Neighborhood races are my favorite. I get home to the Lincoln Park area after work, strap on some Vibrams, and walk out my door to line up for a weeknight, evening race. This is always a fun race and the weather was lovely (bit warmish, but hey, it’s July). I headed out a bit early, as there was a blogger meetup and it is always nice to see some fellow runners and bloggers. We were supposed to meet by gear check, but when I arrived there was no gear check in sight. I walked around a bit and eventually Jennifer texted to inform me that gear check was hidden behind the stage.
|Pre-Race Amanda, Me, Eric, Jennifer, Maggie|
Quickly after becoming aware of the location of the gang, I swung around behind the stage and found everyone hanging out talking, stretching, etc. We talked, pictures were taken, and then it was time to head toward the start line. We parted ways with Eric as he entered the 7 min. mile corral and we continued back toward a leisurely ten min starting pace.
When the ‘gun’ went off, we took off and eventually paced out at each of our own paces. I attempted to follow a couple of guys speaking French, dressed as stereotypically cartoonish French guys (complete with drawn on mustache), and carrying a baguette. They were running pretty well for their garb and in addition to totting a baked good. After about mile two they increased speed even more. Around mile three the man carrying the loaf of bread passed it to another of his cohorts who then took off at a faster pace. It was like he just handed him the French Bread Baton in a strange Bastille Day Relay Race. Breadless now, my former pacer poured on the speed to catch up to his lost
baguette and I did not seem them again.
I like this run. It is in my neighborhood and runs along much of my usual training routes. It ended up being a PR as well so I was quite happy about this! I was just out for a leisurely run and after I lost my French friends I was even more relaxed. It was nice to get out and run. After the run I met up with Jennifer’s Mom and Eric. Courtney and Jennifer joined us as soon as they finished and got some water. Eric went to chat with the rest of the bloggers who had also finished and they went off to grab a beer and listen to the band. The rest of us sat and chatted for a bit as we drank in the refreshing manna from our water bottles and they made plans for FroYo. I had some things I wanted to get done (and showering was definitely at the top of that list) so I ended up parting ways with the rest of the gang to head home. On the way I listened to the band play for a few minutes as I got trapped in the gated race finishing area and needed to go around to get back to my apartment. On the way home I wondered if French Bread and his friends ended up sharing the baguette over post-race beer or if one of them was carrying a bottle of wine as well.
Packet pickup – I almost forgot about this packet pickup. Eric reminded me that the only option I could make was on that particular day, while I was already on the other side of town hanging out with some friends. Knowing I would not be able to make any of the other pickup times, I reluctantly made my hasty goodbyes and was out the door to a blue line over to Fleet Feet. I made it just as they were cleaning everything up and getting ready to shut down. Thanks for staying open till the last minute guys or I never would have made it!
Gearcheck/Waves and Corrals. – As I mentioned above, gear check was not easy to find, but it wasn’t difficult either. Since it was a neighborhood race, and in my neighborhood, I didn’t have to check anything and so I cannot attest to its organization or anything. Looked well-staffed though and since I would imaging many others like myself lived in the area and did not need to check anything, lines and organization probably were not an issue. Corrals were broken down in to the usual times and seemed adequately spaced for each. Spacing happened fairly naturally after the start with a couple choke points under tight bridges but nothing terrible.
Course layout – There was a 5K and an 8K, I did the 8K and so I can only speak to this. The course was a great run through a lovely neighborhood. Very similar to many of my training runs. It made it a little difficult during the times we were on Lake Shore Trail as it can get busy with other runners and bikers since they do not close the course but we managed to stray from the common path for much of the race and run closer to the harbor and the playing fields south of the Zoo so it was mostly just the racers for that portion of the course. Being a weeknight probably helped as well.
Finish line – They tricked me with the finish line! I heard the music and saw where the finish line should be as I approached what I thought would be the finish that I had scoped out before the race. Instead, the finish line I was approaching was much farther away than I anticipated as the course looped further north again before circling back south to meet up with the 5K runners as we then ran back toward the finish line. I poured on the gas early when I thought I was near the finish and had to dial it back a bit when I realized what was going on. I still managed to get a little speed toward the actual finish.
Official time: 43:15 [Distance: 5miles] [Place: 341 of 935?]
MapMyRun Results: [Distance: 5.3 miles Time: 43:40 and PR] :)