Last Saturday Nate and I did a quick trip up to Chicago so I could be a part of the Rock ‘N’ Roll race series! This year instead of running another half marathon I want to focus on running shorter distances more frequently so I was thrilled to partner with Humana and Fitfluential for this race.
Nate and I got up bright and early at 4:15 on Saturday so we could be on the road to Chicago. Since we couldn’t make a whole weekend trip out of the race due to work schedules and last-minute babysitting we elected to not get a hotel and just drive over that morning. (Let me just say KUDDOS to you if you get up anywhere north of 5am to workout. You are amazing!)
The drive was uneventful and we were able to get to Downtown and parked by 6:30 am. I walked down to Grant Park where the race was starting from to get my bib and packet. It was a little confusing that you got to the after-party area before the race, I thought for a second that was where the starting line was, but soon realized it was across the street and down a little..right next to the water.
The morning of packet pickup went really smoothly and I had just enough time to get my stuff, check my gear, and use the port-a-potty before it was time to move get in corrals. Yes, they had a corral starts for a 5K but with all the people running it was totally necessary! The announcer was fun and there were good tunes blaring at the starting area!
About 10 minutes after the first corral was released I crossed the starting line and was underway. I must say it was the hottest race I have ever run! The humidity was wicked! The first mile I focused on finding a steady pace in the 10:30 range. There was one cheer section along the first mile which was fun. Around 1.2 miles in we went past a live band playing cover tunes and cheering on runners. The heat was intense and instead of picking up my pace as planned, I slowed and took a couple 30 second walking breaks in the second mile which was a loop in Millenium park. I finally hit a water station at 1.8 miles and man, that felt good! We went back passed the band and then down right along the lakeshore for the last mile.
Let me tell you that last mile was brutal. The sun was beating down and the humidity was relentless! The view was stunning though! There were a lot of folks walking and I definitely had to take a few more short walk breaks before running it in for the finish!
Woohoo! It was awesome to be done!! I chugged a bottle of water and had a banana with a bit of granola while I stretched. I then found Nate who sadly had been up at the after party area thinking that was the finish line! Boo! That was my one complaint about this race–I felt like there should have been better signage or volunteers directing people to the start/finish of the 5K.
We went over to check out the after-party. There was a fun cover band and free beer, plus a meet-n-greet with the great Meb Keflezighi! (The line was so long I decided to skip it.) Afterwards I really wanted to stop by the Expo for the race at McCormick Place and it was definitely awesome! There were tons of vendors and lots of great sample and info from a variety of companies, including the title sponsor, Humana! They had their Cheer Squad up and running where you can send messages to runners to be seen during the race. So high tech!
I also got to check out the bling from some of the other Rock ‘N’ Roll Half Marathons and I fell in love with Nashville’s medal….so perfect!
Pros of the Rock ‘N’ Roll 5K
- High energy atmosphere
- “Big Race” feel for a 5K distance
- Nice medals
- Good organization on race day with packet pick up, bag check, corals, etc.
- Plenty of toilets!
- Live music on the race course
Cons of the Rock ‘N’ Roll 5K
- Start/Finish for the 5K were not clear, due to the after-party area having a similar finish line.
- Only one water stop on the course. I know it’s a 5K, but two would have been nice, especially with the temps as high as they were during the race.
Overall, a great race and it makes me excited to look for a Rock ‘N’ Roll Half Marathon to train for soon! Nashville, anyone? I’m looking forward to rocking my health with more 5Ks this summer and maybe a 10K or a half in the fall. My goal is keep my fitness fun while still pushing myself.
What do you think makes a great 5K? How do you #RockYourHealth?
This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Humana.