Hey, I’m back from the Windy City and if you happen to be my Facebook friend or read my Twitter page, you know I spent the weekend in the Windy City taking part in the inaugural Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon. It’s a series of marathon in large cities across the country which combine a half-marathon with rock bands playing at each mile marker.
My running partner, Lisa, and myself head to Chicago for the weekend event. As you might know, I got the bug running in the Pittsburgh half-marathon but this was a different event. There weer about 10,000 more people running than in Pittsburgh and the venue was the towering city of Chicago, my hometown.
I made a weekend of it by visiting my brother and his friends and doing some shopping and eating along the famed “Miracle Mile” known as Michigan Avenue. However, everything was targeted towards Sunday’s run which began at 6:30am. Let’s just say we had so much fun with my brother Saturday that we didn’t get quite the sleep we needed for Sunday’s race.
An exhausted yours truly was even more behind the eight ball when I realized I had packed no athletic socks. With no place to buy socks at 5am in the morning, I went sockless for the race. Then, there were the ten blocks we had to walk from the hotel to the starting line in the center of town at Grant Park.
We finally were ready to begin the race. The plan was for Lisa and I to run together and, just like the Pittsburgh half marathon, to finish the race together. However, moments before hand she told me I needed to run on my own. She said she would feel guilty if I did not run my best … and try to do better than the 2:05:00 time I did in Pittsburgh. I hesitated but agreed that’s why I was there – to do the best I could – so shortly after crossing the start line I took off.
It was flatter than Pittsburgh … and the views in Chicago were more spectacular. Couple that with the thousands of runners and the rock bands at each mile marker, it energized me. While I had moments of fatigue, I knew they were because I was pushing myself further than I ever had before. By the time I was heading back up Lake Shore Drive towards the finish line, I knew I was going to have a personal best time.
Still I kept pushing,even sprinting the final 100 yards to the finish.
My final time: 1:46:35.
I was very proud of myself … and was thrilled when Lisa crossed the finish line. I wanted to let her know that her prediction of a 1:50:00 time had come true. Without her motivation and help, I never would have tried running in the first place. Just imagine how I would have done with some socks on!
I have become a fan of running, not a fanatic. I love the sport and the challenge. While it’s great running with a group, it has become an individual sport for me. I’m not one of those people who buy all the running gear, carry water with me when I run and do all these other things to “increase” my time. I simply run …. and think along the way. It has become the great escape for me … and the great relaxer.
I plan to do more races in the future, including the Great Race here in Pittsburgh and the Spirit of Pittsburgh half marathon in November. I also hope to travel to a couple more of these rock n’ roll half marathons in cities like Seattle and San Antonio.
Hopefully, this will build towards the ultimate goal: the full marathon right here in Pittsburgh.
The only thing I need to remember? Next time, bring my camera. I forgot it again.