I hitched a ride from the same neighbor and we parked in the Millenium Park garage, directly under Grant Park. Arrival time was 5:45. We sat and waited in his car for about 30 minutes and then I made my way up to the Blogger Meetup. I got to the meetup about 10 minutes late, and everyone (2 bloggers) was gone by then. Anyway, I checked my bag and booked on over to the "A" corral with 5 minutes to spare. An observation on the corral assignments They need to start verifying the qualifications of the runners in the "A" corral, I saw people running with backpacks lining up ahead of me. Also, some runners were more concerned with the playlist on their iPhones than getting warmed up!
Anyway, at just around 7 am, after Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel gave a speech and the Blackhawks guy sang the National Anthem, we were off.
Miles 1 through 3.1: I thought this race would be more scenic, however we were stuck mainly on Lower Wacker Drive, essentially underground with just pavement to look at. Eventually we got to run down a short portion of Michigan Avenue, yay! Then the 5k runners separated from us 15k runners and they made their way up "Mt. Roosevelt" back to what was essentially the Chicago Marathon finish line. Average pace: 6:48
Miles 3.1 through 6.2: After leaving the 5k runners, We headed down a ramp that brought to a road that runs below Lake Shore Drive, for about a mile. Some guy I was running with was complaining that the race last year ran through the Loop and this year's course had us running through relatively uninteresting areas. I could not agree more. The up and down ramps provided a mini hill challenge. We also got to run in yet another McCormick Place tunnel! Finally, we ran on one lane of Lake Shore Drive. However, we were running against traffic. The oncoming traffic had not been diverted and was separated from us, by a few pylons. Average pace: 6:48
Miles 6.2 through 9.3: The final third of the race was run mainly on the Lakefront Trail instead of closed off roads. Wow, Incredible! Not! Then it was back through the Eastern tunnel at McCormick Place. In the last 200 yards on Columbus Drive, I was dusted by a woman about 25 years old. It felt like I was standing still. Average pace: 6:41
This will give you an idea of how big this race was: After I crossed the finish line, I could still hear the starting horn for the waves that had not yet started!
- Total time: 1:02:55. Average pace: 6:45/mile
- Overall Place: 177 out of 16,457
- Age Place: 11 out of 588
- Other note: This was my 15k p.r. Although, granted, it was my first 15k ever. However, I told myself during the race if I did not break 1:04 which is my 10 mile p.r., I could not count this as a 15k p.r. So, mission accomplished!
After the race, I got my cheap plastic hot chocolate mug, complete with a dollop of chocolate fondue which made a mess on my jacket.
I also got a picture of me by the marshmallow man:
|Me and the Marshmallow Man!|
|Masses of people waiting around the A-B meetup area|
Alas, we were the only running bloggers to make it after the race, but at least we were able to connect! Then my neighbors and I went over to Gage across the street on Michigan Ave. There we had a couple of Bloody Marys to really get the day started!
- I have a soft spot for these massive Loop races. They are just awe-inspiring when you see how many people are involved.
- Easy transportation to the race. The "El" was running extra trains and if you drove, you could essentially park right underneath the race.
- Weather was picture perfect.
- I got a 15k p.r., but how many 15k races are there?
- Race packet controversy. This may be hard for the race to live down.
- The course is relatively uninteresting, was allegedly better last year.
- Expensive. $70+. Also, why do they charge a transaction fee when they are the ones accepting the payments? What a ripoff!
- Running on Lake Shore Drive against car traffic going 45 mph!
- Corral assignments are based on unverified times.
- For those who don't like crowds this thing is Massive.
I may be back next year, but may decide based on the course layout.