Sunday, March 24, 2013

Chicago 50K Race Review

A few months ago, i signed up for Chicago Lakefront Spring 50K.  I completed 2011 Fall 50K and knew it was a great race and considering it was in the high 70's last March, it sounded like a good idea in January.  Great way to motivate me to keep up my winter miles and to get a long race on the books before tri season started.   {sidenote:  you are able to register sending a check directly to Pat (the RD) which avoids online registration fees!}

However, during the week leading up to the race, it was cold, rainy, hint of snow and downright WINTER here in Chicago.  No spring in the sight.  I will be the first to admit, i was dreading running 30 miles along the lakefront the entire week leading up to the race.  I checked the weather compulsively and the entire week my husband kept telling me two things... 1. I better bundle up buttercup and 2. "you know, you DON"T have to run this.. as you are complaining so much"  Well, Friday morning brought some hope (39 degrees) and knew I needed to suck it up and get ready to run.

Got to the race around 7:45 at Foster Beach.  Was 45 minutes early as I wanted to get a early start.  Just like in 2011, I got perfect parking (literally 50 feet from the start line and registration tent) and packet pick up was a breeze.  They let you pick out your shirt right then and there so no issues with ill fitted shirts with the lady at the table saying "no shirt exchange." I dropped my stuff in special needs area and got my bib, registered as Early Start, took a quick picture then off I went.   If you note the banner for the start line, i was thankful I wasn't reported for my whining in the day preceding the race!

Should be noted that Early start means you can be an official finisher but you do not receive a time.  B/c this race isn't chipped time, they rely on the start gun to start the clock.  For someone like me, an official time doesn't matter as i had my GPS but something to consider for those that want a time to post to Athlinks, or just for you. 

Race:  The course was 3 loops.  ~10.5 miles round trip.  It started at Foster Beach (5200 N) and had the turnaround at North Ave (1600N) (right next to the boathouse).  The first ~1.25 miles started out on trail (not the cement path).  The course was well marked and b/c it was cold at the start, the path was solid and hard.  It was uneven but fine to run on.   Then around Montrose (4000 N) you merge onto the bike path.  As it was cold, the path never got over crowded and there weren't to many aggressive bikers on the path :)
The website says it is : "78% crushed limestone and cinder path, and 22% paved bike path."  However, i think it is more 22% crushed limestone and 78% paved bike path.


Posed Pickle Juice Pic
Another posed pickle pic
There are 3 aid stations spaced perfectly. One at start, one at North end of Belmont Harbor (~3200N) and one at turnaround-North Ave (1600N).  All of the aid stations were stocked full of goodies.   The first 5 miles went by quick.  Took a small glass of water at first aid station and then gatorade/water+a few JellyBelly Energy beans at 5 miles.  Second 5 miles were similar and a breeze.  A breeze as in easy for me and also b/c it was really breezy coming back towards Foster.  When you lap around the Start/Finish area, they check you off to ensure you are doing three loops!  Second loop (mile 10-20ish)  was really uneventful as well. The limestone path had gotten muddy at this point as it was warming up so i ran on the side of the path.  The fast runners just ran through but since I was slow, i didn't want to muddy up my shoes. 

i started to partake in some of the goodies they had on the second loop simply b/c i wanted to and not sure b/c i needed too.  Ultras are awesome b/c they have Oreos, Chips, Pretzel, M&M's, Coke and Pickles.  All the sweet and salty stuff you could dream of!  The fellow racers were awesome along the course.  Even the fast ones nodded in solidarity.  Since you see these people multiple times on the course, you remember them easily.  (The fast guy in the orange singlet (that i think ended up winning), the short asian guy with the camelback, the guy in the oversized orange hoodie, the Asian that won't smile at me, the good looking guy in white, the cute older couple) and then i chatted with a few people along the way as well.  Love that about this race.  Definitely helps!  
Scott met me at the beginning of my final loop.  I was feeling good but starting to feel the effects of the miles.  Legs were a little tight but happy to be on my final loop and no blisters. He talked while I trotted along just trying to keep pace with his fast walk.  Considering he has 13 inches on my height, his walk was about the same pace as my waddle.  At one point, a large group of randoms started cheering for me to which i responded... "Thanks, that might give me enough umph to start running faster than my husband is walking".   I had NO major breakdowns and not one tear was shed.  Although I slowed down a lot, we managed along.  The last 5 miles were the worst b/c they were the last miles and i felt like the temp dropped.  My dear husband kept telling me he was sore from basketball that morning and at one point, i had to politely ask him to stop talking about that. :)  Was happy to see the limestone path at the end signifying the end of the road.  By that time, the path was frozen-ish again.  Was happy to finish, was medaled and given some hot beans and rice!  Waddled over to the car (thank goodness it was so close)!  

Overall- race was perfectly executed.  The RD's have been doing this for 14+ years and they know what they are doing.  Definitely will be back ... just maybe not in the spring :)

24 hours later, I am alive :)  Still waddling with a over extended ankle (thanks to my gymnastic days, after over use of my ankles, i get the sprained/swolled feeling in my right ankle like clockwork). I barely made it to church today and wore this awesome combo to teach my Sunday School Class.  It was hideous (according to my husband) but i told him... today is one of these days I get double points for even showing up!  

15 comments:

  1. Congrats on your race! I've heard good things about the Chicago Ultras. Maybe I'll do one someday ... we'll see.

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    1. Thanks so much! Definitely put this race on your future radar! They have donuts at the aid stations :)

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  2. Congrats!! That's a huge accomplishment! I haven't heard of a road ultra before and had no idea there was one as close as Chicago. Maybe someday...

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    1. It is a great race if you ever want to go for it!

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  3. This might be on my list for 2014! This August I am running the Howl at the Moon Ultra in Danville IL. Have you done that one?

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    1. Never done any other ultra's. Just checked out the site. Love the idea of a timed race. and the fact it is a small loop will provide great ease to your special needs bag and your friends that come and want to set up a camping chair and cheer for you! :)

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  5. Congrats! I have been curious about this race because I did the NFEC 50K last Sept and I wondered what a city race would be like. It sounds fun seeing the same people as you do the loops! And ughghghgh, I LOVE ultra food tables! I think marathons should be like that too! Hee hee hee.

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    1. Oh, NFEC is on my radar. I loved your race report... Ouch with your knee! :( Love how you put a pic with each race.. genius!

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  6. Fantastic job on the finish!!It was a bit cold and breezy, but the lakefront is always a great place to run. Ultra-congrats!

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    1. Yes, could have been worse or better but happy it wasn't snowing! Yes, running towards the skyline never gets old!

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  7. CONGRATS ON YOUR 50K! this was on my list but probably the fall 50k. I did my first marathon 2 weeks ago. Def love the distance.

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    1. Awesome! it is a great first ultra! Congrats on your Full!

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  8. You ROCK! (but surely you already know that!) Congrats!

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    1. Thanks lindy! i needed you telling me that from Mile 26-31! haha

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