Race Report: Pumpkins in the Park 5K 2014


I may or may not have mentioned (Note Sarcasm) before that this is my absolute favorite 5K. I tend to try to gather as many people as possible to run this race with me. It does not always work out though. But I still had a nice showing of friends this year….

But I am getting ahead of myself.

This is usually a goal race for me. The start time is 4:00 in the afternoon race. I may be a morning person but I really do NOT enjoy running in the morning… one of my quirks.  It is also at the end of October which typically means cooler weather… and I run better in cooler weather. As a last flip of the coin in my favor, it is held in the park that I run often so I know the course by heart and therefore know the terrain.

Three things stacked in my favor… oh yea.

Over the past few years, it has been difficult for me to see this race as a true goal race. My running has been less than stellar and even last year when I felt like I was in a better position to hit a goal, I knew realistically that it was a lofty goal.

But this year has been a whole different ball game. After crushing a goal I had been chasing for three years in August and then getting a massive PR in September without really trying, I knew I could go into this race with a goal time.

In case you missed my last post, The goal was to go sub 29:00. I knew this goal was very doable assuming nothing major went wrong on race day. But weather wise, there was nothing to worry about, so I figured as long as I didn’t do anything foolish like eating something weird, I was golden.

Since I am unemployed and find myself with lots of free time during the day, I headed to packet pick-up on the first day fairly early. I had to pick-up for myself and a friend and figured there was no point in waiting.

Race day arrived and I was feeling ready… even if it was a tad warmer than I would have liked. Still a nice fall day but I would have liked it a little cooler… Oh well.

I had 5 friends that had signed up to do the race… but at the last minute two of them had to bail on the race due to unforeseen circumstances. Oh well, I still had one friend running the race with me, Sarav, and two others, Eric and Michael, to (hopefully) celebrate a new PR with afterwards

We all met at gear check before the race and chatted briefly before lining up to start.

One thing about LP Races… I love them but the first half mile is insanely crowded. You can try to get around people but you will do a TON of weaving and tire yourself out. So I tend to hang back just a tad and settle into a comfortable pace. I have been better about negative splitting lately so I know I can make up some time if I need to.

Except for some reason, I went out insanely fast… not TOO fast, but it was a pace I couldn’t keep for the entire race. I kept looking down at my watch and seeing a sub 9:00 pace… GRRRR

At the first mile marker I saw a 9:00 even split. Well… I can’t hold that pace for the entire race. But I also know as long as I stay 9:20 or under, I am still golden. So I kept on my way… but I knew I was running faster than I should be. I was also dying for water. We had a nice little head wind which was making me very thirsty. So I totally grabbed water at the water station and walked for a few seconds while I took a few sips to wet my throat. I wasn’t feeling dehydrated… I just couldn’t swallow because my throat was so dry… always fun

As I approached the mile two marker, I saw that the time was 18:XX so I knew I had 10ish minutes to hit my goal. Checked the watch and saw the second mile split was 9:10 so I was still on pace… even if I was slowing. And today was one of those lovely Chicago days where no matter which direction you are running, it is always into the wind… Blah

Sarav started to try to push the pace for the last mile but I knew I was fading and I didn’t want to fade too much so I kept asking him to slow down. The end of the race had some down hills that I could use to give my body a slight break for a kick at the end but I also knew I had one hill to climb first and I couldn’t fade too much. I was also dying of thirst!!!

I hit the downhills and headed in for the last turn for the straight away to the finish… but got stuck behind someone and couldn’t go around so I had to slow a tad before I could go around. I didn’t bother to check my mile split when I saw the 3 mile marker, but I saw the time on that clock and knew I had my goal in the bag.

But of course I still sprinted to the finish line.

And it was all I had left. I was done after crossing the finish and REALLY needed water. I don’t remember seeing the finish line clock at all but I did check my watch…


TOTALLY NAILED IT!!!! Not only did I get my sub 29:00 goal but it was a PR by over a minute!!!

Except I was too thirsty to talk… so water was my next mission.

Sarav and I grabbed water and raided the post-race goodie table and found Eric. Sarav wanted his beer but we need to get my bag to get our IDs out first. After getting our beers (I gave mine to Eric since I don’t like beer), we waited for Michael to finish while Sarav signed up for a pie eating contest. He ran 20 miles in the morning before doing the 5K with me and was apparently hungry :-p

After we were all done, we watched the costume contest before watching Sarav in the pie eating contest… Lets just say he didn’t win but at least he got pie.


He then had to leave for a work event while the rest of us decided we wanted ribs so off to Twin Anchors we went. Chris met up with us there as well. I had a celebratory drink compliments of Michael (Thanks again!) and totally scarfed down everything on my plate


It was fun chatting with my friends after such a good race.  It was also nice to be eating out for a change.

At some point, Eric checked the official times. Yep – PR by 1:03!!!!

Pumpkins in the Park 2014 Results


4 thoughts on “Race Report: Pumpkins in the Park 5K 2014

  1. Pingback: Weekly Training Report: October 20th – 26th | It Never Gets Easier - You Just Get Better

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