Let me just preface this race report with saying that
this was the best. race. ever.
A day after proclaiming that I would never run another damn race again, I let Kim talk me into signing up for the Rally for Autism 5K in Illinois. She’s very persuasive. Not to mention the fact that this would be my first out of town race, strollers were permitted, and that this race was for an amazing cause, it was practically a no brainer to say yes. Or Maybe it was because my brain was still all melty from the race we ran the day before in 80 degree-weather-at-9 AM-with-1000%-humidity, hmmm…). But honestly, running for a worthy cause like Autism research and supporting families affected by Autism was icing on the cake. So, Kim signed me and The Husband up for the race and we planned to run with my son in a jogging stroller. Admittedly, I was a bit apprehensive about running another race in the summer, but figured how much worse could it be than my last sweltering race that took place in Hell.
So let’s get started with the race recap! We picked up our bibs and tech t-shirts (aww yeah, tech t-shirt!!) after our flight to Chicago. Pick up was super easy and we were greeted by smiles and friendly faces from the race coordinators. Kim surprised us with a race shirt for LP to commemorate his first 5k with this awesomely customized shirt:
On race day we were blessed with the most amazing weather I have encountered in August in a really long time. A sunny 70 degrees with a slight breeze. In August. In Chicago. The race coordinators must be good friends with the race gods to score that kind of weather in the middle of August. We couldn’t ask for anything more.
Kim’s friend kindly let us borrow her jogging stroller so we didn’t have to haul ours from NYC. Kim volunteered to push him in the jogger and she was great at it! I wish I could bottle some of her energy for myself! Not only was she running while pushing a stroller, she entertained LP the whole time with her silliness. I think there may have been the occasional wheelies, too. I may or may not have loaded the stroller with essentials like water bottles (mine), useless sun visors (mine) and select baby items (not mine). Hope that stroller wasn’t too heavy for you, Kim!
The race was held at the Independence Grove Forest Preserve and it was gorgeous. Jaw dropping gorgeous. We had sweeping views of rolling hills, trees and lakes! At one point the path curved and you could see all the speedy runners blazing a trail before us. It was inspiring! The course had a couple of bridges that we got to run across. What is it about running across a bridge that’s so fun?! The scenery did a lot to take my mind off of the actual running. Kim and LP were great pacers, we couldn’t really bust out of the pack because it was just too tricky to do that with a jogger and that really helped me not to go out too fast. I loved being able to run with a pack! I usually get left behind pretty quickly so this was a nice change! The volunteers did a great job of cheering us on along the way and get this, there was not one, but TWO water stops. Say what!? I’ve given up on actually trying to drink water out of a cup while running, so instead I took the opportunity to splash some in my face. The best thing about taking water cups from the water station is crushing the cups in your fist and throwing it off to the side like a bad ass. That will never get old for me. Never.
Steve, Kim, and I wore orange running shirts and we got a few fun compliments about them along the way. We even ran into another gentleman wearing an orange shirt and Kim asked him if he wanted to join our Orange Shirt Club. I don’t think he was interested in joining. Sad face.
We kept a pretty manageable pace for me and ran the race in …drum roll…34:27! Which just happens to be a personal best for moi. Thank you, thank you. I’ve been trying to figure out how to slip that into everyday conversation with random people since the race. “So how was your weekend? Mine was pretty good, PRed a race, what did you do?” and “Sure, I’ll have fries with that, after all I broke my previous Personal Record just the other day”.
One of the things I absolutely loved about this race was deciding to stick together with Kim and The Husband. They are faster runners than I am, so it felt good that they weren’t worried about breaking PR’s or anything like that. We crossed the finish line holding hands – which had to be a bit tricky for Kim since she was pushing a jogger. And bonus! I didn’t feel like death after the race, I felt freakin great! Plus, I got to meet a lot of Kim’s friends from her running club which was really cool. She knows a great bunch of people!
I just have to mention the post-race food: hot dogs, chips, fruit, muffins, and bagels! What a spread and I was all too willing to consume any and all calories I expended during the race.
My son enjoyed “running”, too. After the race he took the opportunity to wander into pictures with Kim and her friends. He has no shame.
This race had such a good vibe and I really enjoyed it. I was excited to shave off a few minutes off my last PR and to run the race alongside Kim and The Husband. And because you are still reading this recap, I just want to mention again, that I PRed. In case you may have missed that part in the post.
Did I hear someone yell “sppeeeeech!”. Well ok, if you insist:
Big huge thanks to Kim for doing all the stroller pushing; Kim’s husband for being our official race photographer; and the race coordinators for pulling off such a well organized and fun race! Another big thanks to Kim’s friend for lending us a stroller! Having LP with us the entire time was such a treat! Thank you treadmill and humid basement! Humid basement, if it wasn’t for you, I probably wouldn’t have been so appreciative of the amazing weather we had!