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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Elmhurst 4 on the 4th review

Yeah, so I’ve been slackery about posting my review of the Elmhurst 4 on the 4th race, so I guess now’s the time! Plus, I have the Burgers ‘n’ Beer 5K coming up next Monday and I don’t want to get too, too behind.

Although I have known about this race for years, I’ve never done it before.  I guess in my mind Elmhurst was way far away – like Hoffman Estates or Batavia or something – but in reality it only took about 25 minutes to get there (granted there was zero traffic at 5:40 in the morning on a national holiday). I signed up for this race because a friend was doing it and offered to give me a ride. So here’s the deets:

Sign-up: Cheap! Hooray! I’m a CARA member so this race was only $20 + a small handling fee. Even at the undiscounted $25 cost it’s still a bargain. There was online sign-up so it was easy-peasy.

Getting there: As I mentioned, easy and closer than I originally thought. The race started right near a local college so there was plenty of parking – another bonus.

Packet pick-up: I work in the suburbs so I originally thought I could do a good turn and pick up the packets but then I looked at the directions from Wheeling to Elmhurst and decided that race-day packet pick-up would be just fine.  Since we were there early it was no problem.

Swag: A nice tech-t for the race ,plus I think some sort of energy bar in the bag, plus race fliers from races I actually hadn’t heard about. This is kind of a good thing because I maintain an e-mail list for my local running group that lists races in the greater Chicagoland area and I’m always looking for new ones to add.

Bathroom situation: Lots of porta-potties and the lines moved quickly.

Course: It’s a 4-mile race, so automatic PR! It was cool but kind of humid that morning and I knew there would be a few ‘hills’. We had to go under a train underpass twice (it’s mostly an out and back course with a couple of small deviations) and cruelly, the last ~.2 miles were a slight uphill, making (for me) a most unspectacular finish unless you count the fact that my face had turned entirely red and looked like I was going to burst. There was almost no crowding and people mostly lined up correctly for their pace.  The course was all streets so they were wide enough to pass people as needed.  One water station that could be hit coming or going (does that technically mean it’s 2 water stops?) and plenty of volunteers to make sure that people stayed on course.

Post race: It was really nice that they had three computers out near the finish line where you could put in your bib # and get a small printout of your time, pace, and the stats for your age group/gender, etc. The post-race food was pretty spectacular – almost worth it just for this.  Obviously you get the bottle of water handed to you when you finish and they had bottles of Gatorade, bagels and bananas too, but they also had a race sponsor handing out sno-cones, not one but TWO different and delicious cookies from local bakeries (HUGE chocolate chip cookies and red/white/blue frosted star-shaped sugar cookies). I think they were also handing out samples of a couple of different sports products (drinks/bars). I was most impressed that people weren’t being piggy about the food.  It always irritates me when I see people carting away 8 bananas, a box of bars, and a bag of bagels – c’mon! It’s not a grocery run and please leave some for the slower folks!

What I wore: Saucony Kinvava 4’s, Balaga socks, Team Sparkle blue w/white stars calf sleeves, my navy blue Oiselle Bum Wrap skort, a royal blue Nike Pro Compression sport bra, and a red Lululemon tank that has a split back – I looked to see what it’s called but they don’t seem to be selling it right now which is really stupid because I have two of them and I ALWAYS get compliments when I wear them. Obviously I went with a patriotic red, white & blue theme. My husband – who prefers a more minimalist running attire (and cotton t-shirts for running which I cannot even fathom) commented that, “there’s a lot going on,” with my outfit and I told him to can it because I was dressing for a theme. Men, they just don’t get it.

I’d absolutely do this race again – even if I did it by myself.

Back next week with the Burgers ‘n’ Beer review and maybe a local trail review.

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