It rained pretty hard the night before the race. When I got up that morning, the city was blanketed by a thick layer of fog with poor visibility. But, I was relieved to see that it wasn't raining! I dutifully ran out the door for the two-bus trip down to Soldier Field.
Here are some pictures that I snapped of Soldier Field enroute to the race festivities:
As you can see, the weather was very overcast. Temps were in the lower 50s, but gusty winds made it feel much colder. One of the parking structures had an indoor restroom, so I made a stop. While inside, I reveled in the few minutes of protection from the elements. Ahhh, heated bathrooms!
I arrived on site with a lot of time remaining before the start, so I wandered around for a bit taking pictures. I got a horchata sample from a vendor, then took an obligatory cut-out picture (don't laugh, I know I look funny):
Check out the course marshalls decked out in sombreros:
This was the view of Soldier Field and the fog-covered skyline from the south tailgate lot:
You can't tell in the picture, but many runners were wearing Mexican-themed outfits and costumes. Very festive!
Since it was so cold, I wanted to keep my jacket on as long as possible. I waited as long as I could to drop my bag off at gear check. Then I dashed over to the starting corrals and squeezed my way in.
The race director made announcements warning everyone of rough patches and standing water on the course. He warned us to be especially careful going underneath the McCormick Place tunnel, which was not very well lit. Good to know.
The organizers played a cheerful recording of the Mexican national anthem which drew spirited "Viva Mexico!" shouts from many runners. Then, we turned around to face the American flags at Soldier Field as the U.S. national anthem was played.
During this time, what appeared to be a remote-controlled flying camera was zooming back and forth over the starting corrals:
Right on time, the gun sounded and the runners took off.
Almost immediately, the course went underneath the McCormick Place tunnel. As warned, it was indeed dark, with bumpy asphalt and puddles of water. Most folks were moving through with ample caution. I lost the signal on my Garmin, too.
After we re-emerged from the tunnel, I tried to settle into a good pace. I hadn't done any warm up, so I was feeling cold and clunky.
The Mile 1 marker came up quickly with an aid station and a mariachi band.
|This picture of the mariachi band was actually taken pre-race (unfortunately I didn't get a picture of the band on the course)|
The course was an out-and-back on Lake Shore Drive and the lakefront path. As we made the turnaround at Mile 2.5, we were hit by a wall of wind. Yikes! I averted my gaze from the big waves crashing along the shoreline. I could only focus on fighting the wind while trying to make sure I didn't lose my hat.
I was displeased seeing my Mile 3 and Mile 4 splits getting progressively slower. Mile 4 felt like it would never end.
In the final mile, I told myself to make it my best of the day. There were two women on my tail who kept saying, "We're almost there!" (even though we weren't). I didn't want them to pass me so I kept speeding up. Then, in the final quarter mile, some runners who had already finished were yelling, "There are churros at the finish line! Go get the churros!" That got me into a sprint. =)
My final time was 46:59. Here are my splits:
Mile 1: 9:40
Mile 2: 9:24
Mile 3: 9:27
Mile 4: 9:30
Mile 5: 8:58
Time for the post-run fun! Here is the super cute medal (one of my all-time favorites!):
and here is the awesome selection of food and drink:
|Horchata, tamale, churro, and chips/salsa.|
|This girl took several strong swings while facing the wrong direction. |
She eventually got some assistance. =)
In summary, the Cinco de Miler was an awesome event! It was very well-organized and I really loved all the swag and entertainment. It was really too bad that the weather was so cold and windy. Even so, this didn't dampen the enthusiasm of many families who were having a marvelous time at the fiesta.
This was my first time running a race put on by RAM Racing and I thought it was fantastic. I am already looking at their other offerings for future race ideas. Maybe the Bucktown 5K in September? Probably the Hot Chocolate 15K in November, too. Choices, choices!
My next race: the Sunburst Half Marathon on June 6
Whoa! That is a way cool medal! And your splits barely slowed down... they were very even with a finishing kick!ReplyDelete
Do you not like to run in the rain because of the before and after logistics? Or do you just not like running in the rain... period? I actually enjoy it, as long as I can warm up, after! I've had fun in a downpour... but it has to be a shorter run, lol!
Thanks Kim! I don't like running in the rain because of the discomfort before, after, and during the race (increased propensity to blister/chafe/slip and fall and break my skull). A cold rain is the worst, especially when accompanied by wind. I actually don't mind running in a warm summer rain when I'm only going for a short distance - maybe 3.5 miles or less. But anything more than that, especially when it's cold/windy, gets miserable in my opinion. The sad thing too is that I have a pair of Goretex running shoes which are supposed to be waterproof - and they were at first. But not anymore. So much for that. =(Delete
Like Kim said, nice slow start, then even splits and a kicktastic final mile! Congrats! So many of those Soldier Field races (and even the RnR Half) go through that dark, pot holey tunnel at McCormick Place. I wish they could find a way around it! :)ReplyDelete
Thanks Pete! Yes - it is frustrating that so many races go through either the McCormick Place tunnel and/or that tunnel on Columbus Drive. If I remember correctly, RnR Chicago goes through both of them! Way to kill a GPS signal near the start and/or finish of a race, right? =)Delete
Surprise! I was there, too, but I guess we didn't cross paths. My friend and I were dressed like mariachis - you'll have to see my race report on Wednesday.ReplyDelete
Anyway, your finish time was fantastic!! Good job! I was so tight from the cold that I had a hard time loosening up and hitting an even stride. I ended up with a pretty slow final result.
I'm also impressed you managed to hold on to your churro long enough to take a photo. I slammed mine down as soon as it was stuck in my cold, cold hand. :-)
Natalie!!! I wish I had known you were there!!! At least the weather was much better this time than at the Chinatown 5K, right? (Incidentally - did you get the email about the discount code to run Chinatown for $20 this year?) It would have been so great to see you!!! I can't wait to read your race report on Wednesday and see your mariachi costume. Woo hoo!Delete
LOL on the churro. The one I got was literally the last one from one of the supply boxes, so it was pretty cold and rubbery from sitting out. That helped me contain myself. That horchata, though, was fabulous. I downed it like a shot within a millisecond after taking that picture. =D
Ah! I should have texted you. I debated it, but I wasn't sure if you were going to be busy with friends.Delete
I did see the $20 Chinatown code. SO TEMPTING! But ... my husband wants to do the air & water show this year, so I suppose I have to reign in my adventures some. Know of any good races that weekend that I could squeeze in before the show starts?
Anytime you are in Chicago, please do text me! Going into the race, I literally didn't know ANYONE else that was doing it.Delete
Hmmm, depending on when you plan on arriving into town, the only race I can find in the city around the weekend of August 14 is the Elvis is Alive 5K on Thursday, August 13. I'll keep my eyes open. =) Likewise - if you find something to sign up for, please let me know!!!
Boo! Had I known you were all alone, I definitely would have hunted you down. :-( Maybe next time.Delete
The Elvis race is intriguing, but on a Thursday night?! Weird!! I'll have to keep my eyes open for others.
Next time for sure! Yes, the Thursday night Elvis race is unique. I will keep my eyes out too!Delete
That IS the cutest medal ever! You had a fantastic finish time! It's always a win when the last mile is the fastest. I love your cut-out pic.ReplyDelete
Thanks HoHo! There are so many great races out there that I'm definitely at the point now where I'm starting to select them based on the quality of the medal and other swag. =D It is very empowering to have a strong final mile - if I could only do it consistently!!! And the cut-out pic, as goofy as it looks, actually took about three tries to look reasonable, hehe.Delete
Emily congrats on a strong race! Look at those negative splits! I seriously considered running this one and after seeing the fun medal I'm ticked I didn't. Maybe next year!ReplyDelete
Thanks Marcia! Awww, I wish you had done this race, too - it would have been great to see you there. Plus, it would have been nice to have some of your warm-weather karma to offset my rain karma. =) Yes, maybe next year!!!Delete
Love that medal! And you finished with a negative split! Nice job. Wouldn't you have felt bad if you DNS'd and didn't get that cool medal?ReplyDelete
Thanks Wendy! Yes - the medal was one of the biggest motivations for me to go through with the race. Had I actually DNS'd, I would have been bummed seeing everyone else's pictures of it. Funny what gets us going, eh? =)Delete
Yea - most RAM races are pretty good, although I'm surprised that they let some of them get so large. When I spectated Cinco de Miler, it was up at Montrose. I'm curious if they'll move the Bucktown 5K out -- I love that race but it's already so crowded!!!ReplyDelete
Ah yes - the organizers sent out a lot of communications regarding Cinco de Miler being at Soldier Field this year instead of Montrose Harbor! I've heard a lot about how crowded Hot Chocolate used to be, too. I'm glad to hear that you love the Bucktown 5K! Sadly it doesn't seem like they could move it elsewhere, though. Kind of defeats the purpose to have a neighborhood race take place in a different setting, right? =(Delete
Oh my gosh.. the cutest medal I've ever seen! Congrats on an amazing finish - churros at the finish line would give me an incentive to sprint :) Jennifer @ Run Jenny RunReplyDelete
Thanks Jennifer! If only all races had churros at the finish line, right? I've heard of some races with ice cream at the finish - that would be a huge motivator for me, too. =)Delete
Congrats on a well run race! Those negative splits are hard to come by, but you rocked them!! This race looked so fun and the medal is really cool. I'm glad the weather held out for you too!ReplyDelete
That little device that was flying around with a camera is a drone. :)
Thanks Xaar!!! It's amazing how much motivation one can muster from envisioning churros at the finish line, LOL. It was a huge relief that it wasn't raining (but I bet that isn't stopping you from being wary of all future races that I've got on my calendar, right? ;-) ).Delete
A drone, eh!?!? Thanks for letting me know - I didn't know it had a name! I learn something new every day. =) I wonder if I set off my company's alerts when I googled "camera drone" just now, LOL.
Nice work on your race! That McCormick Place tunnel is seriously the worst. I hate running through there! And the wind out of the north on Saturday was bru.tal. I'm impressed that you managed to maintain fairly even splits fighting against that wind. The race medal is so cool, too! Glad you had a good time and that the rain held off :) I have a race on Sunday and the forecast is currently less-than-ideal, so I keep hoping the same thing will happen this week as happened for you on Saturday.ReplyDelete
Thanks Bethany!!! It's a bummer that so many races have to go through those tunnels. Maybe one day when the Chicago Running Bloggers take over the city, we can get some kind of bypass path for those tunnels. =D I was very relieved that the weather held off, too! Although - perhaps if it was raining, the tunnels would have provided a momentary respite from the elements, I suppose? Trying to make some lemonade out of lemons here. =)Delete
I wish you a fantastic race this Sunday!!! What race are you doing?!?!? Is it local or is it in DC (when are you headed out there again?)?
I think those are some very impressive splits, especially the last mile. You killed it!ReplyDelete
It looks like they went all out (even having the volunteers wear sombreros - clever!). And 5 miles is such a fun distance. I agree that you should run more races with this race company.
The medal takes the cake. So unique and pretty! Congrats on another finely run race!
Thanks Amy! The race organizers had some very cute and unique touches, indeed. I agree that the 5-mile is a great distance - I definitely prefer it over a 5K! Kudos to whoever designed the medal, yes? It is the cutest medal ever!Delete
Yes, that certainly sounds like a fun and UNIQUE event! The medal is too cute. The race organizers really went all out to keep with the theme...very neat!ReplyDelete
I could only imagine having the ladies behind me saying "we are almost there" a hundred times would fuel my fire to run faster too! Whatever the motivation...right?!?! Good run!
The event was amazing!!! I think it's been running for a good 10 years in Chicago, and for good reason. What was really cool was seeing so many folks of Mexican descent there, proudly representing their heritage. Love it!Delete
YES - anything that can fuel the motivation! Churros, beverages, the runners around you - it can work in different ways! Hehehe.