Tonight was the Bastille Day 5k/8k Run/Walk & Block Party in Lincoln Park (just north of the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum). I was originally registered for the 8K but, worrying about my IT band, I dropped down to the 5K just before the race (this change took all of 60 seconds at the registration table which was pretty impressive, especially since my time registered correctly afterwards).
Anyway, before the race, the set-up looked good. Beautiful weather, lots of outdoor space, a good live band and lots of runners. I even tweeted about how promising it all was.
And as I lined up on a blocked off Cannon Drive for the 5K with 943 other runners I still felt that way. I mean, these guys blocked off Cannon Drive, part of Fullerton and a big chunk of Stockton Drive. This was clearly nothing like last year's race.
And it started out well. Lots of space on Cannon...
Lots of space on Stockton...
|That pedestrian sign looks like it's pointing at a specific runner (and calling her a walker)|
UPDATE - I was totally wrong about this. Both of those speed demons were running the 5K and crossing back over the 5K course. Thanks Jennifer for pointing this out!
I was running with a friend and we both kind of laughed about this. "What a weird course layout..." we said to each other. But then a little while later, the 5K course crossed over itself... for no real reason. The course made a little loop, but instead of having runners going north turn east and then loop back around on the west side of the trail, we looped in the opposite direction, meaning that the 5K course crossed itself twice.
Here's what it looked like heading into that intersection on the way back:
|Truth - even French bikers hated Bastille Day in this moment|
|Finish line - bagels, bananas and water|
I talked to all kinds of lovely bloggers before and after the race, including Maggie, Annabelle, Brit and Amanda and I'm interested to hear their takes on the race. Although the course crossings were pretty awkward and definitely amateurish course design, the overall experience was positive. Evening races are fun and having an outdoor party with free (I keep saying free, but the race did cost $32) beer, a live band and lots of running nerds is a good way to spend an evening in Chicago.
I was shooting for around a 10 minute/mile pace to keep from messing up my leg further (especially since I have four more races to do in the next five days) and I'm proud to say that I actually ran EXACTLY a 10 minute pace. I'm pretty sure I couldn't have pulled this off if I'd been really shooting for something that exact.
Overall, I had a good time and had fun running after an imposed hiatus of over a month. Will I do this race again next year? I'm not sure. Probably. I didn't have too many great things to say about it last year and I still ran it this year. I'm also an eternal optimist. This year they fixed the horrendous gear check and lack of free beer from last year. They also moved the starting line onto the street and the post-race party outside. Next year they'll make sure they're courses don't cross each other (or themselves). You know what they say: thirty-third time's a charm.