While I’ve not been blogging lately, I have still been riding the rollercoaster coaster of summer training, and have plowed through a few events. Right now I’m taking 3 days off running (or working out at all if today is any indication), in an attempt to reverse the course of a shin splint issue, and hopefully my sour attitude of late will turn around as well.
Last Thursday, myself and several friends ran the Terrapin 5k. My general disdain of very crowded races has led me to give this event nothing but a passing glance in past years. (this same aversion to crowds is what kept me away from the Chicago marathon…until this fall) I regretted my decision to register when an email went out pre-race saying there would be start corrals at the race. Start corrals = sardine-can-running-conditions.
It was nothing like that picture. In fact, the start was managed quite well, and the course was your typical lake front path 5k. I wasn’t in a racing mood at all, and the only thing saving my race result was that training-pal-superhero Erin paced me (as I forgot my Garmin).
That’s her in the pink, she dropped me in the last mile (mostly because I wouldn’t stop complaining), but this is, I am pretty confident, the first time I’ve had a race picture show me smiling.
I finished in 20:21 and enjoyed hanging out on the Soldier Field lawn with my pals and drinking some beer, which was actually cold (unlike most “fest” or “after-party” experiences I’ve had). There were several bands, but I honestly wasn’t paying attention. If the twirling hippies are any indication, then the entertainment was quite good.
A few weeks ago I started a new Facebook group as a place for runners to share meet-ups for training, socializing, or racing, and to trade tips and training plans. We’re not a racing team, but nonetheless this was out first event. We fancy ourselves the “Bootleg Runners Coalition” and if you’d like to join head here on Facebook.
You may recognize the good-looking sisters in the middle there, they were a strong section of our band of Redemption Runners back in May.
Anyway, verdict is, I’d do Terrapin again. I really like the shirt, it’s cozy and soft (really not a great running shirt), and I’ll kick around in it a lot. Even though the extra-small is still huge.
At 5’5″ and 135 pounds, I am NOT typically an extra small, which brings me to a recurring thought I have:
I do not understand, especially with races put on by such successful companies as RAM, why any race with more than 500 participants (which is where I, with zero education on the matter, figure the break-even point might be) do not have gender specific shirts.
My apologies for that run-on sentence…I tried to make it better, and gave up.
Final notable point from Terrapin, I met a fellow blogger, in-situ, for the first time. It was his guy:
Zach runs races and rants (and/or raves) about them on his blog: Zach Runs Chicago. Check it out, he’s a far more reliable source than I am in your race selection process.
Technically Zach is the second blogger I’ve met in Chicago, but the first one was a BurgerFest and she made it very clear that she didn’t want to talk to me, or want people to read her blog, apparently. It was weird, or maybe I am creepy, either way, it doesn’t count.
I digress, we talked about some topics I really should write about here, but haven’t, maybe later.
Ok, two re-caps in one? Yes? Here we go:
Yesterday, I swam and ran as two-thirds of a relay team at the Naperville Sprint Triathlon. I had been thinking of doing this event, but since I haven’t been swimming or biking, this summer (or year) I didn’t ever actually register. My friend, Erin (previously mentioned) and her husband were part of a relay team for his work. Their rival team had lost both their swimmer and runner due to (I believe) injury and illness last minute. So as we enjoyed beer and hippies at the Terrapin post-race party, I was invited to race on Sunday. I accepted without hesitation.
In fact, my enthusiasm probably should have been embarrassing.
According to the internet banter, and the course maps on the race website, I expected the 400meter swim to be fast and enjoyable. It was, in reality, a nightmare. Centennial Beach is one of those weird pools that, though it assuredly has a concrete bottom, is filled with beach sand. The race director did a good job in sending swimmers 4 at a time, about 6-10 seconds apart, but still, thinking you can have 2,000 swimmers serpentine through a space smaller than a typical 25-meter lap pool…well, I have to say I am surprised they are granted the permits to do so.
I am very comfortable in the water, as a general rule, but at least 4 times in the 7 minutes I was in that water I felt really anxious.
Of course, as with most races, as soon as it was over, I was looking forward to doing it again. That said, if I were to do this race again, I will line up early for the start and make sure to get into one of the first 3 groupings of 4 athletes.
It was that bad. I am pretty sure I injured at least 3 other people, and I got clocked more than once.
I can’t speak to the conditions of the bike course, but it was a double loop and most people seemed satisfied.
The 5k run was fantastic. I’d sign up in a second if Naperville decided to do a sole 5k event using this course. Nothing about it was super notable, it just had enough turns in the first mile to make you feel like you were picking up speed, a nice longer stretch in the middle, and then back to lots of turns in a really nice park for the last mile which helps the time go when you start feeling tired.
It wasn’t nearly as hot as it has been lately, and less than one of the three miles was in direct sun, the course had a couple of extremely slight inclines, and I was in a good state of mind (racing for someone else is oddly more motivating), so I ran feeling really controlled and finished the run in 20:01 nabbing team “LAST MINUTE” 1st place for co-ed relays. In fact, we were first place across all the relay teams, not that there is an award for that designation, I’ve just needed something to feel good about lately.
My team-mate had to leave before awards, but we got nice hurricane glasses, which seems unique, and a little random.
No, I wasn’t wearing some sort of costume. I ran out of quarters for laundry this week, and need to wait until my next payday to get more. So items that were easily washed in the sink, and that dry very fast, were selected on race-eve.
As I mentioned up front, I am taking my mileage down for a short while, things are swelling, and aching in ways that aren’t a good sign in the thick of a marathon training cycle. Weather permitting I’ll meet up with a few Bootleg Runners for some open water swimming in the morning.
I figure that’ll stretch things out, and hopefully cheer things up as well.
Anyone else do Naperville? How much water did you swallow?