the day before the race, i went to packet pickup. i got super lucky that saturday's pickup point was at the running store that is literally 3 minutes away from my new residence. i figured i would swing in really quickly and be home soon. well, imagine my surprise when i got to the store and the line zig-zagged throughout the store, out the door, and around the block! what?! it ended up being a 20 minute wait, and by the time i got to the front desk, they had run out of bags. so that was all kind of unorganized.
flash forward to the morning of the race. the weather outside looked kind of cloudy, but it wasn't supposed to rain until after the race, so i wasn't too worried and left my poncho at home. i made it to the race start right on time and was pleased to see that they had pace signs throughout the corral. the 5k started right at 8:00am, with my pace group starting about 10 minutes after the race start.
the main reason i was excited for this race was running through the zoo, so i was happy to see that we were turning in to the zoo after less than 2 minutes of running. unfortunately, because of the weather (and perhaps the thousands of people running?), none of the animals were out! it was a little disappointing and before i knew it, we were out of the zoo and running through the park.
it started feeling really humid as soon as we got out of the zoo and i was really looking forward to the water stop. it came up right after the one mile point, and i slowed to a walk...only to find the tables empty. the volunteers were putting out one. cup. at. a. time. now, don't get me wrong, i am so thankful for volunteers that not only come out to a race but also put up with horrible weather to get us through, but it's frustrating that the race directors didn't tell them to prep all the cups beforehand. as you can imagine, there was quite the backup at the water stop as the humidity rose and people stopped, knowing this was the one water stop on the course.
as i started up mile two, i started feeling big rain drops, slow but steady. at first it was a welcome cool down. i really like running in light rain, and adding in the fact that i love running in lincoln park, i was really enjoying myself. i was hoping the rain would last throughout the rest of the race, because i felt like such a little kid, splashing through puddles and having the rain hit my face. well, i didn't have to worry about the rain not lasting. by the time i got to the end of mile 2, it was pouring. my shorts were completely soaked, my jacket was sopping, and i was having trouble seeing through the rain. people were pulling over strollers to frantically cover their kids and the trail we were on was slowly turning to mud. there were points where i had to walk because the concrete seemed slippery or i was afraid of my shoes slipping in the mud. it was miserable. as one young kid said behind me "i don't like this, not one bit." i hear ya, kid. i don't know how some of you have done long distances in this kind of weather.
half way through the 3rd mile is when the thunder joined the rain. people started cutting across the course or heading to the cars, not even caring about finishing. i wanted to complete the course, so i just told myself to run. the course came back in to the zoo, and i knew i was close to the finish, so i took off, splashing my way to the finish line. as i grabbed for bananas and water, it was hilarious to look around and see everyone trying to stay dry. the lion house was full, so many people were huddled in the monkey enclosure, and the underwater sea lion viewing area was lined with people eating bananas, dripping from head to toe. after finishing my bananas while watching the sea lion sleep, i decided to head home. on my way out, i heard that the course was black flagged a few minutes back and that the 10k participants were being pulled off course and the kid's activity was canceled. this also meant that, since i finished after the black flagging, i had no official finish time. womp womp.
before and after hahahahha
so what did i think of the united run for the zoo? i really enjoyed the course layout and the shirt was a nice tech design. the directors can't control the weather, so i don't hold that against them, but i do think the race could do with some better organization (packet pickup, volunteer instructions, etc.). because of the convenient location, i'll probably be back, hopefully with better weather!
have you ever started a race that ended up being black flagged?