Truth is, I almost didn't make it to Chicago today. The logistics of this race were proving to be a major pain in the patookey. And then my daughter suddenly got sick Saturday morning. My friend, Dee, also didn't think she was gonna make this race due to a schedule conflict. But, thanks to my daughter's equally sudden recovery, and Dee's change in plans - we were able to make everything come together!
My friend, Lynn, had posted about this race on Facebook awhile back. It took me all of about 1 1/2 minutes to sign up once I learned it was a 5k AND you got a medal. I love my growing collection of medals. And I especially like adding to it when I only have to lug my butt 3.1 miles :)
Check out our cool sequential bib numbers. We must've been within seconds of each other when filling out those online registrations.
Dee lives about an hour and 15 minutes from me. I live about two hours northwest of Chicago. Lynn lives about an hour southwest of Chicago.
Dee was gonna spend the night at my house so we could leave bright and early Sunday morning to make the 8am race start. Lynn scored a good deal on a hotel room downtown and decided to stay in Chicago Saturday night. Dee and I had originally planned to take a train into Chi-Town, but after some contemplating - decided to drive. The Sunday train schedule kind of stinks for those of us north of the city. And the race was by Montrose Harbor anyway, which is about as north of Chicago as you can get.
We arose at 4am in order to get ready. We left the house a little before 5am, stopped for gas, picked up some coffee, and had an uneventful drive south of the border. We arrived at our perfect parking spot a little after 7am.
We had to pick up our race packets so we got into a ridiculously long line that led to ONE tent. This was really the only thing that could've been better about this race. They did not have packets organized by last name, or have separate lines organized by race number....it was just one big ole line leading to one little ole tent. It was kind of a cluster. The volunteers did their best to get everyone through, but it was a little unorganized.
After we attached our bibs and timing chips we needed to pitstop at the potties. Holy long line, Batman! We had to wait longer than we wanted, and we were cutting it awfully close to the start of the race. But, we did make it. Had we taken the train, we probably wouldn't have made it.
I was supposed to meet up with a fellow blogger before the race and had to text her about our time crunch. She was already lined up at the start line while we were lined up at the porta-potties, so we decided to meet afterwards.
I did not run much of this race. The three of us decided to stay together and ended up chit-chatting the whole time. Lynn is way faster than Dee and I, and we told her to run her race and meet us at the end. But we all decided this was gonna be a more laid back 5k for us. Dee was having some pain in her leg. And I am just so miserably out of shape right now, that we all enjoyed the slower pace and the company.
Once we finished we got our cool medals.
And picked up our finisher flip flops. (I totally had to sneak that medal in again. Its a great medal!)
And I finally got to meet up with a blogger friend from "From Couch Potato to Half Marathon Competitor". Timre is super nice and offered to pick up my race packet from the Soldier Field 10 Miler I had to flake on. I had to help my Mom up north that weekend and felt pretty bad about cancelling on her. I offered to give her my t-shirt since I now have the dilemma of not being able to wear it since I didn't run the race. Worse yet - its a really cute stinkin' shirt! Sure. The shirts I get for the races I run and am "qualified" to wear always manage to be butt ugly. This is, perhaps, one of the cutest shirts I've gotten and runner's code forbids me to wear it. Thankfully, the shirt also runs really small and I couldn't wear it if I tried. If I were to manage to get it over my head and my ample boobage it would pretty much serve the purpose of a sausage casing. And I fear I would never get it off without the help from a magician schooled in the art of straight-jacket escape. It is SMALL! So, now it provides incentive. And if I lose enough weight to fit into the darn thing - I'm totally wearing it. Go ahead. Judge me. But fitting my large self into that shirt will take much more effort than it would have to run the 10 miles. So, I'm changing rules on this one. But just for this particular shirt. I promise to abide by the code otherwise.
Timre had to leave us quickly, but it was great to get to meet her. And I was super thankful for her lugging my race goodies out to me.
Another perk of this race was free beer. Our bibs each had two beer tickets on them. Granted, it was 9am. But our fearless threesome was braving the beer garden anyway. I don't drink much, but a beer actually tasted pretty good right then. I think we all enjoyed the festivities more than we thought we would. Soon people were giving us extra beer tickets right and left. Some guy even gave me an actual beer so I didn't have to get up to get my own. Sa-weeet!
Here is our collection of beer tickets from random people.
And here is all of us enjoying said beer tickets.
We made it until closing time, which came promptly at 10:30am.
Dee was nice enough to drive Lynn downtown to her hotel since the cabs up by Montrose were few and far between. We freshened up in her room and then had a nice brunch at the hotel. I'm convinced I exerted myself more during the buffet than I did the 5k. There will be no calorie deficit for me today, despite the mileage.
After brunch we said our goodbyes to Lynn and headed back to my place. We ran into crazy stupid traffic backups and it took us almost 40 minutes just to get back up to Montrose. But we were full and happy, so we managed the traffic much better than folks who had somewhere to be.
Overall, this race was great. They had some snafus with packet pickup. And they advertised two water stops on the course and we only saw one. But the perks were great.
The medal was substantial - especially for a 5k. The post-race snackage was better than average. There was some really great roasted red pepper hummus, all different types of popchips, bagels, fruit, and, of course....beer :)
All three of us are all in for this one next year.