I always knew that being a BibRave Pro was more than just free races and products. For me it’s always been more about the community of people, many of whom I consider friends even before we’ve met. After an amazing orange-filled weekend last December at The Running Event in Austin, I knew that I’d do my best to make it to as many BibRave Pro meetups as possible. The positive energy and joy felt from spending just a few short days with runners from all over the country has continued to fuel my running journey. When BibRave announced the summer BRP Summit in Chicago around the Rock n Roll half marathon weekend, I knew I had to attend. Bonus points for the fact that my NYC Marathon training plan had me running 13 miles this weekend anyway!
After a quick pitstop in NH to visit my parents and grandmother, I left at 3am on Friday to head to the Windy City. I made it to the hotel by 8:15, the room was ready (thanks Marriott!), dumped my bags, had a quick breakfast in the lobby, and then me and mascot Benjamin headed out for a quick run to a park to meet Team BibRave and other Pros who had already arrived. We were supposed to do a service project at the park but it was canceled due to heat; of course this meant we got in a quick run along the lake. I was very quickly reminded that Chicago is the most beautiful city in the US; between the lakefront, the amazing architecture, the awesome transit system, and the impeccably clean streets it’s just awesome. If it wasn’t an arctic tundra in the winter I’d probably consider moving there lol.
We had some post-run donuts, headed back to the hotel for a quick shower, and then it was off with my awesome roomies to the Rock N Roll Chicago Expo. I’m not a huge expo fan but I appreciated this one for it’s medium size, wide aisles, less crowded feeling.
After another quick visit to the hotel and shower rinse (did I mention Chicago was experiencing record high temps?) it was already time to head to the “Orange Carpet Dinner.” Team BibRave treated us to an awesome dinner at drinks at City Winery thanks to sponsors Aftershokz and Knockaround. I used a BibRave Buff as a belt and an orange heat sheet as a shawl so, yeah, that happened…
Saturday morning we were back at the lakefront for a shakeout run and what I’ll call BibRave class photos. The amount of running groups on the lakefront trail was staggering and made for some amazing people watching, although it made me wonder whether there’s anywhere else to run in Chicago.
After a long walk back along the lakefront (I dipped my legs in and, yes, it’s freaking cold!), Millennium park and the bean, we had just enough time for showers…again, before heading to a Cubs game at Wrigley field. I loved visiting the park but with the heat index at 106 it wasn’t the most pleasant experience. The park was handing out travel size bottles of sunscreen, and had showers going in the concourse to keep people cool. We left around the 6th inning (the Cubs won eventually) to head back to the hotel for, you guessed it, more showers (with a room of 5 women we went through A LOT of towels this weekend), before heading to dinner and a live taping of the BibRave Podcast. Team BibRave did a great interview with Cindy Kuzma of the Injured Athletes Club podcast and author of upcoming book, “Rebound:Train Your Mind to Bounce Back Stronger from Sports Injuries After a long walk back along the lakefront (I dipped my legs in and, yes, it’s freaking cold!), Millennium park and the bean, we had just enough time for showers…again, before heading to a Cubs game at Wrigley field. I loved visiting the park but with the heat index at 106 it wasn’t the most pleasant experience. The park was handing out travel size bottles of sunscreen, and had showers going in the concourse to keep people cool. We left around the 6th inning (the Cubs won eventually) to head back to the hotel for, you guessed it, more showers (with a room of 5 women we went through A LOT of towels this weekend), before heading to dinner and a live taping of the BibRave Podcast. Team BibRave did a great interview with Cindy Kuzma of the Injured Athletes Club podcast and author of upcoming book, “Rebound:Train Your Mind to Bounce Back Stronger from Sports Injuries“. It was a really informative discussion and reminder that injury doesn’t have to take you away from the running community and that coming back from an injury can make us into better athletes.
Sunday morning started early again for Rock n Roll Chicago Half Marathon! We all met at the start line for a team pic at 6am and then the race started at 6:30. The temperature had dropped 30 degrees from the day before but it was still really humid. Rock n roll certainly did a great job preparing for the heat; water every mile, gatorade every other station (I think), several places with ice (they were handing runners bags of ice), spray stations, and ice cold sponges. I think several early days, little sleep, being sunbaked, and probably dehydrated led me to having a really miserable race experience. I couldn’t keep any electrolyte drink down and resorted to chugging water which probably made it worse. Team BibRave told me I waved to them at the mile 6 cheer station but I have no recollection of seeing them; kinda hard to miss all that orange too! Also, note to self, apparently I can’t run over bridges…and there are a lot of bridges in Chicago! Most of the bridges are draw bridges so they have a metal grate service. I think when I ran the Chicago marathon these bridges were actually covered in carpet for the runners, but not during Rock n Roll; they were very uncomfortable to run on and you could see straight down to the river. I ended up feeling like a baby deer trying to run over each one, so I just walked. Also, for a Rock n Roll race there didn’t seem to be much music, so I was glad I ran with my Aftershokz (I don’t normally run with headphones). Admittedly, since I wasn’t feeling well I may have missed a lot. I don’t remember much of the course except the bridges and the fact there were a ton of turns. At the end of the day I had 10 plus miles on my schedule for NYC marathon training so the race served it’s intended purpose.
After my miserable and very cranky finish, and then moping around the rest of the BRPs until I felt better, I walked back to the hotel and staggered into a McDonald’s for an egg mcmuffin. Miraculous recovery after that lmao! Oh well! I somehow managed to cram all my new goodies and nasty clothes into my carry-on luggage before heading out to our final lunch gathering of the weekend. It was certainly sad for the weekend to end but I know I’ll get to see some of Team BibRave and other Pros in Atlanta in February for the Olympic Marathon Trials and Atlanta Marathon weekend. I’m excited to get some more orange down to ATL. I had a very late flight, so when Pro Christine and her friend Stephanie decided to go see Hamilton I figured I should end an awesome weekend on a high note and hang out in the room where it happens once again. 4th time is a charm, especially when you get 2nd row center seats for below face value 25 minutes before showtime; not throwing away my shot, indeed.
I was exhausted by time I got home Sunday night, and Monday was basically a wasted work day, but I’ll work hard, play hard any day for a weekend surrounded by orange. Can’t wait until next time!