To continue with my weekend theme of Northwestern University races I also did the 2nd annual 4.1-mile Run for Walk on Sunday. This race is in memory of Northwestern Football Coach Randy Walker who passed away unexpectedly in 2006 and benefits the Evanston Animal Shelter where Walker and his family adopted a dog and where I volunteered for over 15 years.
Packet Pick-up: Very easy if you live or work in the north suburbs. I picked up my packets at a running store in Wilmette but they also had locations at a couple of other locations and race-day pick-up was also available.
Shirt/Goody bag: A nice purple short-sleeved tech-t and a ton of goodies: a stress ball, a tennis ball, a mini-flashlight, a packet of sunscreen, mints, a lip balm, an Northwestern pencil, Northwestern mini-tattoos and a bunch of flyers and coupons for local businesses. This is how I remember all goody bags used to be and often still are for smaller local races. With your race entry you also got a free ticket for a non-conference football game and I hope that I’ll be around on September 21st to watch the Wildcats crush the Maine Black Bears.
Getting there: I carpooled with my husband, our out of town guest and another friend. Since the race starts and ends by the football stadium (sorry, I still can’t bring myself to call it Ryan Field – it will always be Dyche Stadium to me) there is a ton of parking nearby. The L’s Purple Line and the Metra are also reasonably close by for those needing public transportation.
Start area: It was unseasonably cool on race morning so I was happy to see that they had Welsh-Ryan arena (where the basketball team plays and right next to the football stadium) open so that people could wait in the concourse. They also opened up the arena bathrooms so there were plenty of flush toilets and sinks for all – a very nice touch.
The course: Same as last year, but a really nice change from all the races on the Lakefront Path in the city. We ran south from the stadium and then east on Lincoln – a wide, tree-lined street with pretty houses – to the campus where we headed south on Northwestern’s lakefront path. We looped back (luckily there was only a short distance where there was 2-way traffic) and retraced our steps back to the stadium where we finished by running onto the field on the 50-yard line.
What I wore: A black Oiselle Bum-Wrap Skort, a grey long-sleeved Saucony shirt that was a mileage award for Fleet Feet’s Chicks Night runs, new 2XU compression socks (these are tester models for their new lighter-weight socks and whereas I usually hate the sock part of compression socks these were pretty awesome – excellent cushioning around the foot and the sock part wasn’t tight. The compression was great – medical grade and very supportive), an old Reebok sports bra (that chafed and went right into the trash at home), and my new Mizuno Wave Sayonaras (love, love, LOVE those shoes!). Not particularly showing my school spirit, but it was too chilly to wear the purple tank I had planned on wearing and I hate wearing a race shirt to the race so I just opted for what was on top of the pile of long sleeved running shirts.
Post-Race: The usual – bananas, bagels, water – plus a Vitamin/Mineral Water tent, Maxwell House iced coffee, and AMAZING freebies – stainless steel travel mugs and coffee scoops from Gevalia coffee.
Amusing extras: I was running with 2 friends and we were just planning on jogging this race but we wound up running a little faster than planned. We kept picking people to pass – the guy with the rattling sports belt, the heavy breather, the woman with the wandering dog on a waist leash - until finally we were in the home stretch. We passed a woman who then sprinted past us….and then slowed down. So we passed her again. And then she passed us again….and then slowed down. This drives me bat-shit crazy. So I looked at my friends and said we should crush her soul. Since we hadn’t been running at true race pace we all had enough left in the tank to speed up enough and muscle past her and stay in front of her to the finish line. I know – juvenile - but when you run 9:00 miles you take the little victories.