Wednesday, April 09, 2014

The Race That's Good For Life

Did you know there's a race that's good for life? Believe it or not, there is.

Where is this race you might ask? Well, it's out in Oak Park.

Oak Park is a place I often think of visiting but never seem to get to living and working on the lake. I spent time in undergrad learning of Oak Park through an extensive Frank Lloyd Wright study, but outside of that, Oak Park is a community relatively unknown.

The Race That's Good For Life 5K has been around for decades. It's a race that's won awards, including the Chicago Area Runner's Association's race of the year. 

It's been a good, long while since I'd run a 5K race. Six or seven years.

As we drove out to Oak Park Sunday morning, we took in the sights of old homes with big front yards and appreciated some of the finer things in suburban life - free and easy parking, low traffic, children riding bikes. It was on the drive that I realized I'd forgotten to look up my standing PR (though it's not much of one) for a 5k on

We parked and headed in to Oak Park River Forest High School to grab our packets and meet up with friends. I had an opportunity to meet some representatives from Liberty Mutual Insurance who sponsored the CARA Circuit Runner promotion as well. Seeing the gathering in the high school made me realize and appreciate the smaller race set up - We parked two blocks away. Restrooms and indoor heat was plentiful. The race started at a reasonable time (9:10 for the women's race).

The Race That's Good for Life's format has the women's race first, followed by the men. It was a unique opportunity to watch part of the men's race after we finished.

Kim and I headed to the start line together. We talked as we waited for the race to start. In mid sentence, the gun went off. We commented on how we could hear the gun (unlike in a big race where you might be many blocks back). Within a few seconds, we had crossed the start line. I realized I hadn't set my Garmin to "locate satellites." I quickly thumbed over the buttons and hit start.

The route took runners down wide streets lined with houses. Some residents smiled and cheered us on from their driveways and front lawns. The sun was out and temperature was mild. Oh spring, there you are!

I looked down at my watch to see I hadn't started a new run, but rather was adding to my Shamrock Shuffle time. I tried to start a new lap or reset it.

Thoughts going through my head:

I really should learn this watch properly...What runner messes up their Garmin like this? There's only four buttons.

Oh well, we're at mile 2 already. Guess I can spend some time with my watch post race. 

wonder how far I'm in two mile two now? Ah, the cross street is Augusta. The school is around Ontario. I'm thinking five blocks to go? But it might not be in a straight line...should have looked at course map.

Regardless it's less than ten minutes to run. Just go for it already and stop thinking about strategy since all systems are failing. 

We crested a small incline and saw the finish line ahead of us. Questions in my head answered.

I crossed the finish line and was handed a flower along with some post run nutrition. Nice touch!

I headed over to the car to grab a change of clothes before watching the men's race start. Following the end of the men's race, we met a bunch of our friends in the school cafeteria. We caught up for a minute on summer plans and racing before heading out to brunch.

By 10:30 we were brunching and drinking bloody marys.

Suburban racing is pretty good.

The Race that's Good for life is Great.

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