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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Race Review: Run for Boston 5K

I was immediately affected the moment I heard about the bombings at the Boston Marathon in April. I'm a relatively new runner, but I hope to someday run a marathon, and even if not, I realize that the Boston Marathon is the preeminent event of all US marathons. The course is also right where I was one year ago for two weeks, at my association's annual conference on Boylston Street.

I watched the horror unfold with absolute shock that awful April 15. I was already signed up for the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta (where my sister lives -- she invited me to come down and run it with her and her boyfriend) which has about three times the entries that the Boston Marathon does (Peachtree now caps out at 60,000 entries). It wasn't going to stop me from running it. That would only be what they want. But it did make me nervous.

I heard about a fellow Chicago Running Blogger, Katie of Live Half Full, organizing a Run for Boston 5K in not-too-far Libertyville on the two-month anniversary of the tragedy. I signed up immediately.

I'd been working so ridiculously hard for the last two months that I'd had time to run about, oh, five times since April. For this race, I was not expecting a PR or even a mildly good performance. But I suited up anyway in Boston Marathon Blue early on the morning of June 15 and drove north to Libertyville. The clouds had looked iffy when I departed my place, but I hoped the weather would at least hold out until the end of my race.

Raining hard but ready to race
The second I put my car into park in the parking lot at the Independence Grove forest preserve, the site of the race, raindrops began to hit my windshield. It was literally that instanteous. Luckily I had prepared and brought a running hat (made of a tech material that deflects water), but as we neared start time, the rain started falling harder and consistently.

It was basically full out pouring by the time we lined up for the start. But it was so great to hear from Katie and also the folks from Boston who came out to support the race, namely the representative from the Who Says I Can't foundation (which the race supported). Katie announced that we'd raised $10,000 for Who Says I Can't which was amazing.

I set off at the starting gun with expectations to perform poorly. The course was beautiful -- we ran around the lake in the forest preserve on the trail, which was picturesque despite the weather.

Mid-race, when I decided to make a doofy face
The only issue I really fond with the course was the water station. The water station was placed at about the 1 mile mark, so I did not pick up any water at that point, since it was very early and with it being that early (not at say the 1.5 mile mark as usual for a 5K) I figured there would be a water station at Mile 2. There was not.

I was a little disappointed that there was no water at Mile 2, but it wasn't a massive deal in my mind. I wasn't about to die. In fact, I felt like I could have run
forever, an amazing feat considering I had barely run for two whole months.

Flying across the finish line in record time
Once I was nearing the finish, I realized I was about to hit a new PR. I didn't know how, I didn't understand why (I had barely run in two months!) but I was. Luckily, my "push" song was playing as I rounded the corner to the finish and I threw whatever I could into that last 0.1 miles and finished with what I eventually found out to be a 26:23 PR (by 1:30). I love my finishing photo -- I am flying off the pavement, even at the finish line.

After crossing the finish, I was presented with the finisher water bottle, and grabbed some water and a banana. Sponsors Rosati's and Goose Island 312 beer were present, and I helped myself to some pizza and a, OK a couple, delicious cold beers. Hey, it's good to get some carbs in you after a run, right? RIGHT?!

Anyway, I just felt so pleased with the whole experience. Even if it was a little disorganized, as a meeting planner I understand. The first time you plan any event, there are going to be hiccups and unexpected hurdles. You can't always fix them immediately. It's something you plan for the following year. You just do the best you can and enjoy yourself, which is what I personally did.

I was not only happy crossing the finish line because I knew I had PRed and because I felt like I could run for another five miles, but also because I knew that I was running for something important. I was proud to be a part of this event.

Run for Boston 5K
June 15, 2013
Libertyville, IL


  1. I'm glad you had fun and congrats on the PR! We're thinking about doing it next year and learning from our mistakes. So join us then!

  2. Thanks Katie! I wish I could have been of more help. I'd absolutely love to do it next year!

  3. Great job with the PR! Something even bigger to pass next time!

  4. Congrats on the PR! It was a fun race! I hope ChiRunBloggers make it a regular thing to organize races.