As many of you may already know, last weekend I was in Chicago for Rock ‘n’ Roll weekend. Wifey and I flew in a few days early to see the sights and enjoy being tourists. We had about 2.5 days to see everything we could before it was race weekend (Saturday: 5k and Sunday: half). There are plenty of race photos on this post, but I’ll include a few Chicago-ish photos.
Saturday morning came pretty quickly and it was time to make our way to the start line for the 5K. Rock ‘n’ Roll is testing out doing some shorter distance races the day before to set up mini-challenges for runners, of course, I was game. Shalane Flanagan, was going to be running both the 5K and the half on Sunday and I was hoping to be able to see her or get a picture with her… little did I know, I would be able to do MUCH more than that.
The 5K had a lot of runners, but it didn’t feel crowded at the start. I was standing there with Katie of Mom’s Little Running Buddy and asked her if she wanted to get closer to the start to see if we could spot Shalane. She said sure, so we weaved through the crown like ninjas, if ninjas do in fact weave. As we got closer, Dan, a RnR friend/employee recognized me and waved me forward the last few steps to meet Shalane. After a gracious introduction, I was able to snap a pic with her (see the selfie) and was asked if I could run the race up front with her. WHAT?!? Yes, this is my life.
Mile 1: 7:15
I had no idea what the pace would be, but was told that she wanted to run the first mile and then sort of fall back so that she could interact with the crowd. I can do that. So the race started and there I was up front running with Shalane and Chris (of RunWestin). Since I hadn’t planned on running the 5K “fast” I didn’t really stretch or warm up and busting out a 7:15 was on pure adrenalin. But I tried to play it cool like it was no big thing… because a 7 minute mile TOTALLY impresses Shalane. It was pretty cool to talk to her and listen about her current training and upcoming plans. Amazing.
Mile 2: 8:05
After the first mile she backed off the pace a bit and started chatting with some of the other runners. I was able to settle into my pace a little more, but committed to running the whole race with her. It was 3.1 miles and I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to run a 5K with Shalane. Of course, there were some pretty epic photo opps that were happening:
Mile 3: 8:23
Home stretch and there I was, about to cross a finish line with one of the great American runners.
To say that this was one of those moments where you are thankful, bewildered and shocked that these things happen… is just the beginning of the conversation. I know that she could have left us all in the dust from mile 1, I get that… but still, I’m a runner, blogger, and “normal” guy and there I am leading the pack (for just a few seconds), running a 5K and crossing the finish line with Shalane Flanagan… wow. It was a great way to begin race weekend.
Sunday’s RnRCHI Half Marathon with team Project Onward (read it here)
The reason I made the trip to RnR Chicago and how racing can be about MORE than running.
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Do you ever have those moments where you are just like: “wow”?