Chicago Rock n’ Roll 5k Recap

Yes, that’s right. The title says 5k. Not 1/2 marathon. I started the summer with a post about my upcoming races, including 2 half marathons that I was going to run for “fun”. I had never really run a race for fun, so this was going to be new for me. Well, my streak remains, because I DNS’d the first race and dropped to the (untimed) 5k for this one.

Chicago Mini Marathon  Rock 'n' Roll Marathon


Bottom line: I am not ready to run 13 miles. The farthest (furthest?) I have run since the Bayshore Marathon on May 25th is 10 miles. And even that was a pretty big jump since prior to that I had only run a little over 7 1/2. Even as a training run I didn’t think it was smart to go from 7.5 to 13 miles in 2 weeks. And since Coach wanted me to run a baseline 5k in July anyway, it made the most sense to drop down. And we will all just ignore the fact that I paid $85 for an untimed 5k.

The Expo

I was super excited to meet up with Jenny and Chanthana to go to the expo Friday afternoon. I had the privilege of hanging with these 2 ladies at the Spirit of the Marathon II last month and knew that it would be equally as much fun this time. Our time at the expo was cut short, since we got there about 5 minutes before it closed. No worries though…it left more time to share a bottle of wine before dinner 🙂 (told you they were fun!)

We met up with Kristy and Gina for dinner at Francesca’s in Little Italy. Good food and even better company. I was in heaven with all of the runner girl talk.

Race Eve

I moved my long bike and open water swim to Friday to give my legs a little rest before the race. I ended up being on my feet a lot anyway and as a result, my recovery run ended up being between Fleet Feet and Road Runner Sports while doing some running shoe shopping (!!) and from the L to my appointment at Chicago Recovery Room. I will talk more about both of those experiences later, but Liz at Recovery Room is awesome and did some much needed work on my tight/glute hammy.

We had dinner with a friend of Brad’s and her husband in Logan Square at The Boiler Room. Great pizza, cool atmosphere and very chill evening. Unfortunately the night ended poorly (details to come), so I got very little and restless sleep.


Um, early. The race starts at 6:30 a.m. downtown and I was hoping to start my warm-up 45 min. before the start. Thankfully Brad drove me the 10ish minutes down to the start, so I avoided the 40+ min public transportation commute.

Once I got there, I met up with Jenny and Chanthana to drop our bags and warm-up. It was nice having some company in the huge sea of people.

photo (50)

We ran a mile or so before they both headed over to their corrals and I continued with a slightly longer warm-up and finished with a few drills and strides.

The Race

I squeezed into the very front of corral 2 about 5 min. before the start. If I thought it was toasty while I was warming up, standing between all those people in the corral was like a sauna.

Fortunately we started soon and I tried to settled into a 6:40 pace. The distance was off after I lost signal under the bridge, but I lapped at Mile 1 marker at 6:39. It was super lonely and there were very few people doing the 5k in the early corrals. I just felt like I was on a ridiculously hard tempo run and was THIRSTY. I grabbed a water when I passed the stop which helped. I lapped at the Mile 2 marker at 6:14, but it was short (Garmin said 0.91 miles), and pace was still roughly 6:40. Just past mile 2, I was hurting, and the course was practically empty so there were no “chase him/her down” distractions.

When I rounded the final turn to the finish, the volunteers told me and one other guy to cross the street. Once we got there and started down the hill, we realized that wasn’t right and the volunteers yelled, “Nevermind come back!”. I was super annoyed but finally headed back in the right direction. I had (instinctively) stopped my watch when all that happened for a few seconds.

The final stretch seemed forever long and unexpectedly I passed Coach about half way down. He yelled for me to pick it up and “turn it over”, which was great motivation, but I think I may have tried to kick a little too early  because I was dying. Mile 3 clicked at 6:33.

Pain Face.

Pain Face.

As I was heading into the chute, I noticed my sweat had made my watch go crazy (why don’t I ever lock the screen, dammit??). I unsuccessfully tried to switch it back so I could stop it at the finish, but I never got it. I finally got it switched back about 15 – 20 sec after the finish and it read 20:43. (the extra time trying to stop it made Mile 0.1 a 7:43 pace).

Holding my stupid watch after I took it off to fix it.

Holding my stupid watch after I took it off to fix it.

So I didn’t have a time. But I knew I PR’d (if you can do that on an unofficial course). Kevin said I crossed at 21:59 on the race clock and since I started in corral 2 1:30 after the clock started, I was right around 20:30…which would technically be a 15 sec. PR.

I am not super worried about not having a real time. The whole point was to get a benchmark for where my fitness is at right now and I think we got that. My super stretch, in-better-shape-than-I-think-I-am-goal, was to PR and my real goal was to go sub-21:00 and I accomplished both, so that tells me I haven’t lost as much as I thought I did by taking so much rest after Bayshore.

Post Race 

I met up with Gina and ran with her into the finish, then we headed over to cheer for everyone in the half.

Chicago RnR with Gina

It was so hot out there and I was glad to not be running still. After the race, we found everyone, chatted about our days, then headed home for showers before meeting later for brunch at Northside Bar & Grille in Wicker Park.

I feel really lucky to have found this group of runners through Twitter. It is such a fun, positive and supportive group and I really like spending time with them! Still perfect scores on the whole “meeting strangers from the internet” thing 🙂

About Corey

I am a 30-something swim, bike, run addict married to my best friend and in love with my two schnoodle doggies.
This entry was posted in Chicago, friends, Goals, Race reports, Races, running, training. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Chicago Rock n’ Roll 5k Recap

  1. Declan says:

    Things I’ve learned about runners – they find dead bodies, and the fast ones can still get lost in a race!
    Great job on the PR, especially on the toasty day!

  2. Jenny says:

    So you’ll still hang out with us? 😉 It was so much fun to spend time with you this weekend. Hope the bike situation isn’t still bumming you out. You’re going to have a fun fall training cycle, girl!

  3. Liz says:

    I ran the 5K last year (I had pneumonia in April, so a July half marathon was out of the question!) and it was an empty course even in the back! Prob because that race is overpriced!

    Glad you guys had fun! One of these days I’m going to weasel my way into these run dates. 😉

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  5. Congrats on an awesome race and what sounds like a great weekend!

  6. elizabeth says:

    um, told ya so :):) so proud of you!! and love that you have quickly found running friends up there.

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