Friday, September 23, 2016

bucktown 5k recap

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

Here's my shorter BibRave review.

Bucktown 5k has been on my radar since I saw their amazing swag in 2014 – sweatpants! Every year something unique and fun. I wasn't able to race in 2014 or 2015, so I was excited that in 2016 my calendar was free on the day of the race. This year they had runners vote between a vest and sweatshirt – the sweatshirt won out (which made me happy because it's what I voted for haha).

Packet pickup for the race was held on Thursday–Saturday:
Fleet Feet Deerfield
800 Waukegan Rd.
Deerfield, Illinois 60015
Thursday, September 15, 2016 - 4pm to 6pm

Fleet Feet Elmhurst
124 Schiller St
Elmhurst, Illinois 60126
Thursday, September 15, 2016 - 4pm to 8pm

Fleet Feet Old Town
1620 N Wells St.
Chicago, Illinois 60614
Friday, September 16, 2016 - 10am to 8pm
Saturday, September 17, 2016 - 10am to 6pm

I popped into Old Town on Friday around 11:30. They had pickups for two races at the store that day and Bucktown 5k was in the back of the store. For whatever reason the scanner had problems grabbing the code from my phone, so the guy just looked up my info using my last name. Quick and easy. Pickup included a RAM Racing drawstring bag with your bib, sweatshirt, and safety pins.

Race day brought sunshine, temps in the upper 60s, and the usual high humidity. The race start was at 8:30am on Sunday, September 18 at Burr Elementary School Grounds (1621 West Wabansia (Wabansia & Marshfield), Chicago, Illinois). i knew nothing of parking in that specific area, so we left early and got there around 7am because let's face it, my anxiety is high when I don't know what parking will be like. Luckily, there was a good amount of free street parking nearby (and I saw a bunch of other runners getting out of their cars, so I knew I was in the right area and felt comfortable parking where everyone else was ha).

At the race site (and by the start) there was a good amount of portapotties. There were no lines when we got out there around 7:30 (we hung out in the car for a bit). Eventually Eric got there and we met up to chit chat, I met his friends Tim and Megan, we took some photos, wished each other luck, and headed to our corrals. The corrals went from A–K and were released every 2 minutes. It was a good size crowd – a couple thousand runners (5,000 maybe?).

The course took runners through Bucktown – a cute neighborhood with tree lined streets and lots of friendly folks out cheering on the runners. One family even had their own water table set up manned by the kids – very cute. The course was closed to cars and was set as a tow zone, though plenty of cars were still parked out on the street. This made running the course a bit trickier, as everyone had to go around the cars. 

Mom and I ran together doing our intervals – 40 seconds running 30 seconds walking. We weren't gunning for a PR, so just taking it easy and having fun. There were some parts on the course that were very congested (mostly the parts that were half the street so runners were going each way, and then also had cars parked), but overall not too bad. Runners want to make sure to watch their footing, as the streets of Chicago are filled with potholes and uneven bits (I might have rolled my ankle once or twice). Not the races fault, just something to be aware of.

After the race, we received bottled water, Nuun in cups, bananas, and a plastic bag filled with chocolate milk from Silk, a bag of mini pretzels, and a Nature Valley Chocolate Chunk Bar. The after party had a DJ going, a photographer taking pics of runners with the RAM Racing backdrop and podium, samples of Nuun, and other tents for runners to socialize and hang out.

Pros post-race! We don't look nearly as sweaty as we were ;)

Post-race Party.

I met back up with Eric and friends, took some final photos and chatted a bit more before heading out separate ways. Mom and walked down to Stan's Donuts for a post-run breakfast treat, and then stopped into Starbucks next door. Who did we see there? Eric, Megan, and Tim! haha. Small world. Anyway, we took our treats back to the car, drove home, and then ate. I went with that big one - it was a chocolate pretzel drizzle something or other (bear claw maybe)? Whatever it was. Delightful. I ate my other two donuts over the next two days. Yum.

I don't eat donuts often, so these are a real treat.

Get in my belly!

Other than few minor complaints about cars parked on the course and some potholes, it was a well-organized race and I love the unique swag they come up with every year. I also like that they involve the runners in the decision of what we'll get (voting for options). They did the same thing for Hot Chocolate this year, and though the jacket I voted for didn't get picked, I liked both options so was still happy :)

I'd definitely recommend this race and plan on running it again in 2017 if it fits in the racing and social calendar. 

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