The long version: I got a free entry to the St. Paddy's Day 5K in Lincoln Park courtesy of Cabot Fit Team. I registered online and decided against picking up my packet in advanced. Instead, I drove downtown bright and early and circled the block before deciding I just needed to cough up the cash to park at the Lincoln Park Zoo. So I spent $20 to run this race and made my peace with it.
I picked up my packet without incident and stopped by the Cabot tent before hooking up with Amber, my college buddy, former coworker and relay teammate. She's a winner.
The 8K started at 9:30, then we waited around the 15 minutes until the 5K started. I didn't have high hopes for this race - I'm in the taper of a marathon cycle, which usually zaps me of any speed. I'm also carrying around five pounds more than the last time I PRed a 5K at 23:37.
After freezing my shamrocks off waiting for the race to start, we took off on time. I listened to music this run, which is pretty rare for me. The course was muddy, mushy, icy and slushy. Just downright nasty. I started by an 8-minute mile sign with probably 20 people in front of me. In the first mile, I tried to just settle in. When I reached the mile marker, I saw that it was right around 7:30. I was surprised, I felt good and I had a shot at a PR at that pace. So head down, I powered through and concentrated on picking off people. With each person I passed, I felt stronger. Amazingly, my second mile was 7:14.
|Cold. We has it.|
I ran through the last mile clock and thought I still had a shot at a PR. I kicked it to the finish and saw I was right around the 23-minute mark. I was hoping I broke 23 minutes, but forgot to stop my Gamin so I didn't have a clue.
I actually bypassed the whole finisher's chute and went straight to the beer tent. Hey, it was Laguanitas! You can't really blame me for prioritizing the IPA over the banana. I may never win a race outright, but I always try to be the first to the beer tent. It's a fun game.
I picked up Amber, and we collected our post-race goodies: bananas, green bagels, water, Kifer and krunchers chips. I thought I might have snagged an age group win, but our timing info wasn't available and I had somewhere else to be. Amber was pretty sure she PRed too and text me later to tell me the good news - it was her first 5K ran at a 9-minute pace! Go AMBA. My final time was 22:53, which is a more than 40-second PR. I got third in my age group, so I have a medal coming too!
Overall, this was a great little race. The course was stupid gross, but that's not the race's fault. And it would have been awesome to hang out at the post-race party if it wasn't a balmy 34 degree. Chicago, I hate you.
Price: Free for me, $47 for everyone else
Pros: Awesome post-race beer, plenty of bathrooms at the start/finish, there was plenty of everything to go around, the bibs were custom and cute
Cons: Parking was insane, the course was just mud and ice, cotton shirt
Would I run this again? I'm always game for a free 5K! Thanks again to Cabot for this opportunity. It was a great day to have/get a great time.