Monday, August 29, 2011

Rock 'n' Rolled in Chicago: My 2011 Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon Review. Event Date: August 14, 2011

Heading into this event, I had reservations.  I had registered for this event before I got cooked during the 2010 Chicago Marathon.  The temperatures for that race reached 89 F, and it made for a long, hot and miserable event.  I even recalled I was served hot Gatorade at Mile 15 during that event.  So, I kept checking the temperatures heading into the 2011 Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon.  They looked OK, so I showed up.

Here are a few of my sightseeing pics:
The Bean (Cloud Gate) with a reflection of the Chicago skyline at night.
A delicious deep dish Chicago Pizza from Giordano's.  This cheese pizza took 40 minutes.
Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs baseball team.

Expo at McCormick Place.
Big Expo.  Got some samples and schwag.  The # of vendors and different types were very well balanced.

Brooks apparel and footwear was a huge sponsor and vendor at the event.

I have a soft spot for animals, so I helped to direct $20 to the ASPCA.  Thanks, Dodge!

Small Hiccup.
My packet p/u had only 1 hiccup.  The first shirt I got had some thread issues.  I exchanged it for a 2nd shirt.  The process was painless and smooth.

Pre-Race Night.
Had a lovely dinner with my friends, Jenny and Terry, before hitting the hay.

Unfortunately, my pre-race jitters got to me, and I had problems falling asleep.

Race Day.
1.       Attempted to check in my gear before heading off to meet some friends for some pre-race pics.  No go.  The gear check set up fell behind on schedule.
2.       I suspect many things fell behind schedule because of the storm the day before.  After trying to check in my gear the 1st time unsuccessfully, the covers were still on the finish line banners when I walked by the finish. At their other events, the covers are already off by now.
3.       It rained on and off during the race, so I kept my camera bagged as I was running along, hence no pics along the way.
4.       The last 3 miles had headwinds up to 20 mph.

Some of the sights along the way included the following:
  1. Mile 3 - Chicago Theater
  2. Mile 5 - United Center, home of the Chicago Bulls, basketball team
  3. Miles 8, 9 and 11 - McCormick Place
  4. Mile 12 - Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears, football team
  5. Chicago Skyline
  6. Tunnel thru McCormick Place, I believe

Chip:  Very happy with 2:34:07, which is almost a 10 minute improvement from the year before.

My 2010:  Chip:  2:44:06
My 2009:  Chip:  2:40:32

Pros and Cons.

  1. No issues finding a set of porta potties w/o any lines before the race started.
  2. For this year, the weather was cooler and not as humid.  It rained on and off during the event.
  3. Loved the Journey cover band along the way.
  4. New course this year.  Saw more of the city streets than in year’s past.

  1. Congested at certain points
  2. Some folks complained the waves were not separated enough, but I thought it was fine.
  3. Some of the aid stations were overrunned.  Volunteers couldn't keep up with the number thirsty runners going by.  I wasn't affected as I carried my own fluids.
  4.  The post-concert headliner, Bret Michaels, cancelled at the last minute.  I believe it was over health issues.

Overall, the Chicago weather in August is all over the place, just like for the Chicago Marathon in October.  When it’s cool, it’s great.  But, when it gets hot, it can be miserable.

I had fun at this event.  Thanks to the hardworking volunteers and staff for the efforts in making this event fun for the participants.


  1. Chicago in the summer can be pretty brutal. Maybe if there was a piece of carrot cake involved (thanks for the comment - I had to laugh out loud!)

  2. @Glenn - You're welcomed. If there was a carrot cake waiting for me at the finish, I probably would have ran a tad bit faster.

  3. A 10 minute improvement is FANTASTIC! Congratulations! Looks like you had a great time! Love the photos, especially that deep dish cheese! Mmmm... I miss American food! :)

  4. @Kim - Thanks for the congrats. I did not expect a 10 minute improvement and had a lovely time in Chicago. As for missing American food overseas, I did miss American food when I visited the UK several times. Each time, the Golden Arches provided temporary relief. Not sure if there are any in your area. Thanks again.