I suppose I'll start with Friday... I went into the city a little later than I planned, which was fine because I really didn't need to shop so much! I had planned on visiting my cousin on the way, but she had a meeting with her realtor come up so she was unavaiable. I drove straight to the city, and arrived around 4:30 so I checked into my room, and then went out walking.
I went to the Women Rock Expo to pick-up my race packet (and running jacket, which came with the registration) and see what fun things they had for me to buy. The expo site was about a mile and a half from where my hotel was, so it made for a nice walk. I ended up buying a tank, some socks, cup, and a new WR shoe charm (from BeeCause charms - LOVE them!). Another vendor was there so I picked up a cute 13.1 can koozie, magnet (pink and black polkadots!), and a charm for a necklace. Since my only half marathon was the Princess Half, I'll likely add it to the necklace that I got when I was there. After the expo I walked back to the hotel, making stops in some stores along the way. I ended up buying some popcorn at Garrett and picked up some cute stuff at American Apparel (LOVE that store!). I got back to my hotel around 7:30 and relaxed for a bit.
I realized that I'd only eaten breakfast and was super hungry. I didn't really feel like going to a restaurant solo so I walked to a Subway (restaurant) about a block away from the hotel. I took my sandwich back to my room and ate there. I chatted with my Mom and boyfriend, and just spent the evening watching TV. I was really tired and ended up falling asleep (TV and lights on) sometime between 9:30 and 10. I woke up around midnight and actually got ready for bed, and slept until my alarm went off at 6:30 Saturday morning.
Saturday - Race day! I did the Women Rock 10K (part of the Women Rock series, which also included a 5K and a half-marathon) on the beautiful lakefront in downtown Chicago. This was a similar route to other races that I've done and in a similar area. Teamortho is the group that put on this race as well as the Polar Dash, Get Lucky, and Monster Dash (all of which I have done). It starts at Grant Park and follows a trail along the lakeshore, past Museum Campus and Soldier Field. I'm not familiar with the exact half marathon route as I have not done one of theirs (only a 5K, 7K, and two 10Ks).
I knew what to expect out of the course and it was as beautiful as always (well, except the Get Lucky in March when snow was pelting me in the eyeballs, it was cold, and super windy). Like the others, this was an out-and-back course, which I prefer for races. I like to start and finish in the same area.
It was a perfect morning for a run! The weather was beautiful; in the low 60s and sunny. The wind was minimal. I ran in compression capris, a running skirt, and the WR tank and socks that I bought at the expo. Oh! I added the new shoe bling to my shoe too.
The half-marathon started first and roughly half an hour later the 5K and 10K started. We lined up together with 5K participants on one side and us 10K-ers on the other. This was so that we could split off in an orderly fashion when the split came. It went pretty smoothly, although it was as bit clustered in the beginning. With that many people in one spot that's to be expected.
I had a good run. I am definitely slower than my usual pace and ended up in the 13 minute mile range instead of my usual 11 minute mile range. I haven't been doing much running this summer and I'm a little heavier. It makes sense. I have more weight to carry around, so of course I'm going to be a little slower. BUT I ran the majority of it. I took walk breaks going into and out of the water stations, and a couple other quick ones but I ran the majority of the race. I knew my pace was slow but I didn't care. I knew my time would be slower than usual and I didn't care. It felt good to be out there running; just to be doing a race and getting some exercise! I wasn't in a rush when I ran either. I think because I knew I was slower than I once was, I didn't pressure myself to go fast. I didn't exhaust myself early, which I have a habit of doing. I kept a nice even pace and just ENJOYED the run. I don't do that often enough because I'm always worried about pace and time. It was super nice to just relax and take the time to enjoy running. I needed that. I've missed that feeling and I think I needed something enjoyable to get my heart back into running.
Upon finishing, the 10K and half marathon runners received neckalces rather than medals (5K runners got medals). I'm not gonna lie, I saw the medals and really wanted one! I love medals and have quite the collection going. There was an option to trade the necklace for a medal (although I didn't see where this was happening), but I don't think I'd have traded. The necklace is pretty. It's a sliver W with a ruby and a (tiny) diamond. I guess the appraisal value of the necklace was $120. I wish we'd have had the option to purchase a medal too. Or that everyone received a medal and we could purchase necklaces if desired....Something to be able to have BOTH would've been nice! I love my necklace and would have loved another medal to add to the collection. At least I have my race bib to add to my book!
There was a post-race party which was okay. It wasn't packed, but it seemed like most of us waited in line for our glass of champagne and to take pictures with the WR backdrop and men (I didn't do that part) and then took off. The champagne line was rather long but I really wanted my WR champagne glass (not to mention that four delicious ounces of champagne!). There was a DJ playing some tunes, but it didn't seem like anyone was paying much attention to him or the music. Since I did the race solo, I drank my champagne, snapped a couple pics of the glass, and went back to the hotel. I relaxed for a little while, showered, and then packed up to check-out and head home.
Overall, WR was a great race experience! I really enjoy the races that Teamorotho puts together. I reallly like that they provide running jackets, fleeces, or sweatshirts rather than the typical race t-shirt. I like that they provide nicer items!! Of course they always include a medal (or in this case a necklace) too! Expos are fairly small (compared to Disney - but what isn't!?) but I always manage to find something cute to spend my money on!
They provide typical post-race snacks (water, bagels, bananas, and sometimes things like champagne or hot chocolate) too.
The races bibs are always colorful and specialized to the race too, which I enjoy (rather than those drab white and black generic-looking bibs).
I'm looking forward to my next Teamortho race, Monster Dash, in October!! I'm pretty sure I will be doing WR next year too!!