Memorial Day weekend in Chicago is traditionally the start of a lot of things. Summer, barbeques, festivals, and a good chunk of the racing season. From now until November you can find a road race of almost any distance almost any weekend. In fact, this weekend is traditionally one where I run two races in three days.
It starts with the J.P Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge on the Thursday before Memorial Day. I’m one of the lucky ones who gets my entry paid for by my office and since the race is 3.5 miles followed by free barbeque and beer it’s one I hate to pass up. This year was my fourth year running it and, as always, it was a crazy time.
Athlinks hilariously classified this year’s Chase Corporate Challenge as a 3.5 mile “Obstacle” race. Why hilariously? Because even though there are no walls to climb or mud pits to army crawl through, I always end up spending the entire race dodging people. Every year the race organizers try something new to get the 25,000 runners organized by pace and every year it fails. Either people over or underestimate their pace, they stand in the wrong corral, or they just don’t understand that if they’re going to walk they should start in the back. Which means it’s 3.5 miles of other participants as obstacles.
Still, it’s WAY better than it was even four years ago. And since this is the only 3.5 mile race I run, I only compare myself against previous years. The weather is always a crap shoot and while I’m all for cold weather for running, Thursday’s chill made it pretty miserable to sit and enjoy our post-run beverage.
Regardless, it’s a fun way to hang out with coworkers in a non-work setting. And it gives us something to talk about!
The second race of the weekend is the Soldier Field 10 Miler on Saturday. In 2010 I ran this race with a friend and we took it nice and easy. In 2011 I attempted to race Soldier Field after finishing Chase in my best time to date. I learned my lesson and in 2012 I skipped Soldier Field all together. But for 2013 I decided to bring back the two race weekend by pacing Molly through her very first 10 miler.
Soldier Field is a great race although it can be crowded if you don’t get yourself seeded in an accurate corral. I suppose it’s similar to Chase that way! However, since I’ve apparently decided that this is an excellent race to pace someone and not race for myself I don’t really mind. Usually by the end of the two race weekend I’m tired of crowds and don’t want to see another person for days. But this weekend I added one more event to my list: the MB Financial Bike the Drive. Hold tight, though; that one is going to get its own post.