I worked from downtown yesterday and met Katie right after work, then drove over to Lincoln Park. We circled the block for a while before finding a spot that she helped me navigate into, then we walked over to the expo to pick up our gear. The packet was really nice - a huge custom tote, an Athleta tank, a few magazines and some product samples. I'm looking forward to wearing this tank, it's pretty nice!
We walked around the expo for and checked out the vendors - it was quite impressive for an inaugural race. There were a few samples to try and a spa tent I made a note to visit later.
I also met up with the other Chicago Running Bloggers for a photo and a chat. It's always great to see these ladies. We eventually lined up right before 7 for announcements and notes, which included "slow down, don't push yourself.
The race started on time at a balmy 89 degrees, too. The first mile was fine, the second mile sucked and the final mile felt like a death march. I finished in 26:26 and was immediately draped with a frozen towel, handed gatorade and given a popsicle. Nice touch.
I made a beeline for the spa tent and got a quick rub down that felt heavenly. The ladies there were also doing polish changes and braids, but my nails and hair were both gross by then. I felt bad enough making someone rub my shoulders, but I would have felt really terrible making someone touch my hair. Ick.
The post-race food was awesome. It was catered by Centered Chef and featured on-site grilled flatbreads with a smoky hummus and chocolate avocado pudding with berries. I went back for seconds on both accounts. They were mobbed by the time I went for round two, so this place could have used more food, especially since every participant received three (3!) drink tickets.
I found Katie and the other bloggers and we headed for the drink table. The drinks area was roped off for runners only, so the spectators and supporters had to wait elsewhere. The line moved quickly when I got my drink, but it filled in quickly. I'm sure they'll make the drink area larger next year as a result. We had our choice of several wine options and I went with the sparkling beverage. It tasted great on such a hot day, but we eventually ditched the drinks to start heading back to the car. I have never seen bugs so big and was terrified, so it was time to call it a night.
All in all, I had a great time at this race hanging out with friends. It was certainly more of a run than a race for me - I'm taking it easy and it was hot. That said, there were some seriously fast ladies on site. The overall winner clocked at 20-minute 5k, and my respectable 26:56 only snagged me 8th in my age group. Impressive!
Cost: Mine was comped, but it was roughly $30 for the 5k in advance
Pros: Awesome swag from Athleta, great pre- and post-race party, massages on site, scenic course, thoughtful responses to the extreme weather, tasty post-race food, ample drink tickets
Cons: Not enough food, crowded drink area, kind of awkward drink area situation if you brought non-runners with you
Would I run this again?: Yes, and I hope to try the tri series this race offers, too.