Spoiler Alert: I finished the 5k!
This wasn’t a traditional “race” for me, as I didn’t plan on running it. In fact, I didn’t even have a bib until a few days prior. The kind folks at Luna Bar hooked me up with a free entry (thanks, Ashley!!), and while I would have loved to take them up on a free half marathon, my legs were like “hahahahahah yeaaaaa no.” As it was, I knew that plugging a random 5k into my schedule would only work if I planned to run, not race, it.
I broke the news to Coach Abby that I had been a vigilante race registerer, and she took it in stride. I was to run it comfortably. It’s been years since I’ve run a 5k for fun, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bummed at the idea of internet results that didn’t reflect another PR.
The race was seamless, as all Fleet Feet races tend to be. I was nervous that my bib wouldn’t be at packet pick-up, considering I had only signed up 2 days earlier, but there it was! Race day was actually pretty cool. There was a sea of women in Grant Park – I really hadn’t even seen anything like it. This was the second year of this lady-focused race, and I was really impressed.
Jenny and I got there just in time to do a quick warm-up and head into the corral. Although there were about 1,000 women running the 5k (the half marathoners had left 30 minutes earlier), the front of the corral was pretty sparse. As such, I got to line up at the start line with the speedsters. The course was also pretty great – wide city streets that dumped us onto the lakefront path before pulling us back around onto Columbus St, where the Chicago Marathon also finishes.
I tried some new things this time around.
- No jams. I always run with music, but lately I’ve been leaving the shuffle at home. The freedom from headphones and distractions was actually kind of nice.
- New shorts. I had recently purchased some Distance Shorts from Oiselle, and had worn them on several runs with great success. I wanted to race-test them, since they have some pretty solid pockets. Normally, I’m a spandex kind of girl (and rocked their Stride shorts at the Wisconsin Marathon), but even in the heat and humidity of this race, these shorts kept me cool, stayed in place, and made my butt look pretty great. (Priorities.)
- No shirt. At the suggestion of “as naked as possible” Xaarlin, I raced in just my sports bra. The temps were hovering in the mid-80s, even at 6:30a.m., and it felt pretty good to have the breeze on my stomach. In the summer, I’ll regularly rock the topless look on training runs, but this was the first time I was subjecting race photogs to my “skins for the win” philosophy. An all-ladies race seemed like an appropriate forum for my debut.
My goal for this race was to hang out around 8 minute miles and see how I felt. Between my first leg strength training session on Friday, 9 steamy miles the day before (not to mention a fair amount of beer and pizza…), and sky-high temps and humidity, I felt ok letting my PR go this time around. Jenny, however, was gunning for all the PRs, and as the gun went off, she shot to the lead pack. It was really fun to watch her highlighter yellow sports bra hanging tough with some of Chicago’s fastest ladies, and I couldn’t help but chuckle at feeling like I was the Kara to her Shalane. All along the second mile of the course, we were cheered on by the men who loved their lady runners: dads, strollers, sons, brothers. It was really cool to see. For the first half mile, a kid followed his mom and sisters on rollerblades, videotaping them in the first few minutes of their family run, and lovingly cheered them on their way as we approached the Wacker Dr. underpass.
The post-race festivities involved free ice cream, courtesy of Brooks. All races should have free ice cream, really. Race Directors: Take note.
I should also note that I went home and took all the naps, only to wake up really confused to the race walking event in Des Moines blaring from my computer.
Anyone else race this past weekend? Get free ice cream?