The 5K started near the boat house on the edge of the lake. Temperatures were already in low 70's and there wasn't a lot of shade on the out and back course. This was another great race for the Gypsies who came out in force.
At that point, Al reminded me how much work I'd put in for the last month and how many mental barriers I got through. I started cycling between 11 minute miles and 9:30 bursts. At mile 3, the course goes by a boat house and you see the finish line for the last 0.12. Al was reminding me to concentrate on form and push for the last quarter mile. It'd be a real bummer if I missed my time by a few seconds. The last split came in at an 8:59 pace, peaking in the last 40 yards at just under 8 minute pace.
And I cut another 15 seconds off my 5K PR, heat and all. It took me a little while to get my head around what that meant, but when I realized that was like taking over a minute off a half marathon PR, I was totally stoked.
We spent the next half hour cheering in the rest of the Gypsies and a big contingent of TeamUp. It's been awhile since we were part of the cheer squad and it was a great feeling to walk people in, especially some who were clearly finishing their first race.
One race in the bag. Temperatures climbing into the high 80s with humidity. My legs were dead from a hard effort on the 5K, but I couldn't help but smile. When you're with this group of people, how can you not?
I never made it back to the Expo but Susan went back to grab a few more sundries and pick up a present from Marcey at Sport Hooks. I'll post a picture when I figure out where to hang it on the wall.
We had thundershowers Saturday afternoon. We missed most of them since we were inside a theater watching Minions in 3D. How better to beat the heat and stay off your feet to rest? We had a few Gypsy dinners scattered around Chicago. Here's the group from Noodles & Co. Tawni, Tamie, Rick and Rhonda have been MIA for a few months at other races and it was great to catch up with them.
The 6:30 AM Sunday start time gave us the best chance to beat the heat. For Chicago, they offered a pair of RNR sunglasses if you beat your best time on the course. Given the heat, I wasn't sure how popular that was going to be. We were ready with cooling sleeves and were stopping for ice as many times as we saw it. Al was having some issues that morning that we traced back to something he ate at Noodles.
Fortunately, just about every one of our Gypsy friends were in town for this one. It's starting to get to that point where I need to be more creative with the group selfies. Al gave me some toys to play with for the next few races. Stay tuned.
|We're a pretty awesome looking bunch, if I do say so myself!|
My first 9 miles went pretty well. Imagine my surprise when I actually caught up to Al at mile 10, Noodles still not agreeing with him. I guess everyone has a race where things just don't go right and Chicago is Al's nemesis. Fortunately, he was able to gut it out.
|OK, I think I can make it now!|
Chicago marks a long break in the Rock n Roll schedule between the middle to late July and the start of October for Rock n Roll San Jose. The European RNR's haven't hit our radar since we've crossed off the continent for full marathons and Virginia Beach is even less appealing weather-wise than Chicago ever will be. We picked up three races to fill the schedule and may stay on track to join the 100 Half Marathon club by the end of the year.
This isn't a bad half way point for the year. I just hope the wall holds up to the weight of the medals.
This is the sixth time we've raced Rock n Roll Chicago, missing only the inaugural race in 2009. We've used this race as a mid-summer cool down after San Diego and Seattle, taking part in George Melichar's Moving Art Museum in 2014 as well as using the race to practice walker pacing for Nike San Francisco in 2010. Add to the fact that there's a lot of cool things to see in the city, it makes it a regular location for us, despite how much I complain about the heat.
The July - September slow period lets us work on speed and form or take time to heal and recuperate before things get really nuts in October. This was half marathon #90 leaving 10 more to finish in 2015 including six half marathons in seven weeks in five different states followed by our usual two half marathons in the same day in different states.
We look forward to embracing the suck.
Find us on Facebook at Marathoning For Life