RECAP: Warm Your Heart Indoor 5K 2013

Another repeat race, another time slashing performance (although not a PR). I ran this race last year (Inaugural Warm Your Heart 5K, last February) and registered for this year almost immediately afterwards because it was a special $30 deal — I know, doesn’t seem so cheap now.

I must say they made some big improvements to the Warm Your Heart Indoor 5K (and on facebook here) course this year. The race is run entirely indoors within a couple of exhibition halls at McCormick Place. Last year we ran through both giant halls in the newer building (same halls where the Auto Show is held). This year, they changed the course to start in the Lakeside building (the black one closer to Lake Michigan) where we lined up (it was freeeeezing in there!) and ran just under 1 mile before heading out and over the pedestrian bridge into the newer building. That was a cool change, minus the pretty steep uphill incline. Since I’m out of shape as of late I walked up that “hill” so I didn’t kill myself too early in the race. The course through Exhibit Hall A was pretty similar to last year. There may have been one or two less lanes, plus they seemed wider and a bit longer than in 2012, so the turns weren’t quite as hairpin. The single water station at the halfway point was very well stocked, and the organizers had some carpets put down to decrease the slipperiness of spilled water on the concrete ground.

Let me backtrack a little bit. Since participants were advised that parking would be $21 (OMG!), my mom volunteered to drop off and pick up my sister and me from the race. Score! She went to a nearby Starbucks for an hour while we raced (aka, we were all winners this morning).

Since packet pickup was on the north side of Lincoln Park one day and the south end of Lincoln Park another day, I decided to take my chances with race day pickup which I’ve never done before. It was a BREEEEZE. I wish race organizers would pick suburban or central downtown packet pickup locations. Not everyone lives / works in or anywhere near Lincoln Park!

WYH 5K swag

Warm Your Heart 5K swag — also please note my odd-numbered bib :)

In any case, the goodie bag was nicer than last year: a two-tone gear bag (not the highest quality, but good enough to use as an emergency bag or to lend to someone else who might need one — my bag from last year broke on the same day I picked it up); a super silky long sleeve orange tech shirt (yes, they run large but at least you can’t see through them!), a handful of Emergen-C fizzy drink mix packets, and a TCW magazine. There were more things in last year’s bag (like a heart attack warning magnet), but I was still impressed with this year’s.

Gear check lines were decent. We waited about ten minutes before the race and again after the race. You were supposed to get in line based on your bib number, but the numbered signs were taped to the front of the tables which were impossible to see once the lines got beyond 10 people. Not too big of a deal, but room for improvement.

The post-race refreshments included large bottled water (YAY!), almost defrosted bananas (half of mine cracked off and fell to the floor while I was waiting at gear check booo!!!), and free samples of: ZICO coconut water (full-size bottle), 8oz bottle of Kefir, and a full-size cookie dough PowerBar. Very very nice spread!!

So I mentioned I am out of shape. Explanation: I almost completely stopped working out and running a bit before Christmas. I needed a break and just wanted to enjoy the holidays. I know this is not the best attitude to have when you are trying to live healthy, but I wanted it and wasn’t strong enough to motivate myself to exercise. Then just as I was ready to start working out again before the new year (because I did not want to be lumped in with all the new year’s resolution folks who cram the gym for a month), I fell and slid a ways down an indoor staircase which caused serious soreness in my left shoulder and knee. By the time I made it back to the gym, this race was less than a week away. And my first (elliptical) workout back I pushed way too hard, had to stop to sit down and almost blacked out (pre-syncope! thank goodness I didn’t go full syncope! I’m really enjoying the word syncope at the moment.).

In my recap of last year’s race, I hoped to be sub-35 minutes this year. So that didn’t happen, but I wasn’t expecting it, really. My main goal was to beat last year’s time of 43:13. I really wanted to beat 40 minutes, and I did. I ran in 38:53. Plenty of room for improvement, but satisfied with my time based on my lack of training lately.

Now it’s on to Winter Training and in about a month, scaling workouts to run the Shamrock Shuffle 8K in under 60 minutes. More on that soon.

So my first race of 2013 is in the books!! Not my greatest performance, but a solid start to a year where I’m limiting races. I started, and I finished, and I’m happy. 🙂  My left knee is really talking to me this post-race afternoon. Hmmmm…. anyone know any good exercises for your knees? That sounds like a really odd question, but maybe someone has an answer.

Has anyone else run any races yet, this year? I mean I know 2013 is only six days old, so maybe you have one coming up later this month? If so, I send you good vibes of speed and endurance!

Post soundtrack: 97.1FM — Sundays are really one of the best days to listen to this station.

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