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Today me saw back doing the Bucktown 5k for a second straight year.  I was determined to be faster than my previous time of 48:51.  My history of shin splints was over, I was lighter and stronger than ever before.  Plus the temperature was a lot cooler but the rain did damping the event a bit. (Pun intended)

I was hoping to run my first 30:00 or under 5k of the year.  I felt good in trying to do so.  Also running with me was a very very good friend of mine who went from Zero 5k's to three of them this year.  Very proud of her.  We both woke up around 5:45 am. Enough time to eat, shower, and prepare for the upcoming race.  We took the CTA to the race and if was a very easy trip to get there. Took us about 30-45 minutes to get there. Once we arrived at the bus stop we headed straight to the gear check. (pictured top left)

We had about an hour or so before the race began.  We walked around the park for bit warming up then stretched.  Never stretch cold.  It's a very bad habit and can do some serious damage.  We heard the call for runners to start heading to our assigned corrals.  That's when the rain really started to come down.  We looked for some shelter either a tree or building overhang until the start of the race.

I was determined to have a much faster time than last year.  I was in Corral G which two corrals up than last year so already I've improved.  The start of the race was scheduled at 8:00am and I didn't cross the starting line until somewhere around 8:20am. This is what was ahead of me...




After finally getting to the starting line and beginning to run I felt this sense of calm I never had before.  I had done the Disneyland Half Marathon two weeks before and ran in between.  Now it just seemed just like any other run I've done before.  No stress. No anxiety.  Just focused on running.   

I really enjoy participating in this event.  It's very well organized and the people who live around the neighborhood the course runs through it are out on the streets cheering on the runners.  There wasn't many out this year due to the weather but those who did brave the elements...THANK YOU!!!  It really meant a lot.

Now approaching mile two my GPS race tracker started to give weird updates so I took off my headphones and decided to finish the race without any music as well.  I just picked a person to keep pace with, pass em then pick the next person to keep pace with.  It kept me from getting bored and it was actually fun.  Now the streets weren't exactly smooth either.

Half the race course had pot holes, speed humps and cracks you really had to be careful if not...you're kissing asphalt.  Just passing mile 2 I heard someone from behind me fall down.  And I knew it wasn't pretty because it sounded like a big wet bag of potatoes just slammed to the floor.  I didn't want to look back because I knew it was going to be bad.  Luckily I heard several people ask him if he was okay and said he was fine and kept jogging.  Bravo!!!

Now since this was a shorter race I really wanted to go balls hard fast.  I really wanted to go under 30:00 for this race but I knew better.  I had a bigger race coming up in 7 days and did not want to do anything foolish before that.  So I slowed down to a  10:15 pace and kept it there until the end of the race.  I knew by this time I had already beaten my previous time by at least 10 minutes but it wasn't enough for me.  I really wanted to show I improved from that year.  So I slowly increased my pace not trying to go on a full out sprint to the finish line...a common mistake for beginner level runners like myself.  

The last thing you ever want to do is do something that will cause more injury in the long run.  You will likely trip, tear a muscle, pull a muscle and or cramp up just before the finish line.   All that work gone because of one's ego.  It's best just to keep a steady pace and finish strong crossing that finish line.  There will be other races to improve on just enjoy the fact you accomplished something today.

After everything was said and done I finished the race at 31:43.  Though I did not break the under 30:00 mark I did shave off over 17 minutes from last year's race.  Not bad at all...not bad at all.

I will say this the running etiquette at today's race was much better than the Disneyland Half Marathon.  I highly recommend anyone who is thinking of doing a 5k for the first time to run the Bucktown 5k.  The race is very organized.  It has the neighborhood support and best of all there are many restaurants to enjoy a post race breakfast. 

  
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You can never go wrong with Chicken fried chicken with biscuits and gravy, eggs with hashbrowns.  This is from the Hollywood Grill on North Ave and Ashland. Open 24 hours 7 days a week and only one block south from the finish line.

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Here is a tip:  If you see the race background for photo ops I highly recommend taking the pictures before the race and beat the crowd.

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Very proud of my good friend Stef.  She improved her previous 5k time by 8 minutes.  GO PUTZ GO!!!

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It feels good to be awesome.  Just remember folks the only person you are looking to beat in a race is your former self.  Always be better than the day before.

Until then, 

RBR!!!!

 


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    As a former person who hated running because of shin splints and being really overweight my views on running have change quite a bit... as you can see.

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