rock and roll chicago half marathon


Race #7. Rock and Roll Chicago half marathon. My first time moving up to the half. Very daunting cos it’s a big distance, a big race and I’m only just getting back on the training plan.

A 6.30am start meant I had to get up at 4am. I made oatmeal yesterday so it was only a matter of microwaving it, adding yogurt and blueberries. One lesson I’d learned is to have enough food before a long run / race.

The red line was completely full by Fullerton, people couldn’t get on. Must have shocked the regular early morning travellers. I dropped my (empty) gear check bag at the CARA tent and went in search of the portaloos and water. They even had bananas before the race, impressive. The start was long, but much better organised than the shamrock shuffle. We were all allocated corals according to our bib numbers, and there were at least 28 corals. Each coral was separated by a rope and they released each group in 1-2 minute intervals. Yes, it meant it was past 7am by the time I got to the start line, but it wasn’t a scrum and for a few hundred meters I was running on an empty road cos I was right in the front of the pack.

There were bands at every mile, and loads of water and cytomax stations. I took my camera and managed to get a few pics. I was slower than usual at 5k, probably cos of camera breaks, but feeling strong. The crowds along Adams and Michigan were amazing and I wished I had someone cheering for me or waiting at the finish. Sigh. I tucked in behind the 2.30 pace group at Michigan and followed them to the south shore. Got hungry at mile 8 and was glad I brought my own GU. The south shore part of the course was tougher than the loop part — fewer spectators, hardly any cover from the sun, and tiredness. People say the wall hits at 10miles, I got tired at 11 and fell behind the pace group. Picked up a bit with 1k to go.

It was fantastic to run around the last turn and into the home stretch. Had enough to finish strong. My watch time was 2:33:47hrs, chip time was 2:33:51. Missed my target of 2:30, but I’m not bothered. It’s a good time and experience. There were bananas, oranges, energy bars, ice lollies and a cold wet towel in addition to water and cytomax at the finish. Also free beer and free concert by Five for Fighting. I only stayed for the beer, didn’t fancy sitting in the sun with soaked clothing for the band.

I was so hungry and tired when I got home. I did reward myself with a big steak, and the cheesecake I bought on friday. Went to bed almost immediately after lunch and slept for an hour or so. I hadn’t registered for the chicago half in september. Now I’m seriously thinking about it.


  • overall: 12,798/18,555
  • gender: 7,375/11,757
  • age division: 434/778

This was the rocker balloon at 15k, the southermost point of the race where we turned back. Other pics: flickr set