Tag Archives: 5K

New Year’s Day 5K

Well, the first race of 2013 is done and done!  Mike & I ran the New Year’s Day 5K in Lincoln Park this morning after a relatively relaxing evening at a friend’s house.  We woke up today to twenty degree temperatures, w/ a wind chill of closer to 11 degrees as you get closer to the lake.

This is the temperature now -- 2 and a half hours later!

This is the temperature now — 2 and a half hours later!

We bundled up, and I wore the following:

  • pink long sleeve top w/ thumbholes
  • Blue jacket w/ thumbholes
  • Grey tights
  • Smartwool socks & Pink Pure Cadence
  • Gloves & earwarmers

We stayed in the car as long as we could…

IMG_1048 But eventually we had to get out of the car and head over to the race.  Since we’d picked up our packets the day before, there wasn’t too much to do before gear check.  We wandered around and I ran into Lauren from Forward is a Pace leading the Team Challenge table.  Nice meeting you Lauren!

I look like a hot mess but I'm so cold!

I look like a hot mess but I’m so cold! I hadn’t even taken my “real” jacket off yet

Today was definitely a day for a warm-up, and I’m glad I did.  My warmup pace let me start out the race at a pretty decent pace, after my favorite pre-race routine of being in the port-a-potty line when the race gun goes off (please note sarcasm).

After business was done, I got my heiny over to the race start & got going! I felt good and was passing quite a few people.  It was so cold, and just icy enough out, that I needed to focus on my footing & to keep moving.  I actually didn’t even look at my Garmin until the first mile marker, and then again at the 2nd mile marker.

Going into the third mile I was still feeling good and kept going as fast as I could!  Although I’d gotten a bit slower of a start than I would have liked (had to tie my shoe at half a mile), I was wondering if I could get close to my 5K PR.

I ended up negative splitting this race with splits of 9:28, 9:02, 8:46 & 7:44 for the last .1 mile.  My total time was about 50 seconds off of my PR, but I lay it all out there today.  When I finished, I couldn’t walk a bit more (not my legs, but my lungs were done) and took a moment to just chill on the side of the finish line.  Then it was grab my banana, some coconut water, and high tail it out of there in order to get warm!  Homeward Bound!

This race was $25 and we got a long sleeve cotton tee & also gloves for being in the first 800 participants.  I like the shirt style, but Mike thinks it’s girly (!), and the gloves look like some good potential throwaway gloves at the next cold half marathon or marathon.  There was also a free beer (and snacks) included at a nearby bar, but we decided to head home to warm up, shower & watch bowl games today.

IMG_1056 IMG_1053

Overall I’m glad we got out there on the coldest day in the past 311 days, and am starting the year off on the right foot for fitness & health!  Now I only have to do my planks to work on my core!

Terrapin 5K Race Recap

This was actually a lot more fun of a race than I’d expected!  I made the decision to actually run this event at the last minute – right on the tail of a “no run, only bike” week.  I had a few friends who were doing this and I originally signed up because I’ve already spectated at a Thursday night 5K. Plus – who wants to pay to get to Soldier Field just to spectate?

So Thursday afternoon I’m struggling to get out of work on time, taking my last meeting in my running clothes so that I can jet out of the office! (Of course, it would have helped not to leave my race bib on my desk… time to go back. Now it’s time for a cab instead of the bus!) I actually appreciated the cab down toward Soldier Field so that I could put on my race bib, munch on some gatorade chews, and actually text back to my friends already at the race.

I got out of the cab just in time for a nice warm-up mile to Soldier Field.  Nothing like a little “40 minutes to race start” to get your fire going… even if it is still 90 degrees out! I got to the race, checked my bag, ran into an empty port-a-potty, and miraculously found Peter, Alexis & Dave just in time. They were heading into their corral, so I joined them. 

Somehow I’d been given a bib into Corral B, and oddly had assumed that this was reflective of the 9:00 pace I’d planned on.  Well, “Team Friends” was in Corral H, and I realized I had no clue again which corral I should have been. So I started in Corral H with the idea that this was just going to be a fun run.  We definitely had a good time chatting and goofing around before the start:

Then the 8th starting signal happened, and my legs started moving. And moving. And moving! I hadn’t really expected to want to push hard in this race, but my legs were telling me otherwise.  We pushed and weaved (gosh darn that corral H decision), and weaved some more. 

I felt good on the first two miles, doing 9:11 and then 9:05, and was trying to go faster even for the 3rd mile – (hey I’d at least negative split even if I was too slow for a PR). But I got my favorite finish line feeling – a stomach cramp, and was reduced to walking for just 10 seconds.  It took me a while to get back up to speed, and I finally was sprinting for the final quarter-mile of the race! 

I finished sprinting harder than I could remember in a while, and certainly didn’t have much more in speed that my legs or lungs could have accomplished.  Personally, I thought I was running better (legs higher, faster turnover) than previous runs, but Mike didn’t agree. 

Mile 3: 9:10.   Estimated pace for the final 0.1:  7:33 min/mi (didn’t stop Garmin, so this is estimated based on final time & mile laps).


Husband & Wife shoes:

And a group shot:

Alexis, Peter, me, Mike & then two of Alexis’ friends

The post race party was a lot of fun.  Highlights:

  • Coconut water was being handed out when you finish the race.  Delish!
  • Beer ticket! and Music!
  • Beware the post-race “munchies”—a mini-doughnut and and a cheez-wiz quesadilla??  Skip!
  • Chicago Blade Runners were manning the Beer Tent, and there is a lot of overlap between this group and the Dare2Tri paratriathlon club I’ve been volunteering a bit with this year.  Yea for friends who will pass you a free beer! And yay for fundraising! 

I’d definitely consider this race again for next year, and I think this could even be a PR-worthy event!  I was only 40 seconds off of my PR, and I think I could have easily accomplished this had I effectively planned this as a potential PR.  It helps if you’re in a competitive corral, and getting to the race early enough to calm down for a minute before the race starts.

That assumes we don’t get funny looking tie-dye shirts like past years! I love the gray old-school shirts that were this year!

More Fleadh

So I did pretty great at the Oak Forest Fleadh on Saturday, but I forgot to share other information too! 

First off, what is a Fleadh?  “A festival of course!” This was on the back of all the race volunteers shirts, and the 5K was really just a part of the larger Irish heritage festival going on that day. 

After the race, I met up with Mike and found out he’d PR’ed too!  PR’ed and won in his age group.  So we stuck around for the awards ceremony: IMG_0526

And took a photo.  Yes – I look kind of like a monk because I’m so bundled up!  It was still cold out!


And then it was off to do some real refueling – at an Irish pub!  Pretty much everyone from the race headed over, and we found out our “free beer” ticket on the race bib actually meant something Smile Mike liked celebrating with the beers, while I enjoyed some Irish coffee (Jameson, people, not  Bailey’s).



After a bit, and a bit of bar food, we then headed outside to the parade.  This was a very cute parade – in addition to the floats, there were people walking by dropping candy into the kiddies bags.  Reverse trick-or-treating… the kids just stood there!











Things I learned from the Irish Parade:

  • Dogs like to dress up too
  • The Irish like their fisherman’s sweaters (they were all over!)
  • I should have had curly hair.
  • Elmo’s Irish too!

I really enjoyed the Irish parade and the overall race experience down on the south side, and am looking forward to finally celebrating St. Paddy’s day in Chicago proper.  For the past several years, there’s always been something instead, so I’m looking forward to some more Irish celebration this coming weekend!

Bucktown 5K Race Report–aka Push Yo’self!

Sunday was the morning of one of my favorite races, the Bucktown 5K.  I love this race because it’s held in my neighborhood in Chicago, literally 2 blocks from my home.  It was the first race I did after moving to Chicago, and they give good swag (that’s a goodie bag for those non-runners!).

This year’s race didn’t disappoint in the swag:

A super track jacket?  Don’t mind if I do.  It fits great, and has pockets Smile .

Not sure if you checked, but usually track jackets cost $40 or more, which is what I paid for the entire race.  Packet & Jacket pick-up was much smoother out of the new Running Away Multisport store than last year’s packet pickup.  In and out in 5 minutes, with 4 people’s packets.

So back to the race.  It’s in my hood, it’s a short enough distance to not stress out, and I don’t ever have to use a port-a-potty.  I also had a fun time since Mike & I decided to host a little brunch post-5K for our friends.  Which also turned into pre-gaming the night before (we skipped the karaoke), being an impromptu gear check, and then heading to the race with 5-10 of our friends.  Really, what more could I ask for?

The morning was cool and sunny, and we got there just in time for the race start.  Cool enough for a long sleeve shirt, but my trusty compression shorts.  The whole gang started together (although apparently it took us 8 minutes for our wave to pass the start line!), and then I took off.

I hadn’t been feeling that great last week, so I wasn’t sure how I was going to do.  But for a 5K, why not push yourself?  No matter what, it’ll be over pretty soon.  So I pushed, and pushed!  I passed some hashers, and other runners I recognized (Hi Joanne!).  I ran a fast first mile, kept up for the 2nd mile. 

It is a crowded course, so I did do enough weaving in between people. We’re on Chicago neighborhood streets, so it’s a bit narrow. And this race is popular enough that there’s a lot of people (5000?).  So weaving ensues – don’t be shy! 

In the third mile my energy begins to lag a bit. I had a stomach cramp that’s been growing, and I’m starting to not keep up.  A quick (10-15 sec) walk break and then I’m running again.  One advantage of having done this race for 3 years (and running in the neighborhood regularly) is I know the course well and knew exactly how much longer I had to go. So I pushed.  And pushed.

As we went into the final turn it was still crowded, and I tried to push as hard as I could into the finish.  And I finished in 29:25, a cut of 30 seconds off of my previous 5K PR from the Just Book It! 5K in early August!  Yay!

I am incredibly proud of myself, and as I finished I waited around to see which of my friends might be finishing not too far behind me.  Then came Lilian, and then came Ali!  Yay gals! We all made PRs that morning! 

A few reflections on the race and my areas for improvement:

  1. Good job in pushing hard.
  2. I need to work on the speed endurance. I’m PR’ing, but I still take a quick walk break in the 3rd mile when I run this fast.
  3. I need to work on strides.  My final .17 (according to the Garmin) at the Bucktown 5K was an 8:38 pace, which actually wasn’t as fast as my 8:05 pace for the final push at the Library 5K a few months earlier.  Erin pushed me in (yelling the entire time & running with me) and I swear my legs had never pushed so quickly as that day.  I was trying hard this time too, and mentally repeating “fast turnover,” but clearly there was a difference. 

Overall, it was a great race, although I suppose I really just went in & out for the race from my own personal race headquarters! Brunch was fun and great to see so many friends stop by and enjoy the day!

Grayslake Just Book It 5K Race Recap

This morning I got up super-early and wasn’t actually loving the idea that I was going to run a race that morning.  Snooze button 2x or 3x, and then somehow I was in the car, driving out to Grayslake for the Just Book It 5K! The race was organized by the local running club, and benefits the library.

I made it out to the GL library with just enough time to meet up with Kim, Erin, Bobbi, take a picture, and then grab my packet. Bathroom (real bathroom – inside the library. Thanks lib!) break and then we headed over to watch the kid’s dash.  So cute – and it was nice that it was before the race so everyone could cheer on the next generation of runners! 

(thank you Kim for these photos!)

Then it somehow became time for our race, and we found Marcia at the start! She was very fashionable in her bright running top & skirt. 

Oops – we missed a warm-up!  I was hoping to beat my PR from the Bucktown 5k last fall (30:04) so I lined up with Kim & Bobbi.  Bobbi was also looking to break a half hour, and Kim was planning to pace her.  We started out great!  The first mile was a lot of fun and felt very easy.  First mile:  9:08

As we entered into the second mile things began to be a bit harder.  I still pushed myself, but about halfway through I began to lag behind from Kim & Bobbi.  I worked on keeping them in my sight, but also keeping a more consistent pace.  I completed the second mile in 9:22.


Don’t I look like I’m having a great time in that photo?  This reminds me why I wear sunglasses at many races… Smile 

On the third mile I was starting to hurt more – cramp in side that kept bugging me.  I took a quick walk break to stretch my right side out, and then started up again.  I was going strong and keeping steady. I wasn’t looking at my watch and hadn’t really expected that I’d be finishing faster than last fall. We rounded the final corner (a wide turn on grass) and then headed toward the final water stop (at 2.9 mi) – a little odd maybe?  I asked if there was water at the finish (yes) so I sped on through and didn’t slow down at that water stop. 

At this point we could see the finish line and I tried to go as fast as I could.  As I began to approach the finish, I heard someone cheering for me, and then saw Erin!  She also began running me in from the side.  I swear I have not pumped my arms that hard or had as fast turnover as I did for those final 100 meters. 

I finished the whole race w/ just a few seconds to spare, but made my PR!  Finish time was 29:48!  I was so happy to have finished and succeeded in meeting my goal!

Post-race, we chilled and chatted more, and stuck around for the award’s ceremony to watch Marcia accept her age group award!  It was a great morning and a great change from my long distance endurance events! 

Lessons Learned:

  • It’s fun to meet other bloggers – you already know each other even if you’ve never met before!
  • Small races can be good too! This race reminded me of many events I did in Wisconsin, and I kind of miss the smaller, more community feel. 
  • I still have more work to do on speedwork!  My 3rd mile was a full minute slower than my first mile.  I’d like to improve that last mile.  And I’d like to practice that final kick — Erin really kicked me in the butt to get in under 30!
  • May need to wear sunglasses or a hat even when it’s not sunny out.  Hide my “race face!”
  • Oranges, Flavor-Ice & Jelly Bellies are soooo delicious after a race.