Thursday, July 9, 2015

ram racing terrapin 5k recap

Disclaimer: I received a free entry into RAM Racing Terrapin 5k to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

The Terrapin 5k, with this year being the last, was held on Thursday, July 2 at 6:30pm. I'm always a little nervous doing races in July, especially with how hot and humid Chicago can be. The running gods must have been smiling down on me, as it was a GORGEOUS night for a run. It was party cloudy with temps in the high 60s (maybe lower 70s) with a slight breeze. I was glad that I chose to put on shorts and tie-died Zensah compression sleeves rather than wearing capris. I was definitely sweaty when running, but the good kind, not the dripping sweat because it's 100 degrees + 100% humidity. (If you want the short and sweet review version, go here).


 

While there were different options for packet pickup, including 12–3 in Deerfield and Elmhurst on Sunday, and 10–3 at Fleet Feet Old Town, I was very very happy to take advantage of the race day packet pickup option. I didn't have time to drive to any of these locations prior to the race, as they are all a bit of a hike for me.

Post-race party with Lou Malnati's, brownies,
and Magic Hat? Sign me up!
Plus, look at the fun shirt and hat!

I left work early in order to ensure that I had enough time to get into the city and get to my packet before it stopped at 6pm. I got there with lots of time to spare – 5:00, to be exact. I had pre-purchased my parking on Wednesday using SpotHero, for $10, so it made that bit less stressful (and cheaper than choosing a parking facility the day of and paying $20+ for a few hours).

After the long drive (about 1.5 hours), I had to utilize the bathroom, and I stopped at the open facility right before heading into the park – I'm a fan of running water and soap! I knew there would be ports-potties in the race area, but figured there was no line here, so might as well just go. 

Anyway, the race set up was within a fenced area in the park (so was on the grassy part – luckily, even though we had been getting a lot of rain, it wasn't muddy), so I headed in and to the left was the packet pickup area. A lady waved me over before I even knew that's where I should go. I handed her my printed out confirmation email, and bam, I had a clear plastic bag in my hands with my bib, safety pins, tie-dyed tech shirt, and hat. I have to say that the shirt was cooler than I was expecting–it looked much better in person than it did in the photos online. Yippee! (Speaking of, I saw someone in my neighborhood wearing the shirt the other day – she was walking her dog. I wished I had been out running instead of driving, because I would have struck up a conversation with her).


The scene pre-race.
Right after getting my packet, I spotted Julia and her boyfriend, so I hung out with them for a bit to chit chat. They had to do a few warm up miles, so we set our plans to meet up post-race, and I kept an eye out for my pal Jordan. During this time, I decided to get my drinking wristband, since I had some free time, and figured it would be nice to have it done when I finished so I wouldn't have to worry about it. I got in a short line, showed the guy my ID, and he put on my wristband. 

About 10 minutes before the race I spotted Jordan, and it turned out we were in the same corral, so we went together to line up (the line up area was outside the fenced area over on the sidewalk).


Me and Jordan at the start line of the race.

The corrals were A–D and had maybe 2.25 minutes between each wave release. The race started on time, and at about 6:37 we were off. I stayed with Jordan for the first 11 minutes or so – just before the first mile marker. You guys, I RAN that whole time. I know, amazing, right? If you know me at all, you know I do the run/walk intervals, and usually my runs are no longer than 1 minute before I take my walk breaks. Being with Jordan made me push myself harder. It was great. 

But… after 11 minutes I needed a walk break to catch my breath. After that, I did 1 minute walk/1 minute run intervals. I was really happy with how I was feeling – a little tired, but it felt good to push myself to go faster than usual. The thought of my friends having to wait a long time for me to finish (eh hem - Julia was the first female to finish — speedy McGee!) kept me moving quickly, as I didn't want to make them wait TOO long. So, thanks for putting that pressure on me, you guys! Ha - I jest, since I put the pressure on myself. I gave them lots of warning to go eat and get some beers and I would meet them in the post-race area, so that they didn't have to wait for me at the finish. To my surprise, they were at the finish line still when I crossed! Then they yelled at me for saying how slow I was, since they weren't waiting long at all. They're so sweet. Anyway, the point of the story is that I'm thankful to have awesome running friends that help motivate me to be a better runner.

The course was enjoyable – a little different than most other races that are at Arvey Field… even if the only difference was the direction was switched. It's a little hard to explain how the course went, so here's an image of it. The only bit of course I didn't enjoy was towards the end when you had to run down a small grass hill, which was lined with small square bricks (mind you, the bricks weren't connected, there was a space between each) – for a clumsy gal like me, that could have been dangerous. Luckily, I managed to get down it without incident. 


The course.

At about mile 1.5 or 2 there was an aid stop. I only remember seeing water, which I grabbed from a volunteer, but online it said there would be Gatorade. Can anyone confirm if it was just water, or if I missed the Gatorade in my race haze? For a 5k, I think it's fine if it was only water, but I do my best to provide all the information to my readers :)

At the finish line, they had cups of Gatorade. This isn't a deal breaker, but I would have liked a bottle of water, especially before heading over to drink some beers. I did chug my cup of Gatorade, and then Tom (fellow BibRave Pro), Julia, J's BF, Jordan and I headed to the post-race party. They got their items from gear check, we grabbed some Lou Malnati's pizza and brownies, chatted, and then headed over to the beer tent. 


BibRave For Life!

Another thing, if you know me, is that I was very pleased that it was a craft beer! Not only that, but they had two options – Magic Hat #9 and Electric Peel. I personally preferred the Electric Peel, an IPA (which is surprising, because I'm not usually an IPA person). Tom had to leave a bit earlier than the rest of us, but we ended up having some drinks and talking for about 2 hours after the race. There was a Grateful Dead cover band (Old Shoe) playing until about 10, and it was just such a lovely night to be outside enjoying the company.


Lovely evening for a race.

A funny thing that happened was that a few different runners came up to our group to give us their extra drink tickets before leaving. I don't know if it's because we looked like we were there for the long haul, or because we were a larger group than most, but we appreciated it. Once the runners started clearing out, security started allowing some Dead Heads to wander in to enjoy the band and some beers. Tickets were available for beer for $5 (cash only), or you could have purchased extras at the packet pickup. Each runner had a ticket for a beer and a slice of pizza and brownies attached to their bib.


Nom nom nom.

I had SUCH a fun time at this race, and am bummed that it won't be back next year. This was my first time experiencing it, and it was awesome. I think RAM Racing did a great job communicating all of the night's events, along with the packet pickup info, in advance, so runners could plan. I knew well in advance when and where packet pickups were, and that the best option for me was to do it on race day. I've never had any problems for packet pickup or on race day with a RAM event (I've done Hot Chocolate, Rock the Night, and I'm sure some others in the past that I can't think of now). So for me, I have no problem registering for more events that they host, especially since they all have amazing SWAG and post-race treats.


Julia and I hydrating post-race.

With our new friend Caption Jim.
Can you tell who the runners are? They have the reflective gear haha.

Did you race the Terrapin 5k this year, or in the past? How did it go for you?

Make sure to go to BibRave.com and write reviews for any/all of your races! It helps runners choose their races in the future, and helps race directors see what they can improve on. Also, head on over to Twitter on Tuesday nights at 8pm CT for #BibChat where we discuss running, motivation, food, beer, etc. It's always a blast, and the hour files by. Check it out!

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