This past weekend, I ran the first annual Beat the Bird 5k in my hometown of Oak Brook, Illinois. The race was hosted by Endure It! and raised money for The Chicago Hope Academy. My mom had signed me up for the race. Before I moved to New York, 5k’s had become a tradition for her and me. It was different than a marathon – short but still challenging. The distance has forced me to pick up the pace.
The race took place in one of my favorite Oak Brook spots: the Fullersburg Woods. If you’ve never been to Oak Brook, it’s essentially a stunning trail run that goes along some historical spots within the area.
The night before, I had a dream that I was running the Beat the Bird 5k effortlessly, but the race IRL didn’t turn out quite the same.
In this particular race, the runners estimate their finishing time and win prizes if they nail it. I anticipated coming through the gate at around 22 minutes. When the gun went off, I was still a little stiff from the early morning wake-up call. I also had a significant amount of hubris due to the aforementioned dream I had.
In my mind, I had a 22-minute finish and first place in the bag. I flew out of the starting line, and by mile 2, I was debating a nice little puke session off the side of the road. This particular race did not indicate miles or times, so I went a little too hard in the paint early. There was only one water station and I hadn’t drunk water before the race, so I got veeery thirsty.
That’s not to say any of this was the race’s fault. I’ve always been a low maintenance starter, and usually, it works for me. This Thanksgiving, it turned around and betrayed me. Et tu, 5k?
I ended up finishing 23:38 and 9th place in the female category. Not exactly a win, but I’ll take it. This was my first 5k in about 5 months.
Looking forward, I’ve made a SMART goal for Spring. I’m hoping to shave my 5k time down to 22 minutes by March. Speed has proven quite a challenge to me in recent months, but it’s a fun challenge. Now, for the hard part…finding the next race.