What a busy beginning to the new year! Between work, trying to plan my future, post-holiday meetings with friends, and keeping a regular running schedule I haven’t been left with too much blog writing time. Not to worry, I am still cooking :-), but this post is primarily about my run this past weekend. In other news, I was very excited to see that my Cocoa Butterscotch Brownies are Yummly Certified 😉
Soon after the Santa Hustle run, I was just browsing winter runs in Chicago to find some extra motivation to run during the winter and I came across the Chicago Polar Dash. I noticed one of the rewards for finishing the race was a glass-stained medal, but at the time I was in no way prepared to tackle a winter run by the lakefront. With the thought of the medal in mind, I wrote a nice letter to Santa asking him to provide me with some cold weather running accessories. Santa, who’s always so nice and kind, delivered running gloves, wool socks and an Omni-Heat hat. There was even a post-Christmas delivery of an Under Armour balaclava 😉
After successfully running 3 mi in the snow on Christmas day, and most importantly seeing a picture of the super cute penguin hat that the Chicago Polar Dash team has included in the running packet :-), I became a little more convinced that I should sign up for the race. Since I didn’t want to lose any toes/fingers to frost bite I dutifully waited until the 10 day weather forecast included Jan 12th predictions and then signed-up. At the time, it was supposed to be in the 30s with about a 50% chance of snow. Little did I know that come race day, it would be 55 F and I would not have any use for any of my cold weather running gear! I still wore my penguin hat because it is way too cute 🙂
One of the packet pick-up places was conveniently located in my neighborhood. Picking up the packet was a breeze! Bonus, I figured out the store sells the Cliff energy gel cubes and I don’t have to go all the way to REI anymore. I really like the gel cubes, as they’re easy on the stomach in the morning, not too sweet and I am convinced they give me running super-power, eh energy 🙂 I prefer them to Cliff bars and they’re orders of magnitude better than the Gatorade gels, which I think they mostly just have sugar!
One of things I liked about this race was that they had gear exchange! Since I signed up a bit late, they didn’t have any small fleeces available and I ended up with a medium. I got there early on race day and exchanged my medium for a small without any problems. Gear check was also a breeze and they had plastic bags to protect the backpacks from the possible rain…so thoughtful!
While overall, I really enjoyed the race, they did have a major misstep. They forgot to direct us onto the 5K course and instead we ended up running on the 10K/half-marathon path and then randomly got turned around when they figured out their mistake. This meant that we, 5Kers, didn’t get to run past a water station! Fortunately, my mapmyrun calculated 3.11 mi so at least I did end up running a 5K 🙂 The other problem with the course was that ~2.8-2.9mi in we met with the 10K and half-marathon runners and due to crowding we slowly jogged to the finish line instead of sprinting, which I am sure affected a lot of the running times. The 5K race was not officially timed, but my iPhone counted 30 min, which is not bad considering. I just hope the organizers learned from their mistakes for their next race!
To recapitulate: super fun race idea, cool gear, but needs some work on the organization and course design fronts. I love my penguin hat and I have gotten lots of compliments 🙂 Take home lesson: be brave and sign up for a winter run, who knows, maybe it will be much warmer than expected, if not you might at least end up with a super cool hat 😉