How Do You Rock? Chicago Women Rock Race Recap

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Chicago Women Rock was my second race of 2015, but the first all-womens race I’ve ever done. That is really light, considering I used to run a race just about every month. But I’m making changes to my racing budget and doing more things with my business, thus racing is not as high a priority. I volunteer for races sometimes locally, as Atlanta is never short on a race. But I now prefer to do mostly destination races instead of repeating the same ones locally. So I headed to Chicago on the eve Chicago Women Rock, which was held on Saturday, September 19.

 

EXPO

 

I arrived in Chicago 4 pm the day before the race. It was gray and had just started raining when my flight landed. It rained very hard, almost nonstop until just before my 10K started the next  morning. Traffic was horrible, and I had a slight ordeal at the rental car office, but thanks to Google Maps, I finally made it to the 63rd Street Beach House on Lake Shore Drive about 40 minutes before the expo was to close.

This was the smallest expo I’ve ever seen. I only recall a few vendors: race tees & socks, Nissan and a company selling pretty headbands. I went to the back of the hall to find the table set up with volunteers handing out jackets and bibs for this race as well as the Monster Dash 5k.

A lady in front of me in line was kind enough to tell me I had to know my bib number to pick it up. Well, I received exactly two emails since I registered, which were the automatic confirmation of my payment back in July, and a promotional email 2 days ago about a different race. She said I had to go to the organizers website (Team Ortho) and confirm something to look up the bib number. Turns out they found my bib using my name, and handed me a small envelope with the bib and safety pins. On the back were detailed instructions about placing the chip on your shoe, but it was the bib that had the timing chip. There was nothing in the packet about where to park, start times and locations, Porta potty/water stations–zip.

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I got in a second line to pick up my awesome jacket. Let’s face it, that was the last influencing factor in me flying my fam to the Chi to run in the cold 🙂

Then I went to find someone who I could ask a few questions about race logistics since none were in my packet. Parking is what causes me the most anxiety the night before a race in an unfamiliar city, so I made sure I had that info.

It ended up being a long evening driving in the pouring rain, so I had McDonald’s as my dinner around 10 pm and only slept about 5 hours.

 

RACE DAY

I headed to the race with my fam early and arrived around 6:20 am. Another race was in progress (probably the full and/or the half) but thanks to my sister’s disabled parking tag, we were able to find a spot in a lot across the street from the beach house and near the pedestrian walkway without circling. I paid the pay station $2.25 for 3 hours with my card. However some folks struggled because the signs said it took coins, but would not accept them. Pay stations aren’t the responsibility of the race organizer, but parking logistics factor into the race experience, so to me, it’s worth mentioning.

Sitting in the car without it running, we weren’t cold. But as soon as you opened the doors, you couldn’t hide from those gusty winds. I shot a few brief Periscope videos as I approached the start line and waited, but I stayed cold until about mile 2–including my hands. It was about 61 degrees, so I was surprised.

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Sweat with Your Sole: Charlotte (Recap Pt. 2)

This post is a continuation of my two-part recap with my impressions of the 2nd Annual Black Girls RUN! (BGR) Sweat with Your Sole Conference.

My last session was “RUN! Safe.” We all know that things can happen to people when they’re out running, especially alone. But criminals look for people who look weak or are distracted before they move in. Two local officers facilitated this session, and they were not only knowledgeable, but HI-larious!  They said that the top two places people are attacked/abducted are in the parking lots of shopping malls and grocery stores. Sometimes they come from between cars, and sometimes they don’t hide–but they ask a question and feign needing help. They use intent and opportunity. You can’t help what another person’s intent is, but you can control their opportunity to harm you. Be assertive and observant where you walk, take someone with you if you can, and run without earphones or only in one ear.

I was with my family in the evenings, so I did not attend the mixer on Friday night, nor the gala dinner with Marion Jones on Saturday night, but heard great things about them both. The expo area was nice, too, but I didn’t purchase any bling.

The 5K & 10K races on Sunday were awesome. What a way to end the conference! I beat my previous 5K time by two minutes, probably because I only took a couple of short walk breaks, and ran most of the hills. I came in 196th out of 1,040 5K finishers, and 2nd in the F35-39 division, which had 9 members (not the same as 2nd place for all divisions, but I did a great job)!

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As always, I got a little emotional when I saw the finish line. 🙂

I wish I could have stuck around to greet my friends who were in the 10K, but I had to walk back to my hotel (half a mile–I passed it twice during the race), freshen up, check out of the hotel and take my sister to the airport for her flight.

The best part of the conference was meeting other runners and getting the chance to hang out and talk with my sole sisters from my local group. So often we run together, but we don’t get the chance to know each other better.

Continue reading “Sweat with Your Sole: Charlotte (Recap Pt. 2)”