Sunday, August 7, 2011

Race Recap: The Champion's Run 5K

I finished another race yesterday and although rainy it was a good one!  
About five months ago there was a Groupon for half off race registration for a 5K or 10K race in Chicago.  You can't beat a half price race fee!  I wanted to register for the 10K, but they were sold out so I decided to go for the 5K.  The Champion's Run took place down by the lakeshore in a similar location as the Women's 10K I did three weeks ago

I picked up my race packet Friday afternoon and found some nice goodies in the bag: two mini Clif bars, two mini Lara bars, a coupon for Universal Sole running store, lots of upcoming race information, and a women's fit tech t-shirt.  
Pre-race fuel
I checked the weather the night before to see that there was a slight chance for rain, but no major storms.  When I woke up Saturday morning it was cloudy and drizzling outside.  I got all my gear ready and headed out.  Luckily it wasn't raining too hard, but by the time I walked to the bus stop I was pretty much covered in rain and cold.  I don't really have any problems running in the rain.  I actually think it is kind of fun.  I ran my first 10 mile run in the pouring rain and have found that I actually run a bit faster when it is overcast and rainy.  I think it has something to do with the temperature and excitement of running in the rain.  After getting off the bus I walk the half mile to the start.  I snacked on the mini Mint Chocolate Clif bar I got from the goodie bag and drank some water.  
Already covered in rain at the start
I arrived at the starting area to find everyone huddled under the sponsor tents or trees.  I was pretty much soaking wet from head to toe by the time I go there, but I found a tree to stand under anyways and ate a fruit strip and finished my water while the 10K race began.  There were not a ton of people racing, maybe 1,000.  I think it was a relatively small race to begin with, but perhaps the weather scared some people away.  As the 5K start grew closer I headed over to the corrals.  The rain had begun to let up and now the sky was just cloudy.  The race had a great DJ that was playing some awesome, upbeat tunes to help pass the wait time.   The start of most races are a little jumbled and crowded, but since it had rained earlier there were some big puddles on the race path.  This led to lots of jumping and dashing through the grass to avoid them.  

My plan for this race was to achieve a new personal record.  I have been working on my speed over the past few months and knew that to beat my best time I would have to run at least a 12:20/mile pace.  With the addition of a new job into my schedule, this week has been crazy busy and was not sure how well I would do at the race.  I only got one run in Thursday and have been really sore and tired from standing on my feet for so many hours, but I decided to focus the energy I had left and try the best I could to get that PR.  
I only ended up walking through the two water stops for maybe 15 seconds each.  That is a major accomplishment for me!  I learned to run by using the run/walk method, which I love and still use, but being able to pretty much run the entire race felt great!  I ended up keeping a pace of 11:20 for the first mile and worried that I might be going a little to fast; I didn't want to burn myself out too soon.  I slowed down just a bit but kept going.  At mile two I noticed my pace was still going strong and decided to just try and keep it in the mid 11 min range.  If I did happen to burn out a bit I still had the time to get a PR.  However, I didn't feel much fatigue or pain keeping that pace and stayed with it until the very end!  As soon as the finish line was in sight I kicked it up a notch and sprinted through to achieve a new 5K PR that I am really proud of - 35:21 minutes!  That beat my old one by almost three minutes!  When I looked down to check my Garmin I was ecstatic!

I grabbed a water and strawberry bagel after finishing.  This race had some great sponsors including Corner Bakery, Trader Joes, Skinny Water, Universal Sole, Clif Bar, Lara Bar, a local radio station, and more.  I picked up a chocolate chip cookie and blueberry muffin from Corner Bakery, but saved them for later.  Every finisher got a "Champions Breakfast" after finishing as well.  I stood in line for a small cheese omelet and sausage patty.  The eggs were too buttery for me and the sausage was just OK, so I only ate about a third of each.  I just enjoyed my bagel instead.  Good bagels are awesome after a race, just saying.  
All racers also got a finisher's pint glass to take home.  
They were offering free beer as well, but I am not really a beer drinker, so I passed and walked around to check out the tents instead.  

After confirming my finish time on the posted board I walked back to the bus.  On the way I noticed that the back of my legs were splashed with mud.  I guess that's what you get for running in the rain.  It was worth it though, because I achieved a new personal best and was leaving with a smile on my face!  

Do you mind running in the rain?  Have you ever completed a race in the rain?