Wow- I have really sucked lately, this will not be a new trend, I promise.
I know I’m really overdue to recap this race, but better late than never, and don’t worry my pretties- there are more good things to come.
In terms of the race I was pretty excited for it, I am (somewhat of) a fan of Biggest Loser, and I did sign up to do this through my work, so some of my friends were going to be there. Additionally for the amount the 15k cost the participants really got a lot of their money- free downloadable photos, a medal, a tech tee, some coupons for merchandise, and a bag- as well as the race being timed.
I wanted to take full advantage of this 15k being it was exactly weeks to the day that my half marathon will be.
The only other 15k I have ever done was the Hot Chocolate last November. My average minute per mile was 11:00. So anything less than that would have pleased me. Part of the early course consisted of running through a garage/loading dock type of area, that I am familiar with from other races and it always screws with my GPS. Additionally I don’t think the biggest loser really did that great of a job with accuracy in terms of measurements. I was very happy when I saw my official results that my average pace per mile was 10:32. This wound up being a PR of about 8 1/2 minutes. So I was pleased considering for the majority of the race I had no idea what I was pacing, and when I did I wasn’t sure if it was even accurate.
Outside of my performance I can’t say I was really that pleased. I like a nice organized packet pickup. This was not that. I understand this the “Inaugural Event” in Chicago- so I will not try to be harsh.
1) Packet pick up- I was not a fan. As I said I like them to be nice and organized so I can either spend some time there browsing or get in and get out in less than 10 minutes.
Packet pick up was held at the “village market” in Chicago- now if you are not from Chicago- or even if you- and did this race you likely know by now that the Villiage Market is not ONE physical place but rather a shopping center. I have done packet pick ups here in the past, but in the past it was at a specified store i.e. Universal Sole.
Not only was I mildly confused about the exact location- I assume I am not the only one (in my defense if you google “Village Market” for google maps NOTHING comes up, but if you enter a specific store in the center you will get directions) BUT upon arrival there are three different “levels” the level you walk in on- a lower level, then the lowest “courtyard level”. There was stuff set up on each level, so upon arrival (I was in a hurry) I had to be directed to the lowest level. In which I had to fill out ANOTHER waiver (I signed one when I signed up online) prior to picking up my bag, and bib.
Then I had to go up to the top level again to pick up my shirt.
I know this may not sound major, but I was really flustered and annoyed- because the directions were so crappy I had to lock my bike up to a sign and was all kinds of paranoid it would not be there when I returned. I also felt like I was on an Easter egg hunt for my packet pick up which I don’t appreciate when I pay to run these races.
2) Race day- I was hopeful race day would be better. It wasn’t. In the past I have had my fair share of bitch-fests regarding corrals at race starts. I now have a profound new appreciation and adoration of start corrals- which used to bug me (because I am slow and typically towards the back, meaning my race time is actually a bit later, and as I got faster and was honest with my pace per minute- I always get stuck behind people who obviously blatantly lie about their ppms and are walking in the first mile)…. ANYWAYS the start was a fuster-cluck hands done. As my friend put it “It was butts to nuts” at the start.
Because it was a walk too they did not split up the runners and the walkers. Nor did they split the 15k-ers and the 5k-ers. So the race was EXTREMELY congested until the mile and half point when the folks doing the 5k turned around.
3) Possibly inaccurate mile markers. As I said before my gps went out and was acting really screwy during the earlier part of the race- so I really had no idea how I was pacing or how far along I was…. and my watch and my phone were definitely not matching up with their mile markers. So at the six mile mark I reset my watch, and it was still off for the last 3 miles- I was getting to next mile markers when my watch said I was at like 6.9, 7.8 etc- which is frustrating.
Overall the course was basic – out and back on Chicago’s lakefront path. I don’t mean to sound like too much of a debbie downer because for it being an inaugural race- there were a lot of perks. I did like the free photos. I’ve had better shirts, but a tech shirt is a tech shirt- and who doesn’t like an extra medal to hang up? 🙂
Next year for me to sign up, I will want the following:
1) Packet pickup at a specific store, and that is more organized/confined to one area.
2) Let the 15k runners out first, then the 5k runners, then the walkers
3) Do not offer IPA beer at a post race party after people have run. IPA is already an acquired taste and it tastes much worse on a dry mouth after a 9 mile run- I seriously almost threw up a little when I tasted it, and I like beer. Just be normal and give us Bud Light.
I did really like that there were free downable race photos- it actually gave me motivation to try to smile when I run.
And now with 23 more days until my half marathon I am in the home stretch of training. I’m making sure that I am out in the hot weather, and not just going out early or late to avoid the heat. I’m testing different bloks and gels and water bottles to see what I like for these long runs.
Who knows maybe there will be 26.2 in 2014? 🙂