It was a week of firsts: first out-of-state 5k, first pride run, first race run in the midst of a professional conference, and the first time I’ve ever run with exposed legs.
I’ve been on the road since Wednesday, which means that the regular routine has been completely off. But I got up at 5:30 AM each morning of the conference to do the netwalking group that Ilise hosts each year. It’s a great way to walk and talk for an hour and meet people you might not otherwise ever run into during the sessions.
But while I knew that I’d be getting some exercise with the group, I also knew that it wasn’t enough to keep up with my Team in Training plan. And as you all know, I take my training and my fundraising seriously. So with a week to go before the conference, I searched high and low for a 5k in Chicago. And there are many… on Sunday. That didn’t help me at all. I needed one on Saturday. And that’s when I discovered Proud to Run, part of the weekend’s pride festivities in the city. Excellent! Preregistration: complete.
The night before the race I was sitting in the bar shortly before midnight (hey, I was networking!) and mentioned it to Kim, a graphic designer from Montana whom I’d met only a few minutes before. Next thing I know, she’s asking for the race info and boom, I had a running partner. This was awesome! Of course, I was still enjoying my time with my friends (and the Absolut drink specials) at midnight, so I wasn’t entirely sure that either of us would roll out of bed for this thing.
“Roll” would aptly describe what I did the next morning. Normally, I have my race stuff set out the night before: clothes, shoes, banana, GU, water. Saturday morning, I couldn’t find my socks, definitely had no GU in my possession, and was amply dehydrated, cotton-mouthed and bleary-eyed from the night before, getting encouragement from friends via Twitter. But I went! And I ran! And in the end, it was all good.
Even though I’m still nowhere near the 30:00 personal record of last year, I did ok, finishing 25th out of 68 in my age group. I can live with that for now.
After the race, we decided to walk back to the hotel. I don’t know exactly what happened, but I swear that the original directions said that it was only a little over 4 miles between the two. 7.5 miles later, we arrived back at our hotels. Oops! (Sorry, Kim!) So 10+ miles later, we’d more than made up for the days spent seated in conference rooms and nights spent eating deep dish pizza.
Now, back to the topic of exposed legs…. I always run in pants or capri tights, even on the hottest summer days. I have this thing about exposing my legs. I have a lot of leg, you see. Most companies sell women’s pants with a 30″ inseam. I’m a 34″ inseam at minimum, and I much prefer 36″. That’s a lot of extra leg, and all of it translucently pale. But I found a running skort on clearance at REI and with the encouragement of the tall women over at Another Mother Runner, decided to give it a whirl… out of town, where no one knows me. As Sara said, “Only you know a skirt isn’t your usual style. Folks will just look at you and wish they had your long gams.” So I did it. I can’t say that I was as comfortable, physically or psychologically, as I am in capris (they lie about the internal shorts; they do ride up), but I also wasn’t arrested for indecent exposure, so I have that going for me (which is nice).
Here are some more photos from the race and Chicago in general. Enjoy!