It is the largest 8K with 40,000 runners. The race is also the official start of the Spring racing season in Chicago. This year was my 3rd year participating in the race.
Earlier in the week, I started to feel a little under the weather. It wasn’t quite a cold but it felt like a cold was imminent. As such, I opted to take some extra rest days for the week.
Saturday, Eric and I headed over to the Expo to get our race bibs and to get out team bibs for the Wurst Running Club Ever (WRCE). It was quite a chilly day and of course, it those days that I loathe going to Navy Pier because it always feels colder… and there are way too many tourists. We spent about an hour there, chatting with people and walking around before calling it a day.
I didn’t sleep well on Saturday night but I still felt pretty energetic when my alarm went off for the race. I got ready and then met Eric on the bus. It was quite chilly in the morning. It wasn’t too bad in the sun but pretty cold in the shade. I knew once the race started, I would warm up but I also knew that it would be chilly in the start corral.
I hung with Eric until he entered his corral and then I went toward the gear check to see if I could find any friends. I did run into Rhoda and it was good catching up with her. Finally, I knew I should head to my corral. I took off my jacket, checked my bag and headed to my corral.
It was about 15/20 minutes before my corral closed and nearly 30 minutes before wave 2 started. It was far more crowded than I remember it being trying to get to the corral. When I got closer, it appeared that the corral was completely full and there were a ton of people still trying to get into the corral. As the minutes ticked by, there was no moving.
Turns out that Wave 2 and Wave 3 where sharing corrals. Which is just a horrible idea. People from wave 3 were trying to get in and were being stopped but that also prevented the people from wave 2 getting in. Turns out there were quite a few people that from Wave 3 that got in and started running with Wave 2. The start corrals for waves 2 and 3 were a bit of a cluster to say the least…
It is the first time I have ever seen that before and I was rather surprised this race decided to do something like that. It was a horrible idea and didn’t even come close to being executed well.
Eventually, I did, eventually, get into my corral and without much fuss I was running.
It really was a great day for a run. The sun was shining and there was almost no wind. The course was a tad different this year. We didn’t go as far west and we ran down LaSalle instead. But I liked the course changes because it meant going over the river fewer times and thus we avoided a lot of the bridges.
I was feeling pretty good but definitely wished I had been drinking more water before the race. Near the 4 mile mark, I knew Anne would be there so I looked for her and ran over to her to give her a hug and chatted for a few seconds. Then I moved on. I felt like I was starting to fade a bit but I fought through refusing to walk… except the short hill on Franklin. I also knew that I was probably going to walk Mt. Roosevelt. I just didn’t have enough left to charge up the hill. I wanted a decent kick to end the race and knew if I ran the hill I would be done so I walked it… just like the past two years.
Once I got to the top, I was off again but I didn’t have enough left for the kick that I wanted so I just kept a steady pace instead.
After crossing the finish line, I got my bag from gear check and then found the WRCE crew. We hung out for a while chatting before Eric, Vijay and I decided to go grab brunch in LP at the Edge.
As we were heading there, Chris text me so I told him where we were headed and asked him to join us. I was pretty excited about having the Oreo pancakes. Since I gave up dessert and candy for lent, I haven’t had many indulgences. Pancakes, after all, are not dessert. I have to admit, I am pretty good at breakfast loopholes. AS good as they were, they were also rich, so I ate maybe about a third of them before I gave up.
We sat around and chatted for a bit after we were done eating. We then parted ways.
It really was a great day and I love that I got to spend time with so many great people today.