Our trip actually started Friday morning, after dropping off the kids at Matt’s parents house for the weekend. As much as I was excited about racing this weekend, I was really excited to have a weekend away with the love of my life. This is starting to become a yearly “anniversary” trip for us, and I think we both enjoy a few days of peace + quiet (and decent) sleep, even though we both miss the kids like crazy! Thank goodness for FaceTime!
We dropped the kids off around 10 and made our way up to Chicago. We decided to make only one extra stop this year and that was at Binny’s for some beer that we can’t find in Missouri. We were specifically looking for some Dog Fish Head, but we ended up getting PLENTY of other types to keep our fridge full for awhile.
We made it to the expo just after 4 and successfully did not pay to park for the second year in a row! Expert tip: if you are traveling with someone (and don’t mind not spending a ton of time at the expo), one of you can sit in the car outside the expo while the other one picks up their packet, and then switch. We’ve done it 2 years in a row without an issue. Sure, we don’t spend much time at the expo and we have to navigate it alone, but it saves us $30 on parking! I was driving, so Matt went in first to pick up his 5K packet and explore the expo, and then it was my turn. I had to pick up both my packets as well as my VIP bracelet. I walked around the expo a little bit, but didn’t spend much time there, mostly because we had been driving for a few hours and I really needed to use the bathroom!
We stayed at the Travelodge this year – it was the cheapest hotel I could find that was close to the start of the race. It was about a half mile walk to the starting lines for both races, so it was perfect for us. It’s so nice not to have to worry about catching a train or finding a parking spot (like I have to do in St. Louis). Our goal for dinner on Friday night was just to drink some good beer. We were a few blocks from Printer’s Row, so we ended up eating dinner at Flaco’s Tacos and then grabbing some really good beer at Kasey’s Tavern before calling it a night.
Like I mentioned a few weeks ago, I was using the 5K as a “shakeout” run – no racing this one for me. Matt has been slowly getting back into running, so he was the perfect person to run with, since I knew he wasn’t going to push the pace and we could still run a decent time. We headed to the starting line around 6:45 for the 7:30 race. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was a new course this year! While we didn’t get to run ON the lake this year, the starting line was so much better because we had a lot more room to fit. And it was A LOT flatter, which was really nice as well.
As Matt and I were standing in our corral, I happened to look over and see someone who looked like Ashley Swapp, who is my Rock ‘n’ Blog “boss”. And then realized, she was talking to Steffany! I made a beeline toward them and ended up getting to meet my other Rock ‘n’ Blog teammates, Brandi, Dave, and Gregg! It was so nice to finally put REAL faces with people I’ve gotten to know on Facebook and Instagram! We chatted for a few minutes and then went our separate directions for the start of the race.
It really was nice to be able to run with Matt. We were able to sort of reel each other back when we felt we were pushing the pace too much – or Matt was able to hold me back when I started to speed up! We were able to talk pretty much the whole race, and I was able to get a few snaps in while we were running. Even though I am used to running a 5K MUCH faster than we ran this one, I felt like the race flew by. It definitely made me want to run with Matt for every race since I feel like he is the only person I can actually talk to for an extended period of time. (I do not do well with small talk – I will talk about the weather 50 times. Literally.)
We passed Ashley who was in charge of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Snapchat for the morning and then passed Steffany about a quarter mile from the end of the race. Matt ended up beating me by 1 measly second, but I guess I will let him.
Mile 1 – 7:46
Mile 2 – 8:04
Mile 3 – 7:43
Finish Time – 23:39
There really wasn’t that much to really talk about the race. It was a blast to run in one of my favorite cities with my favorite person and meet some of my blogging friends! Other than that, it was just like any other run for me. My hamstrings felt a little tight, but I thought it was a great way to get my legs moving again after sitting in the car for 6 hours the day before.
[Tweet “Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago 5K race recap #rnrchi”]
One of the things I have really been wanting to do in Chicago was catch a baseball game at Wrigley Field. It was actually on Matt’s bucket list, and luckily, they had a day game in town the weekend we were there! I was a little nervous because the only seats I could find were all the way at the top. But, I was pleasantly surprised – Wrigley is TINY compared to Busch Stadium, which means that there really is not a bad seat in the house.
It pretty much killed me to be surrounded by Cubs fans, but they were loud and exciting. Don’t worry – I’ll forever be a Cardinals fan, and I made sure to “root for the CARDINALS” during the 7th inning stretch!
The rest of the day was all about rest and relaxation. Matt was able to get in 2 naps and I did a lot of great reading on our down time. Dinner involved some of the beer we bought the day before, as well as trying Lou Malnati’s for the first time. Expert tip: You can order your pizza online and schedule a pickup time. We were only a few blocks away from Lou’s, so we were able to walk to pickup our pizza. And thank goodness we did because it was over an hour wait for a table! Plus, it was nice to relax at the hotel to eat and get to bed at a decent time before Sunday’s half marathon!