Training: California and Montana Run a 5K in Chicago


Such beautiful stillness as the sun rises over the lake.

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.

At the starting line.

“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.

They are long. Really, really long. And pale, even after a week of self-tanner.

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!

Hooray for nice technical tees!

There were some seriously fit people running this race.

The long but lovely walk back from the race.

Inside: happiness and double rainbows.

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