Wacky 5K Recap

(Show of hands: who has Pulaski Day off? I certainly don’t. When I was doing my internship, I came to the conclusion that Chicagoans deal with late winter by taking any possible holiday off–Lincoln’s birthday AND President’s Day AND Pulaski Day mean four-day weeks like every other week for those lucky enough to get all three days off…aka not me).

Funny story about this Wacky 5K: back in December, I was chatting with one of my friends when the topic of running came up. This friend mentioned that she had run two miles before, to which I said, “Oh, you could totally run a 5K if you’ve run two.” I expected her to scoff at my suggestion, but instead she said, “That’d be great! If you find a race, I’ll run it.” I immediately started a quest to find an early spring 5K for the two of us to run. I came across the Wacky 5K and told my friend before New Year’s that we were going to run this race. She was totally game, but neglected to check her calendar until after I had already registered, at which point she realized that the race fell during her spring break, so she wouldn’t even be in Chicago and obviously couldn’t run.

I didn’t want to run this 5K in the first place, so I had a pretty bad attitude going into things. I don’t know if I’ve ever complained about a race as much as I complained about this one. Also, the race shirt is hideous.


Eeesh. That’s going to be an exclusively under-the-fleece-on-a-10-degree-run sort of shirt.

I wasn’t about to get my first ever DNS just because I didn’t want to run, though, so I sucked it up and headed to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum on Sunday morning. For those of you keeping score at home, this is the third Chicago race in a row that I’ve run at the Nature Museum (not counting my indoor triathlon which was, you know, indoors), and I’ve got to say that I’m a big fan of that race location. It’s especially great during the winter to have an indoor location for gear check, bathrooms, etc. The Wacky 5K pretty much took over the entire museum, which also means you more or less could tour the museum for free, which is cool. I was super pressed for time on Sunday, so I didn’t have time to stop and admire the exhibits, but if you had time to linger it’s a nice perk of having races there.

The Wacky 10K started before the 5K, which was a little annoying because I had no idea they were going to start the 10K before the 5K until I got out to the start line. Communication with this race was a bit sparse and the website didn’t have much information, and I would’ve liked to have known before I headed outside that my race didn’t start until 10:15. But whatever. I suppose as far as bad things go with races, that’s pretty minor.

The original race course had us running on the dirt path right across the street from the nature museum to start out, but due to recent weather events, the dirt path was super slushy/icy/dangerous in general. They let you run on it if you wanted, but you also had the option of cutting across the snow-covered grass to the concrete right along Diversey Harbor if you wanted as long as you crossed the mats to activate your chip. I ended up going that route because I figured since I was at the race, I might as well run hard, and ice isn’t exactly conducive to hard running. The concrete path was really crowded for the first quarter mile but cleared up very quickly, which was great. I love races that don’t involve dodging the people just out there for funzies, especially when I’m trying to do well.

After we crossed under Lake Shore, the 5K course actually turned south instead of north, which was different than my other Nature Museum races. There was, as far as I’m concerned, no wind to speak of on the course, which made it easy to fly down the path. The mile markers were right on, which is something I also appreciate. I hit Mile 1 at 8:28 and though my quads were burning, I knew they could handle more so I picked it up as soon as I passed the marker. We had a hairpin turn a bit before Fullerton and then headed north on the path. I ran an 8:12 second mile and still felt good, so I dug a little deeper for that last 1.1 miles. My sides were a little stitched and I felt a little bit like dying–which is how I like to feel during 5Ks, since it’s how I know I’m giving it my all–but things were still going really, really well. If there was a Mile 3 marker I completely missed it, but I ran an 8:00 split for that mile which is THRILLING! Not only did that mean I negative splitted the race, which is always my 5K goal, but even more so it’s the fastest mile split I’ve ever had since I started running with my Garmin a year ago.

I had to slow down a bit to cross back over the snow to finish and wasn’t really paying attention to my watch at all until I got into the chute. My Garmin said I ran a 25:21I couldn’t believe it! My previous 5K PR was a 26:19, so this was HUGE! I wanted to PR going into this race in the sense that I always want to PR, but all winter long I’ve been running once a week at a leisurely pace, so I had no real expectations that I’d PR, and I certainly didn’t think I’d PR by that much. My official time was 25:24, so I’m calling that my new 5K PR. It’s still almost a full minute off my previous PR with zero speed training, and I can’t complain about that. This is exactly why I like running in cold weather so much. Nothing like a chilly day to help you get to a baller PR. Naturally the cutoff to change your corral for the Shamrock Shuffle was Friday, which sucks because I really wanted to get into Corral C but you had to have a 5K time of 25:59 or faster to get in there, which I didn’t have before Friday. Lame. Ohhhh well. Next year 😉

I also won my age group, which makes this the second weekend in a row that’s happened. What is my life? I’m really not that fast haha. But I’ll take it! I didn’t get my medal because I had to high tail it out of there after the race, but hopefully I’ll be able to get it some other way.

So despite my lack of enthusiasm about this race, I’d say it was more than worth it in the end 🙂

22 thoughts on “Wacky 5K Recap

  1. Given that I’ve never heard of Pulaski day, I’d say I don’t have it off. That is an AWESOME PR! Oh my goodness I am so excited! And winning too? Now that is something to feel accomplished about. I love when that happens! Sometimes the races I have the worst attitude about turn out to be the best. I know that’s not what you’re supposed to think, but it’s how I have always been. Low expectations=good outcome. Counter-logic but it works!

    • Haha yeah, it’s this totally obscure Chicago-only holiday. Basically it just means city hall and the library are closed, though I think a few schools have off, too. No one else celebrates Pulaski Day, not even the rest of Illinois. And thanks! I was totally expecting to write a, “I had a bad attitude and therefore a bad race, so that’s why you shouldn’t have a bad attitude” post, but lo and behold! That’s not how things worked out at all! And I’m 100% okay with that, obviously.

  2. Oh mh gosh! PR and AG win! That is awesome!!! Yee haw! I wonder if you can somehow workout that corral placement change, even though you are a few days late. Hmm… 😉

    I don’t have the day off! Ha! I wish I did!

    LOL, I think that shirt is kind of fun! 🙂 Were a lot of people wearing them?

    • Thanks! Maybe I’ll e-mail the Shuffle and see if I can finagle my way into Corral C…we shall see!

      There were a good number of people wearing the race shirt, yeah. I don’t wear race shirts for the race itself, but I really think that might’ve been the only situation where I wouldn’t have felt like a total doof for wearing it haha.

  3. First off, I think the shirt is hilarious and you should wear it proudly! Like Kim says, a PR and an AG win is huge and you should definitely rock the shirt!

    Also, how fantastic was the weather yesterday? I was telling my mom that in order to run my best, I need to find a flat winter marathon and guarantee sunny weather (i.e. Chicago yesterday). It’s perfect for comfortably running fast!

    • Thanks!

      Ahhh yesterday’s weather was PERFECT! Seriously, if I could bottle yesterday up and save it for every race and/or summer run from here on out, I would. Any time I hear anyone complain about the cold or how they want it to be hot again I get so angry. How dare you wish for bad running weather! Haha.

  4. Woot woot! Look who’s on fire with some speed these days 😉 i need to do more fun races…i need more money to do so…or races need to be cheaper…or all three…yeah i’m going with all three on this one 😛

    • Thanks! Haha yes, race registration fees are the death of me. It’s not okay how much of my first few paychecks of this year went to pay for races. It’s also embarrassing how proud I get of myself when I choose to not register for a race for the sake of saving $$ haha.

  5. Ooh, I bet if you call or email Shamrock today they’ll change your corral. Or maybe you can change it at the expo?? Worth a try!

    Great job on your race! I bet it’s all that hip hop and break dancing that is giving you muscles and speed even though you haven’t been running. I mean, did you say that those are basically interval workouts?

    Is this a Special Events Management race? I have not had great luck with those in terms of pre-race organization but once you’re out there running they seem to be fine.

    • Yeah, I’ll definitely give it a shot! We’ll see what happens!

      Hip hop and breakdancing are pretty much interval workouts, so maybe that’s had an affect on how fast I’ve been. Part of me also wants to credit Best Body Bootcamp, because ever since I started doing BBBC I’ve been waaaay faster than before…but I’ve also only done BBBC during the winter, and given my hatred of the heat, I think the cool weather plays a definite roll in my recent increase in speed as well. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with my times when it gets a bit warmer.

      Yep, this was a Special Events Management race. You don’t have any experience with them mailing out age group awards, do you? They said on Facebook they’d mail them out, but I know sometimes it takes forever for that to happen…I just want my medal rightnow! Haha. I need to get some patience 😛

  6. Congrats again! Maybe you will be able to change your corral placement at the expo/packet pickup? My 5k PR is from a very hungover, very little sleep race, but I’ve only run 2 so still stands. I’ll have to beat that this year.

  7. That’s so awesome! I love surprise PRs like that, especially when you don’t even do speed training. It always feels good 🙂

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