truthfully, i almost didn't go to this race. the shuttles left really early in the morning to cater to half marathoners, and i hate early mornings, but i decided to suck it up, and i'm glad i did.
packet pick up was the day before the race, and went really quickly. morning of, i woke up at 3:30 and slowly got ready for the race. the shuttle buses left at 5:30 from grant park, which means i had to leave my house at about 4:30. once on the race bus, you could tell how tired everyone was because the shuttle ride was awfully quiet. once we got to the race location, i found a sunny patch of grass to camp out in for the next two hours while the half marathoners got ready around me. it was actually kind of fun to see everyone prepare for the race; everybody had their own, unique way of getting ready, whether it was eating baggies full of dry cereal or skipping up and down a hill or partner stretching.
when it was finally time for the 5k, i was feeling a little more awake and excited. there were only about 250 people doing the 5k, so after the start, the crowd thinned out quickly. the first mile, i felt really good. i had originally planned on keeping a 10:55 pace, but my legs weren't tired or heavy, so i fell in to about a 10:20 pace instead. i kept this up through mile 2, speeding up just slightly and declining a water cup because i didn't want anything to slow me down; i was sure this race was going to be a huge pr. half way through mile 3, i started to get pretty tired, but i kept pushing myself to keep below my planned pace, hovering just around a 10:30 pace. and then, i thought i saw the finish line just around the corner and knew i could push myself even more for the remaining distance, coming in just around a 9:50 pace.
it's the size of my hand!
weellll, what i thought was the finish line wasn't actually the finish line; it was the start line. whoops!
my garmin indicated i still had about .3 miles left, but i had just pushed myself for a fake finish, and i was tired. i finished the last few minutes pretty slowly, compared to the pace i had been keeping all along, and couldn't muster up the energy for another push toward the finish for the actual finish. i crossed the finish line still feeling good, though; despite the slower finish, i knew i pr'd. when i signed up for the race, 5k participants weren't supposed to receive a medal, but they placed one around my neck after the finish line. i tried to tell them i did the 5k, but apparently they had too many medals made, so everybody got one. it's huge and ridiculous for a 5k medal, but hey, i'll take it.
i sat down with all my race swag to check my time. let me note that so much stuff was included in the $30 race fee; the race included full water and gatorade bottles, protein shakes and bars, fruit cups, drawstring bags, water bottles, sunglasses, beer, deep dish pizza, tech shirt, chip timing, and a finisher's medal. score! anywho, i went in to the race with a 34 minute goal, but i knew i had done better than that. when the results page loaded, i let out a squeal of delight; my chip time was 32:16! that's 4 minutes and 28 seconds off my previous fastest time!
like last time, pay no attention to that last split; i'm notorious for not turning off my garmin.
so what did i think of the lifetime chicago 5k? i really enjoyed it. the course was flat and easy, we got a ridiculous amount of free stuff in addition to a live band and vendors at the after party, and it was an overall fun race. i would have appreciated later shuttles for the 5k participants, but i know that wouldn't have been financially smart for the race directors. like the last race i did, i'm already considering signing up for the half marathon length of this race next year.