My alarm went off at 5:45 on Saturday morning so I had time to pump, get ready, grab some coffee and a protein bar, and walk to the start of the 5K. I was so thankful to have Matt running the race with me – it actually helped calm my nerves a little. Plus, the walk was a great warmup for him, which meant we could get to the race a little bit later. The walk was longer than I had anticipated – closer to a mile than the half mile the website said. But, we walked with a bunch of other runners and only got lost once when we thought the start was the opposite direction than it actually was.
We got to the starting line with plenty of time to spare and I was able to get a short warmup jog in along the lake. I absolutely LOVED the fact that the 5K took place on the Lakeshore Trail. I’ve never had a chance to really check it out, let alone run on it. We only ran about a mile of the trail, but I loved that it was right on the water! Maybe someday I’ll do a long run along the lake.
The race was scheduled to start at 7:30 AM, but it was already hot + humid. I was really hoping that being on the lake would make for a nice, cool race, but not so much. Matt + I were both in Coral 1, which were about the smallest, narrowest corals I’ve ever been in. We lined up 15 minutes before the start of the race, and were quickly crowded by people. I was wishing we were on the outside of the coral just so we could breathe better. But, the cool thing was, Meb Keflezighi walked right by us to get to his place in Coral 2. He was pacing the 8-minute milers, so my goal was just to stay in front of Meb the whole time.
The start was not the best and I spent the first half mile dodging around people and trying to avoid the cyclist riding the opposite direction on the trail. But, eventually, the starting crowd cleared out enough and I found a good groove and tried to hold it and pass people as much as possible. I LOVE to play rabbit and chase people down, so starting a little farther back is always helpful for me (unless I’m really trying to win a race – then it can be a bad thing because I’ll start too far back and can’t catch up).
The first mile passed and I heard my RunKeeper tell me I ran the first mile in 6:51. I was amazed at how comfortable I felt at sub-7s and tried to just keep that pace as much as possible. There were a few hills and some sharp turns during the second mile, but I made it my goal to chase some girls down and pass them by the end of the second mile.
A short down hill and the band playing at mile 2 really helped pump me up for that last mile. But, that last mile was beyond hot. With the lake to my right, the sun hitting off it just right to make it miserable. Thankfully, I still felt strong and was ready to finish. There were no other girls in front of me that were passable so I just tried to stay comfortable. I kept looking for the finish line – I mean, it was ON the trail – but I couldn’t see it, even though I could hear the announcer. Once we passed a building on the lake, it was go time. I tried to sprint it in, but just didn’t have that much left in me, and got out sprinted by TWO guys. Ugh.
But, that TIME, you guys! I am BEYOND happy with that 5K time. My first race postpartum and I am right where I need to be.
Official Time = 21:23
Average Pace = 6:49/mile
Mile 1 = 6:51
Mile 2 = 7:00
Mile 3 = 6:46
Mile 0.1 = 5:36
8th Female Overall
1st in Age Group (30-35)
After I finished, I posed for a few pictures (which turned out horrible because I was just so exhausted), grabbed some water and a banana, and went to wait for Matt. Just 3 minutes after I finished, Matt came running down the finish line. I am pleased to say we both ended up beating Meb! Ha!
Matt grabbed some water and snacks, stretched, and then we decided we had plenty of time, so why not wait in line to meet Meb…
Just to put it in perspective: I am 5’4″ and Matt is 5’6″. We are 3 very short people…
Very, very cool! It’s not every day that you can say you met an Olympian and Boston Marathon winner! I was a little starstruck, to say the least!
But, the 5K was not our only plans for Saturday. We had a tour to attend! Two tourists trying to navigate a city we’ve never been to alone was interesting. We ended up asking the concierge what we should take (cab, bus, or train) to get to Goose Island, and he ended up leading us to the wrong location! Thankfully, I caught his error and looked up the suggestions for the Goose Island tour on my phone, and we were able to successful find the correct station for the L train and get to the correct station for Goose Island.
There were a ton of people getting off the train at the same place we were, and upon stepping off, we were bombarded by people selling food and water. We had no idea there was a huge music festival (Pitchfork Music Festival) happening just down the street from Goose Island! Of course, we ended up following the crowd, which was leading us in the total opposite direction than we needed to go.
Luckily, we had left so early, we made it to the brewery an hour and a half before our tour. Ha! We both ended up grabbing a beer and sat at the bar while we waited. We chatted with the bartenders about beer and Chicago, called to check on the kiddos, and before we knew it (OK, maybe it still felt like forever), it was time for our tour.
I was beyond impressed with our tour guide! Nick was awesome and really knew not only a lot about the beer and brewery, but history of Chicago. It was informative and interesting – probably the best tour I’ve been on (which really isn’t many – like 4 now). We were able to sample their Goose IPA, Matilda, and Sofie. We also got to check out the barrel room, where they make my favorite beer of all time, Bourbon County Stout. They also had a Coffee Ale I wanted to try, but they had just run out a few days before. (We also missed out on BCS in the taproom the day before. Ugh.)
By the time our tour was finished, it was raining pretty good, and we had about a mile walk back to the train station. We ended up seeking shelter in a doorway along the route until the rain let up a little and we could make it to the train without getting complete soaked (or struck by lightening). We ended up having to wait it out after we got off the train in a Chick-Fil-A until it stopped raining again.
The rest of our afternoon was spent relaxing in the hotel room, watching Food Network since we didn’t have kids and don’t have cable at home, ha! We went down to the hotel lobby at 5 for the complimentary wine hour, and both enjoyed a sangria, before we decided to walk around town while we waited for our pizza to be delivered. We walked down to the Chicago Tribune building, where Matt had visited during the Chicago Marathon 5 years ago, but I didn’t have a chance to go to. It was very cool to see all these rocks from other buildings and monuments around the world.
One of the few cool places I have been. I actually took this picture for my sister-in-law – You can see Chimney Rock from her parents’ house!
We ordered Giordano’s and had it scheduled to be delivered to our hotel at 6:30. You just can’t go to Chicago without getting some Chicago-style pizza, right?! I really wanted to like this more than I did, but it didn’t have enough sauce and spinach is still just not my favorite thing, especially in pizza. But, it satisfied my craving and my need for carbs for the half marathon in the morning!
I also really wanted ice cream, but wanted something I couldn’t get in St. Louis. We ended up walking down the street to Dylan’s Candy Bar that we had walked through earlier. They have an ice cream stand and cocktail bar inside. I went for the java chip, which was perfection – especially since I am slightly obsessed with chocolate covered espresso beans right now.
By 10PM, we were both passed out in bed. Big partiers, right here, I tell ya! But, we knew 4:45 was going to come quick and I needed as much rest as possible! Half marathon recap coming up later this week!