Friday, September 11, 2015

Super Bears Shuffle 5K

I signed up for this 5k not because I'm all gung-ho about the Bears 2015-16 season. No it's because it was another chance to get to see our favorite festival band, Rod Tuffcurls and the Bench Press (I'm sure you've heard of them).

However, I'm in the middle, or the tail end anyway, of marathon training, and after a not-so-stellar 20 mile run on Saturday, and a pretty good 9-mile run on Wednesday, I'm tired. My plan wasn't to race - just run. On top of it, Mr. H. has a cold, so he wasn't feeling up to racing either, and stayed with me the whole way.

As we'd made no effort to pick up our packets pre-race, once we arrived at Solider Field, we made our way to packet pickup. They had run out of my size t-shirt, which is what I get for waiting to get my packet, otherwise quick and easy. Most people were wearing the t-shirt so Mr. H. and I decided to change into ours. I also donned one of the orange sweatbands they were handing out. We made our way to the corrals, squeezing ourselves through the bars so we could line up between the 9:30-10 minute pace signs. There were three start waves, us being in the second. Before each wave they played a video from a Bear's player thanking us for coming out to kick off football season, a few fireworks went off and then we started, running through the big inflatable bears tunnel.

The race started on the south side of the stadium and we headed south down a street that as I look at a map is called Museum Campus Drive which then turned into Fort Dearborn Drive. That led us through the West Tunnel of McCormick Place in which we hit our first mile - 9:12 I believe Mr. H. said - oh, did I mention I left my watch at home? I ran entirely on how I felt. Upon hearing our time, I slowed down because I didn't want to be running that fast, nor did I think I could keep it up. While it certainly wasn't as hot and humid as it has been the past two weeks, it was still hot, and since I couldn't stand the sweatband being around my head, sweat was now dripping down my face.

The turn around took us from Fort Dearborn Dr. on to the lake front path headed back north. As promised there were a few football style obstacles off to the side of the path, there was even a spot to stop and take a selfie with big posters of some of the players. I passed up my chance to get a shot with Forte and soldiered on. Somewhere around this mile I walked for a bit. I should have taken the chance to get water and just walk through the water stop, but I didn't and then I regretted it. Mile two closer to 10 minutes.

Once I started running again I determined to just get the damned thing over. As we neared the stadium, we passed the "whoop whoop" lady course marshal. She had been whoop whooping as we went past her on the way out and Mr. H. and I both wondered how long she could keep it up. Well apparently for at least 20+ minutes, because she was still at it as we passed her on our way in. Mr. H. told me we had half a mile left and to let loose. I told him to check in with me in a quarter mile. When we reached a little less than a quarter mile I started to speed up, passing most of the people who passed me while I walked. I held on to the finish line hearing the announcer called out both our names! Finish time: 29:06.

Me, Rod and Dick.
After grabbing some water and chips we headed out of the chute to receive our Bears medal. I think medals for a 5k are kinda silly - it's just three miles. But for some people "just" three miles is a lot and besides, it is a pretty cool medal. We said hello to some friends, collected our bag from gear check (again, quick, easy, great volunteers). Even though there was lots to do and eat after the run, we didn't stick around. Since Mr. H. has a cold, and even though we signed up for this race with the sole intent of seeing RT&TBP, we decided to call it a night. I did however go over to the stage and snag a quick pic.

All-in-all it was a fun race. I probably would have liked it better if it hadn't been the week after a 20 mile long run. As always, even when I'm not in the mood to "race" even if it is just against myself, I always end up pushing myself some. It hard not to. And for that, I had a pretty good finish. I was 26/216 in my age group, well above my top half goal.

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