Well I made it through a week of flat running, and honestly it wasn't so bad.
Wampum Lake 5k - 19:08
I should have known I was in trouble when I was on the 12:50 AM train back from Chicago, after a Black(out?) Wednesday that involved at least 2 dozen grape and blue raspberry Twizzlers.
I should have known I was in trouble when there was nowhere to leave my drop bag and I didn't find any aid stations on the course map.
I should have known I was in trouble when 15 fit high school harriers lined up next to me at the start line (why was I standing so close to the front in the first place...?).
I knew I was in trouble when, 30 seconds into the affair, I was completely out of breath, wondering how I could get out of this with my dignity in tact.
The 5k is a beast of a race, and I enjoy watching people run this distance very much. Despite the fact that I have coached at a high school (as a volunteer assistant, don't worry I wasn't actually telling people how to run) I've never raced the distance myself. For good reason, it hurts! A lot. Wampum Lake was a great venue for my first 5000m, there was no pavement, a sprinkling of SINGLETRACK and lots of mud. It was fun to actually race and I was surprised at how much oxygen helps the whole process of running fast. I actually managed to run a 6:08 mile and not pass out immediately after.
Without boring anyone with the details of my race, I'm proud to report that I sprinted past one teen and got out-kicked by another, finished 1st in my age group (so did my mom!) and actually enjoyed running fast-ish. I think I'll be planning a few more 5k/10k races this winter.
City Runnin' Advice for Mountain Folks.
- Running across the Chicago River, in a canyon of skyscrapers, is not as cool as the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon.
- Running through the Lincoln Park Zoo, and seeing "wildlife" (monkeys! lions! zebras!) is WAY better than seeing wildlife in the mountains of Colorado. In the zoo, there are fences.
- Always carry a $20 with you when you run in the city. When you want to quit there is usually a taxi nearby to take you to the end of your run. Keep the Garmin on though!
- DO NOT splash in the puddles of Chicago. They are not like mountain puddles, as evidenced by the oily sheen.
- Just because you can run the 4 miles to catch a late-night train, doesn't mean you should.
- You can run most of our race courses solo, and still feel a similar course. Good luck running a big city marathon course, unless you like spending half of your time waiting for stoplights.