely gorgeous for a summertime 5K. The skies were clear and sunny, and the temps were in the 60s when we got up. It was cool enough out that Kayla and I both wore jackets as we rode Divvy bikes to the course.

While we were walking towards event-day packet pickup, we saw a runner who was busily puffing away on a cigarette. WOW. Never, in my entire running life, have I ever seen a runner smoking! I overheard him telling someone how he was hoping to improve his race times. I told Kayla, "Maybe it would help if he stopped smoking???"
After going through event-day packet pickup, gear check, and the portapotties, we headed towards the start line. Here's a picture of Kayla and me pre-race:
While making our way through the starting corrals, I heard a familiar voice. That familiar voice belonged to Tracey, a friend and colleague from a prior firm. What a wonderful surprise to run into her! I haven't seen Tracey in probably 4-5 years. She was also doing the Remix Challenge. =)
Photo by Tracey
I am borrowing this snapshot of the starting line from Kayla. Look at the beautiful clear blue sky!
The starting airhorn blew. A few minutes later, Kayla and I crossed the starting line and settled into a comfortable pace. We both wanted to keep things easy, knowing we both had a half marathon to cover the next morning.

The course started north on Columbus, initially following the same route as the Chicago Marathon, Shamrock Shuffle, and the Rock N Roll Chicago Half Marathon. We then headed east on lower Randolph before merging onto the southbound lakefront path.

Kayla and I were both bracing ourselves for a crush on the narrow path, which was still open to the public. While it was indeed crowded, thankfully it was quite manageable. I don't remember seeing any oncoming bikes swerving through the crowds, et al, which is a rarity on a Saturday morning!

The lakefront was beautiful and serene. This picture gives an idea of what the view looked like:
Kayla and I walked through a water station around Mile 1.5, then picked things back up. The course wound near the Shedd Aquarium and Field Museum before heading back northbound.

Close to the turnaround point, we observed not one, but two men dressed as Elvis, holding plastic guitars, and running barefoot! One of them was displaying an Instagram handle so here's one of his post-race snapshots:
Apparently there was a third Elvis that we missed out there?
In the final half-mile, Kayla and I came across some official event photographers. Race photo body spasm time! I tried to do a leap in the air while clicking my heels, but 1) the photographer didn't catch it, and 2) I wasn't able to achieve the leap with even the slightest hint of grace. We did get this quality snapshot, though:
Joint race photo body spasm attempt turned out very well!
Then, it was around the corner to the finish line. Here's an action shot of us crossing:
and here is our triumphant post-race finisher's photo:
My final finishing time was 34:00 on the nose. Interestingly, Kayla had entered a predicted 34-minute finishing time when she registered, so that worked out very nicely! =)

Admittedly, I feel a little silly for getting a medal at any race distance shorter than 15K, but I do love the beautiful Rock N Roll medals. Kudos to their medal designer for a fabulous product this year:
I loved the 5K race shirt, too:
This woman knows how to represent with the matching Chicago-flag running shorts!
All in all, it was a really fun, laidback run with Kayla, and a perfect shakeout for the next day's half marathon.

After the race, Kayla and I headed to the expo at McCormick Place to pick up our half marathon packets. The expo was better than usual this year! The goody bag had an unusually nice assortment of samples (including a packet of probiotic prunes! ;-) ), and the vendors were ample with their giveaways.

We ran into Erica (who very generously gave me a wristband to the half marathon VIP lounge - thank you so much, Erica!):
and Kayla and I enjoyed some of the fun photo opps:
You knew I wouldn't pass up any opportunity to rep the Blackhawks, yes?
Humana did a very nice job with the market-segmented photo props. =)
Then it was back home to relax and prepare for 13.1 more miles the next day!

Coming up: The Rock N Roll Chicago Half Marathon


  1. Wow, sounds like you had great weather for the 5k. Congrats on the finish and those medals are pretty cool. What's the deal with the smoking runner? I thought those guys went out of style in the 70s! Anyway, love the photo op. Do you carry the Blackhawks pennant with you everywhere?!

    1. Thanks Pete!!! Too bad you weren't there for the 5K on Saturday, too. Knowing how your year has gone you probably would have PR'd there, too! I was completely shocked at the smoking runner and agree that smoking went out of style decades ago. Bizarre! LOL - Humana had the pennant in their box of photo props! But you better believe it was the first thing I grabbed when I saw it. I SHOULD start carrying Hawks pennants around with me everywhere, though. Gotta spread the Hawks gospel, right?????? =D

  2. I actually know a VERY fast runner who was a smoker (when they were a smoker before, they were also a fast runner). I don't understand that addiction, and I get really irritated when people smoke at "health" events and on trails because the smell makes me sick... but I can understand not being able to kick a bad habit. Hopefully that guy is able to, if he wants to.

    How fun that you hosted Kayla and spent the weekend together! The medals and shirts look SUPER cool!!! I'm happy you had good weather! :)

    1. WOW. Can you imagine how fast that runner would have been if not a smoker? That's crazy!!! I don't understand the addiction, either, and I also dislike the smell. But yes, hopefully this guy has things under control.

      Thanks so much, Kim! Rock N Roll is very consistent with their events, which is terrific. It's too bad we couldn't repeat that beautiful 5K weather the next day! Hint: RAIN JINX!!!!! =D

  3. AND I'm pretty sure we passed the smoker on the course :) That humana picture was a good one as well! It was definitely a nice relaxed race for us.. a good warm up. Glad you are enjoying your break so far!!

    1. It wouldn't surprise me at all if we passed the smoker on the course! I'd be curious what kind of race times he runs and how much better he might be able to do if he didn't smoke, you know? I LOVE that Humana picture, it's one of the best best expo photos I've ever gotten. =) Thanks so much, Kayla - I hope you had a smooth workweek and enjoying some rest before gearing up for your next half, too!!!

  4. wow - you guys had a busy running weekend! First the 5K followed by the Half-marathon the next day! Congrats!How fun you guys took a pic with Erica! :)

    1. Thanks so much, Ilka! Rock N Roll does a great job organizing the Remix challenge so it was fun to take advantage. =) Very cool that you know Erica, too, she is so awesome!!!

  5. Great job on the race and I love that medal!!!! And that photo of you and Kayla craps me up. So cool!!!

    So there was event day pick up for the 5k? So you didn't have to to go the expo?

    1. Thank you so much, Zenaida! Rock N Roll does do the medals very well! I actually liked the 5K medal more than the half marathon medal, LOL. I am super pumped to get the RnR Las Vegas medal in November, you too?

      They did offer event-day packet pickup for JUST the 5K, but we still had to visit the expo to get our half marathon bibs. If you were only running the 5K, though, you could indeed avoid the expo altogether!!!

  6. It was the craziest thing to see the smoking runner! I would be curious to know what his back story is, e.g. if he has ALWAYS been a smoker and picked up running, et al.

    Thank you so much, Kelly! OMG - yes, what a treat when races do offer free photos! It's such a rare occurrence. I would happily forgo the usual race shirt and other swag for free photos, too! And yes, I usually say that I only like maybe one out of every 7 of my race photos, too - if that!!!

  7. Oh wow, they really changed the 5K course a lot from last year. When I did it last year, we started on the LFT, right around where your one mile mark was (based on the course map online), and then we ran down the path, under LSD, did a lap around the southeast corner of Grant Park (the corner bounded by Columbus, Balbo, LSD, and Roosevelt), and then went back under LSD to get back to the path to finish back where we started. You guys totally lucked out with the weather, too! Maybe not so much on Sunday, but Saturday was SO gorgeous and perfect for running!

    Bethany @ Accidental Intentions

    1. Wow - so the old 5K course used to be much more comprised of the LFT! I think it is a good thing they changed it since the path can get so congested being still open to the public. We were very fortunate with the Saturday weather, indeed! Maybe it was an omen that you can only have so much luck over a double-race weekend? But hey, we'll all still take as much good weather as I can get for any run during the summertime!!! All the marathon trainers on Saturday must have been overjoyed!!!