Monday, July 23, 2012

I Ran with The Bachelor!

Correction: I tried to run with the (former) Bachelor, Dr. Andy Baldwin. He's fast!

If you told me five days ago that I’d be running with a former star of ABC’s The Bachelor, I probably would have laughed and said, “That’d never happen.” But yesterday, it did.

Dr. Andy Baldwin—remember him from The Bachelor's 10th season as the triathlete, naval officer, physician extraordinaire?—was in town to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon. And I, by some stroke of sheer luck, got to run with him (thank you Got Chocolate Milk and Team Refuel though I think you thought I was a faster half marathon runner than I actually am). Or rather, chase after him.

My half marathon with Dr. Andy lasted all of two miles, right about the point where my legs realized how fast they were running and figured out that they couldn't sustain that pace. My measly pace—not counting the half Ironman the weekend before, the week of physical therapy and the long bike ride the day before—couldn’t keep up for 13.1 miles. And when I glanced at my Garmin and saw our 6:14 average pace at the first mile, I knew I'd be in trouble. I barely keep a pace like that for a 5K—and that’s on my good days and for the first mile, maybe two.

I didn’t find out until later that morning that Dr. Andy was gunning to run near 1:30, a time I’d only be able to hit if I had someone else running in my place. He ended up running a 1:37, admitting that our hot temperatures got to him (even San Diego hasn’t had the Chicago heat and humidity this summer). But he did it without wearing a timing device, relying only on the on-course clocks, running based on how he felt, carrying a single sleeve of Clif Shot Bloks, and chugging along even if that meant leaving me behind and letting his girlfriend, Natalie Davila (yes, she’s Desi’s sister), play catch up. I wish I could do that. And look so relaxed at the finish line, chilling in the post-race VIP area. Maybe it was all that chocolate milk? Studies do show it aids in recovery.

Meanwhile, I’m the runner who took the race out way too fast and paid the price. Oh yeah, and I thought I could talk and run at the same time. Sure, I can do it, but it's tiring! Not only do I not remember anything that I asked Dr. Andy (except that he said after the fact that he was impressed I was asking questions), but it only added to my exhaustion. I knew it’d happen—I was far from prepared and still tired from the endurance workouts I’d put my body through in the last week—but at least if it had to happen it was at a race under the Rock ‘n’ Roll umbrella. These races are known to draw tons of runners and at least as many spectators, and they have local bands performing along the route. Suspecting that I'd likely get ditched by Dr. Andy (hey, I wasn't going to make him run my pace), I knew I'd be entertained. Plus I've missed RnR Chicago every other year it's been held due to other races or injury.

I'm not going to let that happen again: This race was fun! With a broken iPod and no tunes to blast when I really needed a power song to dig deep, those bands were exactly what I needed. The aid stations were stocked with ice for those of us fighting the humidity. The course was one that I can't run every day. And what can beat a post-race concert in the park? Not much. Now add in those two miles I did get to run with Dr. Andy, interviewing him after the race (stayed tuned for that), and another mile with an old co-worked (make that publisher of Windy City Sports), and you have a pretty memorable race. Tiring too, but that's what naps are for--and I definitely had one yesterday.

Did you run yesterday's Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon? What did you think?



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