January in the Midwest is always an iffy time to have a race, I did the Polar Dash back in 2012 and it was snowy and cold, but still fun. So after our -15F temps that we had, a race where it was 30F wouldn’t be so bad!
Once again I volunteered to work at the race expo, I really enjoy helping out and volunteering, plus volunteering has helped me earn free stuff, such as race entries, gear, ect… I always work with some great people at the expo, from staff to volunteers, it’s why I go back. I worked in the gear exchange area helping people switch sizes or switch to a black fleece(leftovers from last year) so it went by pretty quick and was fun. I also picked up packets for some of my fellow running club members. I took the train down so I didn’t have to mess with parking in Chicago on a Friday, the weather was finally decent Friday morning so the 1+ mile walk from the train station wasn’t bad at all.
We got up super early, the race started at 8am and we were meeting people to carpool at 5:30am in Kenosha, so Chris and I were up bright and early, it had rained the night before so with snow, rain and standing water everywhere the race was bound to be messy. The Polar Dash staff had posted the night before that parts of the 14 mile course were impassable, we were running the 10K, and knowing the staff they would do everything they could to make the race experience as good as they could. So we met our carpool and got down to Chicago with lots of time to spare, everything was pretty wet, lots of puddles, but the temp and weather were perfect. We had over an hour to hang out and wait before the 10K started, there was 30 min between the 14 mile and 10K start, which was the perfect amount of time so the lakefront course wasn’t too packed. We went to the race with several other members of the Kenosha Running Club. We had 5 people doing the 14 miler, 3 of us doing the 10K and 1 doing the 5K. I love running with this club, so so motivating and such a fun group.
Chris and I started out together, but after a couple turns he was getting further and further ahead. This would be the first race that we didn’t finish side by side, but he is way faster than me and I was totally ok not staying together, I get in a race zone and don’t even notice who’s by me. The race starts out going north, we get a very short distance and the path is flooded, so up into the slush and grass we went, who knew it would be an obstacle course before we hit the quarter mile mark!
There were a lot of puddles, I was looking at the ground most of the time, but it was ok. I knew what to expect going into the race. Once we got back behind the shed aquarium the course was pretty narrow (lots of piles of snow) and right around McCormick Place I knew I needed a pee stop, unfortunately I had passed a port a potty and I figured there would be one by the water stop, there wasn’t so I had to improvise (yup, let the course found a slightly hidden spot) and then I was back at it, as I approached the 4 mile mark I could feel that my body wasn’t doing great. So I slowed a bit more, not running for 4 weeks was killing me, I decided to walk run the rest of the race, which was fine since I hadn’t had any training time. I finished in 1:09:10 and Chris finished in 54:35, seeing him at the end was pretty awesome.
Team Ortho has 3 more races in Chicago this year, I’m signed up for 3 of them and Chris is signed up for 2 of them (1 is a women only event, otherwise he would be running it too)
Get Lucky Chicago
Women Rock Chicago
Chicago Monster Dash
Can’t wait until our next race in March!!! Time to increase the training!!!