Chicago Polar Dash 5K

Chicago Polar Dash Finisher

Chicago Polar Dash Finisher

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 😉

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4 Responses to Chicago Polar Dash 5K

  1. Pingback: Yogurt Chicken with Cilantro Chutney and Almond Tri-Color Quinoa | the windy kitchen

  2. I hadn’t commented on this yet so, GREAT JOB! a 30-minute 5k pace is a great time! i’m glad you didn’t freeze, and your penguin hat is really cute 🙂 i’m glad you use your blog for things besides recipes! it’s fun to learn more about you, personally. also… to me, you are still blogging frequently! my posts have really slowed down.. i hope to change that soon… but, sometimes life happens!

    • here is a belated reply to your comment: I have to admit, at the beginning I was not sure how much I wanted to disclose about my personal life, but now I am feeling a lot more comfortable blogging and I see the other bloggers as my virtual friends. Who knows, maybe I will get to meet some in the future 🙂 Plus, fitness and food go hand in hand so the two topics belong together!

  3. Pingback: Chi-Town 10K (March 24th, 2013) | the windy kitchen

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