Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Race Recap: Bucktown 5K 2014

After running the Hyundai Hope on Wheels 5K (as part of the Chicago Half Marathon), our friend talked about how awesome the Bucktown 5K was going to be.  I already decided not to do the race but in a surprise turn of events, the HUBBY became very excited and wanted to sign up.  The one thing you need to know about this year's Bucktown 5K?  Sweatpants.

The Bucktown 5K is hosted by RAM racing, the same folks who present the Hot Chocolate race.  Boasted as a neighborhood race, participants run the residential streets of Bucktown/Wicker Park.  After seeing the spark in my husband's eyes (and he is not a fan of running a hard core racer), we signed ourselves up.  

Absolutely harmless because we already had profiles set up from the Hot Chocolate race. 2 minutes later, we were done (and senza $80).

Packet Pick Up
This was very interesting.  I will preface this section with the fact that it was not RAM Racing's fault but there was a very screwy swag situation.  

I decided to grab our packets on Saturday while running errands.  I walked in the store, picked up my size small sweatpants and John's size large and was out in 5 minutes.  I already saw on the Facebook feed that sizes were running huge but I stuck with the sizes because 1) It was unisex so I needed to take my chances with a small and 2) John needed the length more than the appropriate waist size.

Once I got home, I was happy to find that my sweatpants fit perfectly.  


But I could NOT say the same for John's.  Take a look at exhibit A.

Don't notice anything?  Yea, that's because the large was identical to the small even though the tags on the waistband were clearly marked with their sizes.  As mentioned earlier, we needed a large for John because he is 6'4" and needed the length so this was obviously an issue.  Can you imagine him trying to wear something my length?!

I knew there was a chance that I would get my head chopped off but I decided to call the RAM store to ask about the mix up.  Folks have already voiced their disappointment with the sizing so I wanted to see if the sizing was just that screwed up or if I really received a defective pair of pants.  The gentleman who picked up the phone was very stressed and I could tell that he was receiving tons of inquiries from racers.  I tried to calmly explain that I was not requesting a size exchange but to see if the pants were just actually defective.  We finally came to an understanding and he assured me that the large should be two inches longer than the small.  He then encouraged me to come back for the correct pair of pants.

I came back and sure enough, the pants were defective and they happily provided me a new pair of pants, which they allowed me to open in the store just to make sure they, too, were not defective.  

Race Day
Bucktown/Wicker Park is an area ridden with permit parking and the bus we would have taken was being rerouted due to the race so we decided to take our chances by driving and snagging a metered parking space.  It was definitely as hard as it sounds.  The race start was located on the Ashland side of Wabansia but we didn't get there early enough to grab a spot by the start.  We did okay and ended up parking right by the six point intersection, giving us a 5 block walk to the start line.  

We got there with 15 minutes to go but we still had to drop off a bag at gear check.  I knew the tent was on the elementary grounds but I still wasn't sure where that was.  After all was said and done, we found ourselves in Corral F with three minutes to spare and crossed the start line about ten minutes later.

The Race
The weather was quite beautiful - 55 degrees and sunny.  Once in the corral, I knew that I was overdressed but convinced myself to run through it.  We ran down residential streets and saw some beautiful buildings.  I had a Ravenswood 5K deja vu moment and was reminded of how much history Chicago has. 

Shortly after the aid station, where John decided to take off, I used my walk break to take off my outer layer. I realized that my efforts were futile and began running again.  I misread the ending and never got a good sprint in as the finish is right after a 90 degree turn.

RAM had an awesome finisher's chute, divided into a Gatorade section, water section and snack bag pick up.  We made it onto the playground of the elementary school and chilled out for a little bit.

And that was about it.  After just 15 minutes of conversation, we noticed that most of the racers were gone and that the organizers were breaking down the aid tables.  A perk of the race was the neighborhood "sampler": a chance to visit different restaurants and businesses in the area that offered a discount when you showed your bib.  The downside is that everyone just left after the race.  It gave me a blah feeling as we walked back to our car and called it a day.

Final Thoughts
If you haven't run this race, I would definitely encourage you to do so.  I think it's something that would be great to do with friends and family and would introduce you to a beautiful (and tasty) side of town.  This race is on my radar and I would run it again.

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