On Friday June 21st I flew from Minneapolis to Chicago to meet up with my Aunt, Uncle, and Cousin (Rachel from Running Races Coast to Coast) for my first ever “race-cation”.
After annoying delays (EVERY flight I’ve been on in the past few years has had delays) I landed and found my way to the “L”. I’ve never been to Chicago before, but love to travel and am always looking for an adventure! I got off the “L” at my stop and got a little worried about the neighborhood I was in–until I turned the corner and saw a Trader Joes. My first thought was thugs don’t shop at trader joes, so I must be alright!!!
I walked a few blocks and found my hotel. My aunt and uncle drove in from North Carolina so they were already there. I had fun visiting with them for a while until my Rachel’s plane was due to come in. I headed back to the airport with them to pick her up. After a late dinner Rachel and I were pretty tired from our flights, so we headed to bed.
The next day was packet pick up. We had a quick breakfast and drove over to grab our packets. We were in and out super quick–we got a tech t-shirt for this run. It was really simple and I actually love it. When I first saw it I thought it was boring, but not too many races give plain simple shirts and once I had it in my hands I decided it might actually be my favorite one yet! I didn’t take a picture of it, but Rachel wore it during the run (pictures to come). After packet pick-up we went back to the hotel to drop off our stuff and go check out some sites.
Sunday morning we had an early wake up to get ready for the run. All weekend there had been posts about the heat–it really didn’t feel that hot and I didn’t pay too much attention. We lined up at the starting line ready to go! The plan was for Rachel and I to stick together. I really wanted one of those cheesy pictures of us crossing the finish line together. I was coming off of the Minneapolis Marathon and hadn’t run in three weeks, so I didn’t really have a time goal-I just wanted to have fun and finish. The first few miles went well, and then we got hot. I’m not talking about a little hot. It was AFRICA HOT out there on the course. I grew up in the south, I can handle hot, but after the winter and spring we had in Minnesota I just wasn’t ready for the 90 degrees. Never the less, Rachel and I plugged along. I have one question for the city of Chicago though—WHERE WAS THE WIND?!?!?! There was no breeze and very little shade along this course. Although I wish there was more shade, this was a good course. It was flat and had gorgeous views of the lake and the skyline.
The course support for this race was great. There were plenty of water stops that included endurance Gatorade. They even set up a last minute extra stop around mile 12. There was a luna bar cheer section where we got sample luna bars and around mile 8 or 9 we got clif gel shots. (I have a pretty sensitive stomach, so I grabbed the clif shots to try on a training run.)
I really like how the race tried to keep us cool. There were several areas along the race that had misting stations–although I think it could have been executed better, something was better than nothing. After crossing the finish line we also got an ice cold towel to put around our necks–it was very much needed.
Our finishing time was 3:06:57, but I really wasn’t there to set a PR. I was there to have fun. It was really good to have someone to run with. Most of my friends are just getting into running, so most of my runs and races are done alone. I haven’t spent any real time with any of my cousins in years, since we live so far apart, so it was really good to catch up and learn about what was going on in each others lives.
After the run they had an area set up for pictures. And another area with venders giving out samples. Naked juice and muscle milk where two that I really noticed. There was also an ice cream truck giving out free ice cream!!! I think I love ice cream more than I love beer!
Overall, this was a great experience. I’m hoping I’ll be able to meet up with Rachel for some more runs as she checks states off her list. I would have to say, the one thing that I didn’t like was the company that did the photography. There were many people that didn’t get any pictures taken (not even finish line ones)–and even though Rachel and I crossed together they took our pictures separate. We were clearly together, so I don’t know why they did that–I would have bought their over priced picture if they had taken one of us together.