Leading up to the race, the weather was sketchy. We had some torrential rainfall earlier in the day. I spent the afternoon watching the radar screen like a hawk. I was relieved and happy that the skies cleared up by late afternoon. It ended up being a gorgeous night for a race - temps in the upper 60s/low 70s, a scattering of clouds, and a light breeze.
Ready for a ton of pictures!?!?!?!?
The atmosphere was super festive. I felt like I was at a giant tailgate party with a few thousand of my closest Bear fan friends! The sidewalks were filled with grills wafting delicious aromas; bars and beer vendors aplenty; music; and lots of fun football-themed activities.
|Bears tables in the seating area!|
|Miniature field-goal kicking area.|
One of my favorite moments was watching the Chicago Bears Drumline in action. Here they are entertaining the crowd in front of Soldier Field:
Wayne Messmer sang the national anthem before the start. It was a very special moment for me to hear him live. He is an incredible singer and very symbolic of Chicago sports. For those of you who are unfamiliar, here is one of his classic renditions:
The starting area was emceed by Fox Chicago's lead sports anchor, Lou Canellis, and former Bear Tom Thayer. Some big local names! Here they are with Fleet Feet's race director:
Video consoles were set up near the starting line. Before the race got underway, they showed video clips of Bears players wishing us a good race and telling us to represent Chicago proudly.
The start line was set up underneath a giant Bears inflatable. This was my view from the corrals as we were approaching:
The race kicked off with fireworks and runners holding giant Bears flags. On the other side of the inflatable, here's what the start line looked like:
I had no intention of trying to "race" this race, but I got swept up with the energy of the crowd. I decided to test my legs a little to see how it felt.
Within the first few minutes, my Garmin was showing a pace of 7:58. I tried to slow down a little. Running through the McCormick Place tunnel helped ground me.
Mile 1: 8:36.
My hips were sore and I was already feeling the exertion. I am clearly NOT in any shape to challenge my 5K PR! (That would require an 8:20 pace or better.) OK, test completed. From there, I took the pace down. I began keeping my eye out for the "Combine" course offerings.
The second half of the race included beautiful views of the lakefront and the city skyline. Near the Mile 2 marker, tackle dummies and crash pads were set up:
I veered off course to participate. I saw one guy get all into it, hurling himself face-first into the dummies. Comparatively, I just gave some light good-natured punches to a few dummies. =)
Mile 2: 9:41
Around Mile 2.25, I saw a selfie photo station! You could pick from about 8 different player banners. I enlisted one of the race volunteers to take my photo:
A few minutes later, Staley was out on the course giving high-fives and cheering on the runners. Here is my sad attempt at a selfie with him:
Near the Mile 3 marker were step-over pads:
Those pads are deceiving. They look like they are low to the ground, so I thought they'd be no big deal. I was literally jolted by how high I had to lift my knees to run through them!
After clearing the pads, I could hear the finish line emcee in the distance. I quickly got back on course and tried to pick up the pace.
Mile 3: 9:55
A race emcee was calling out our names as we approached the finish line. I always enjoy this touch. It was great to hear the bit of recognition in that final stretch!
Mile 3.1: 0:52
My official finishing time: 29:04.
Check out the awesome finisher medal:
Post-race, I hung out for a little bit, enjoying the energetic crowds and the music. Then I met up with Maggie and her husband, Robert. Here's a picture of Maggie and me:
Robert was proudly wearing a Packers shirt. It made him easy to spot in the crowd, LOL. Maggie said he was talking smack on the course, too! Let the fun begin as we prepare for the Bears home opener vs. the Packers this Sunday!!! ;-)
The Super Bears Shuffle was a BLAST. I thoroughly enjoyed the festive, game-day party atmosphere; the awesome race swag; and the football-themed course offerings. I would highly recommend this race to all Chicago Bears fans!
My next race: The Fit Foodie 5K on September 12 (tomorrow!)
They showed this race before the game last night. I was channel surfing and went hey look, a race!ReplyDelete
Oh wow! That's so cool that it was on NBC! Clearly a race hosted by an NFL team has the potential for a LOT more press than most races. =DDelete
Nice recap! I'm SO glad the rain cleared up before we started - and that it brought colder temps rather than just mugginess. :-) And I'm with Robert - Go Pack!ReplyDelete
Thanks Jordan! Likewise - it was SUCH a relief that the weather ended up being gorgeous last night. I can't even remember the last time I ran without being bogged down by humidity!Delete
Go Bears! =)
That looks like a TON of fun!ReplyDelete
Although ... did you really start the race by running up a bear's butt?! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Yes, I have to admit, the same thought crossed my mind when I took that photo of the inflatable's posterior. =DDelete
Love all the photos! Also, Go Bears!ReplyDelete
Thanks Alexandra! Go Bears!!!Delete
I'm happy you had fun! I know you were a bit apprehensive initially about it being so much more of a festival than a race but it sounds like it was still a good time.ReplyDelete
I ran into one of my neighbors on my way to take Chewie out last night. She had the medal on and I asked her how the 5K went. I think she had indulged in quite a few post-race beers, though, so it was hard to tell :-)
Thanks Erin! I was blown away by how much was going on at the post-race tailgate! It was quite the spectacle for any NFL fans!!!Delete
LOL, your neighbor was in good company! There were TONS of, uh, very well-hydrated participants at the race site. That would probably automatically constitute them having a great time. =D
That is so much fun! They went all out! This seems perfect for a Bears (or, football) fan! I love that they used actual training stuff for the course obstacles. And that medal rocks!ReplyDelete
So saving the PR attempt for later this year or next year?
Thanks Kim! The training stuff was super fun, indeed - and the medal was pretty much the reason I signed up for this race. =) One thing I've learned from attending all these events sponsored by pro sports teams is that the players make everything look WAY easier than it really is. For example, kicking a field goal is REALLY HARD, but you'd never know it until you try it yourself!Delete
I'm probably going to save the 5K PR attempt for next year. I've got a lot of training work to do!
That medal! Looks like a fun event!ReplyDelete
The medal is really the reason I signed up for this event. Will run for bling!!! =DDelete
Congratulations on your finish. Looks like a fun race. I have only ran at Disney where there were fireworks at the beginning. What a cool medal!ReplyDelete
Thank you so much! Likewise - Disney races were the only other time I've ever experienced fireworks at the start! (Wonder if this race borrowed the idea from Disney? Imitation is the highest form of flatter. =D )Delete
That definitely looks like a fun race! Glad you had fun.ReplyDelete
Thanks Zenaida! I think you would really enjoy this race, too! Maybe next year???Delete
Sounds like a really fun race! I'm impressed that it has even more on-course football-related offerings than the BTN Big 10K - that's quite the feat. Glad you had a good time :)ReplyDelete
Bethany @ Accidental Intentions
Thanks Bethany! Good observation about the comparison to the BTN Big 10K! Now that I think about it, the NFL has more power both locally and nationally than the BTN, hence the ability to provide more on-course offerings. It all makes sense!Delete