Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Race Recap: RnR Chicago

The short of it: No PR. No PW. On to the next race.

The long of it:

Let's be honest, my training has been questionable at best since April. I have no one to blame but myself. The sweltering heat that has been this summer hasn't helped things, but mainly I've been undisciplined and distracted and LAZY.

As of two weeks ago I was thinking of skipping Rock 'n Roll Chicago. I could stand the  thought of another slow and disappointing race, let alone a PW. Ugh. No thank you. I expressed this woah-is-me attitude to a few running friend and the general consensus was to get my ass to Chi-town and make the best of it. 

Ok. Fine. I'll go.

Fast forward to last week. 

I'll sum it up by saying it was a long, shitty week at work.  Days were long, work was frustrating, tears were shed. It was a crappy week. I was suppose to train through the week as though RnRCHI was merely my long run. Coachie's plan for the week was a little ambitious, race or no race, but working back to back 12hr days didn't leave much time or energy for running.  I got in what I mentally and physically could and tried not to get too down on everything I didn't. Plus, my quads and hams were sore from hauling my ass up and down a ski hill or two at DWD last weekend.

Saturday we finally got out the door around 11 and made our way to Chicago. The expo was pretty standard. The Trigger Point crew was nice enough to sell us a replacement roller for the one Willis chewed up. The expo actually still had a race shirts in the size I ordered (yeah!!). We were in and out pretty quick (that's what she said...).

Dinner, followed but cheesecake in bed, Friday Night Lights on Netflixs and lights out by 9.  4:30am was going to come eaaaarly.

I slept relatively well for being the night before the race. I only woke up once or twice, and that was more because I was cold than nervous. Regardless, that damn alarm went off way too early.  Did I mention I forgot my breakfast stuff at home and had to resort to what I could find at Walgreens? Clif bar and hard boiled egg (kept cold in the ice bucket). First time for everything.  We were dressed and out the door by 5:30 or so, making the mile and a half walk to the start. Not a bad warm up, I guess.    

We got there with enough time for the obligatory pre-race nervous picture.

W walked me to my corral and hung out until a few minutes before the start.  It was already mid-70's and a little humid, but there was cloud cover so I feeling okay about things. Except that this was the first half I was running solo. Silly, I know, but it was a mental hurdle I was going to have to tackle. Sure I've done plenty of double-digit training runs by myself, but something about racing solo had me a little shaken. Whatever, time to run and worry about it later.

The first few miles flew by. I wasn't moving particularly fast, but loosened up nicely after about a mile or so and felt good. The first aid station was somewhere around mile 2 but I opted to cruise through it as I had my own water and was feeling good. Shortly after that I saw W, my own personal super spectator, for the first time. Another mile or so went by, another W sighting, another aid station. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Somewhere after the 10k point I started having conversations with singers on my iPod:

Bieber would keep running!

Carley Rae?
No maybe about it, keep going!

Nicki Minaj?
She'd make it look fierce.

I'm beautiful. Drop-dead.

Yeah, being in my head was little strange at that point but it was still mostly upbeat. Every time I started to need something...water, gatorade, cooling station, ice...it was there within half a mile. They weren't messing around with course support. It was top-notch.

My attitude was good and I was keeping my slow and steady pace up until mile 9'ish.  Up until that point I only walked the aid stations, and while I was running slower than in a perfect world I'd like to, things were going well. But somewhere between mile 9 and 10 I feel apart.  Secretly I had hoped to beat my RnRNOLA time, and at that point I was on pace to do it. 2:30 didn't seem unreasonable. I had 40-some minutes to go and ~4m. If I dug deep I could do it. 

But I didn't. 

The sun came out, we left the shelter of the tall city buildings, and the fact that my longest training run in weeks was 8m all reared their ugly head at once.  And so began the walking. The trudging. The swearing. The general suck-fest. Womp, womp.

The sponges at mile 11 were AMAZING. The Brooks guy half a mile after that made me smile (and pause for a gratuitous self pic). The tunnel was fun. And then I ran out of motivation. We were running on Lake Shore Drive, in the full sun, cars blazing by...I was so close, but I just didn't care. I'd walk the rest of the damn thing if I had to. I just wanted to be done. And then around mile 12 Kelsey caught me.  Bad news, Kelsey caught me. Good news, KELSEY CAUGHT ME! That girl kept me moving for the last mile. She told me that with only a mile to go we were going to run. There was no walking at that point, no matter how shitty we felt. And so we ran, and complained, and commiserated our way to the finish.

This wasn't the hottest or hardest race I've run, but it just didn't work for me. I'm sure it was my lack of summer running coming back as a karmic bitch-slap, but I pushed through.

My feet were barely leaving the ground by mile 12....

Thank god for Kelsey!!!

Rock 'n Roll Chicago Final Results:

1207/1723 AG
6151/8998 Gender
11082/14881 Overall

#RnRCHI: Run and DONE!!

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