Last week was another week of multiple 5Ks. I mean, it wasn't 5 5Ks in 5 Days or anything but I did run two Chicago 5Ks.
The first was the Chicago Blackhawks Training Festival Mad Dash to Madison on Monday, September 16th. Apparently this event usually takes place on a Saturday but the United Center was booked due to Disney on Ice. Yes, even the mighty Stanley Cup Winning Blackhawks can't compare to Disney.
However, the Mad Dash to Madison actually worked out well for me since I was able to get in a nice warm-up run from my apartment and get to the start line with plenty of time.
This race is unique in Chicago in that it not only has a running 5K but it also has a skating 10K! Yes, you can strap on your rollerblades (or rollerskates, I suppose) and skate 6.2 miles. Since my skating skills are pretty dismal I decided I'd better stick to the 5K that just required running shoes.
Now, I will fully admit that I am not a sports fan. In fact, I'd never even been inside the United Center until last Monday night! Thankfully I was there with Emily who is a HUGE hockey fanatic so she was able to show me the ropes. I did know, though, to wear my best red and black running clothes!
The race itself was on the streets around the United Center which aren't exactly the prettiest streets in Chicago and at one point the smell of garbage was so strong I thought I might gag. Also, the first quarter mile was directly into the setting sun amongst people who overestimated their pace so it was a bit precarious.
Regardless, I tried to push myself because at fun "themed" races like this you just never know who's going to show up. Turns out some speedy ladies were there and even though it was a nice cool evening I couldn't make the top 10 in my age group. I think because this race was canceled last year due to the NHL lock-out and because the Blackhawks are super popular right now there was quite the turn out! It appears there were over 1500 finishers. Plus, we all got entries to the Blackhawks scrimmage game, a tech tee, and a Jonathan Toews bobblehead. I saved the tee and the bobblehead for my brother who is a pretty big Blackhawks fan, thus earning me sister of the year.
Anyway, it was a fun time and a great introduction to the Blackhawks culture!
Unfortunately, it was also the introduction to a week of weird GI issues for me. By the time the St. Michael's Oktoberfest 5K rolled around I was just hoping I could make it through a 3.1 mile run. There was not any chance of me pushing myself to try and place in my age group this time around even though it was a much smaller race with just over 500 finishers.
Thankfully, I was there to have fun with the Wurst Running Club Ever and our matching themed shirts. I ran the race with Anne on a course around Lincoln Park that required a bit of cross-country puddle dodging while making a lot of "wurst 5K ever" jokes. It's actually a very nice low-key event that encourages costumes and post-race beer drinking. Sadly, since my stomach was still feeling off I skipped the post-race beer party and headed home. On the plus side, the race shirt is pretty comfy so it made for great post-race lounging!
So, if you're looking for some fun Chicago 5Ks be sure to keep these on your radar for 2014. Just remember to dress the part!
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