Halloween Hustle 5K Recap

That’s right folks…one Halloween themed race is and never will be enough!  Besides, after my disappointing experience at the Monster Dash and thinking about my upcoming races, I wanted to try my hardest for a shiny new 5K PR before the end of the year.  I have only one or two more timed 5K’s on my race calendar before the end of the year, one being the Hot Chocolate 5K this weekend and possibly a local Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day.  The Hot Chocolate is not a good race for PR’s since it is so crowded (last year I ended up spending the first mile running on a sidewalk to get around the crowds) and the local Turkey Trot I’m planning to do is a little “short”.  Since the Halloween Hustle was a CARA circuit race, I knew it wouldn’t turn into a costume parade and would be a good opportunity to push myself for a PR.  Plus, a few of my run club friends would be running so I was guaranteed to have a good time no matter what!

After some hemming and hawing, I finally decided to sign up for the race at the eleventh hour, just barely making it before the online registration window closed Friday afternoon.  Knowing I wouldn’t have time to buy or make a new costume, I pulled out the pumpkin suit again and headed across the street for my block “book club” meeting.  Not wanting to be late for book club, I opted to skip my usual pre-race dinner of Noodles & Company Wisconsin Mac & Cheese, thinking I would find something to munch on there, or worst case, I would find something when I got home.  Oops!  I got caught up in good conversation with my neighbors and didn’t munch on a single thing!  I then lost track of time and before I knew it, it was after 9:30pm.  I knew I had to get up early the next morning so I said my goodbyes, went home, ate a Rice Krispie treat and went to bed.

I was surprised when I woke up the next morning at 5:30am and didn’t have my usual pre-race stomach.  Maybe this skipping dinner thing was a better idea than I thought?  Having laid out my gear the night before, I was ready to go with plenty of time left, so I took my time packing my bag and headed out the door.  I met my run club friends at our usual car pool meet-up spot and we began our trek to Palatine, a roughly 45 minute ride from Oak Park.  We were able to find the race location easily and I was pleased that we were able to park in the parking garage for free.  Packet pick-up was located on the lower level of the parking garage, which was also nice, since it was a bit chilly and the wind seemed to go right though me.  They also offered race day registration, which appeared to be super fast and painless.  Our goodie bag consisted of a nice long sleeve tech tee (unisex), a reusable shopping bag and a few flyers including one for their upcoming Santa Hustle (so sad I won’t be in town for that one this year).


About 10 minutes before start time, we walked to the start line which was conveniently located only a block away from the garage.  The race started on time and before I knew it I was on my way to a potential PR.  I planned to keep the pace around 9:15 or 9:30/per mile and was surprised when my Garmin beeped at mile 1 with an 8:48 mile and I still felt good.  Somewhere around mile 1.5 I started to get a stitch in my side and could feel my breathing being thrown off as I attempted to struggle through it.  That darn stitch stuck with me for the rest of race and I pretty much hated life until I saw the 3 mile marker, but I’m happy to say that I didn’t give up and let Negative Nancy take over.  Thank goodness for my run buddies Jessica and Julie…they really helped me keep focused and pushed me to keep going when I really wanted to dial back the effort, or lets be honest, grind to a screeching halt.  We turned the corner into the final stretch and I dug deep for any remaining energy to sprint it in.

I crossed the finish line feeling elated that I had set a new PR, but the awful “I just raced a 5K and feel like I’m going to get sick” feeling that arrived shortly thereafter wouldn’t allow me to celebrate for too long.  After I finally got myself back together, I looked at my Garmin and realized that not only had a I set a new PR, I had finally blown my old high school cross country time out of the water!!!  Here are my stats:

Halloween Hustle

Overall, I thought this race was great and I will definitely be back next year.  It was well organized, reasonably priced and fun.  Here is a quick review:


  • Cost – $33.28 (day before the race) with a $5 CARA discount. – Great value!
  • Online, fax, mail or in person day of. – Super convenient!

Packet Pick-Up:

  • Several opportunities for those who are local.  Luckily, for those of us who don’t live so close, they also offered race day packet pick-up.
  • Race day packet pick-up was fast and well organized by last name.


  • Reusable shopping bag doubled as our goodie bag.  Participants also received a nice long sleeve tech tee (unisex).
  • Free parking.  – Always a plus!
  • Gear check was scary at first (they used giant boxes), but they found my friends vest very quickly and without issue.

The Course:

  • Flat and fast looped course.  Pavement was well maintained.  A lot of turns though.
  • For a course entirely within residential streets, there was surprisingly VERY little spectator support.
  • Not one, but TWO aid stations offering water and Gatorade. – Probably a little overkill for a 5K in the fall, but appreciated nonetheless.
  • Start and finish lines conveniently located within a block of the parking garage.
  • Finish line had bottled water, Kind Bars, bananas and soft pretzels.

The Field:

  • Definitely a smaller race for a CARA circuit race.  According to the official results, there were only 911 finishers.
  • Lots of speedy runners and lots of great costumes!

Until next time, happy running and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!  Candy Security is on duty tonight in Oak Park.  Zoe says “No costumes, no candy!”  🙂



A great weekend…and a PR too!

What an AWESOME weekend it has been!  It has been full of so many good and fun things.  As you know, we helped welcome two new family members on Friday night – Ester and Benzo…two of the cutest and sweetest kittens I’ve ever met.  Here is a photo of them (Benzo on the left, Ester on the right):

ImageSaturday I was able to sleep in a little bit (after getting up to take the dog out a 4am, then going back to bed), but had plenty of time to squeeze in a quick run before getting ready to head out with the family for the matinee showing of The Book of Mormon and a delicious dinner at Vivere afterward.  Both were fabulous!  Then it was back to my in-law’s house for more kitten play time (I might just “accidentally” 😉 take one home with me one of these days)!  The run was a slow two miler since I wanted to save my legs for today’s race and that nagging leg pain hasn’t really gotten any better.  Here are the stats for Saturday’s run:


I woke up at about 4am today with my usual “race stomach”.  It’s funny, I have run what feels like a million races in the last two years, but I still get the butterflies the morning of a race.  The weather was great when I took the dog out at about 5:30am.  The sun was shining and it was relatively warm, probably in the mid 60’s.  As I left the house and began my drive to the United Run for the Zoo at Lincoln Park Zoo, I watched the clouds begin to roll in.  By the time I parked my car it was completely overcast, but the weather report (and radar map) indicated that no rain was expected.  I sat in the car for a few minutes then decided to make my way to gear check, where I was meeting a friend from run club, who so kindly offered to pace me for this race.  As soon as I left my car it started to sprinkle and the temperature had dropped by what seemed like 10 degrees.  Luckily, gear check was right next to the big cat house so we decided to head inside for a few minutes before the race.  Good thing we did…it started to rain harder shortly after we went inside!  After a few minutes, we walked over to the start line in a misty drizzle and soon the race set off. 

The drizzle kept up the entire race, but it wasn’t too bad.  One of the hills was a little slippery going up, but was still manageable.  I felt really good the first mile and started to fade a bit in mile two.  By mile three the elephant was sitting on my chest (no pun intended) and my legs felt like tree trunks.  Thank goodness Erin was with me, I’m sure I would have given up and slowed down more for mile three without her encouragement.  It’s amazing what a little encouragement can do – thanks to Erin’s help, I’m proud to report that I have a new 5K PR…28:50!!!  Here are my stats for the race:

ImageThanks again for your help Erin! 

Finally, the #RWRUNSTREAK update:

Miles to Date: 15.1

Consecutive Days:  7

Miles to Goal:  114.9

Days Remaining:  32

A Sub-30 5K!!!

I did it!  I ran a sub-30 5K!  Today, at the Pink 5K I ran a 29:06 – a whole minute faster than my last 5K!  I’m particularly pleased with this time because the course was much hillier than what I’m used to.  For example, on a typical training run in Oak Park, I will gain only 9 to 15 feet, but today, I gained 50 feet!  What an amazing feeling it is to finally achieve this goal.  PR’s are fantastic all the way around, but shaving a whole minute off of my current PR is the icing on the cake.  I know it’s way too early to be seeing results from the speed work, so I am very excited about what future 5K’s hold for me.  Now that I have finally achieved a sub-30 time, my new goal is to run a sub-25 5K.  I know this is going to be difficult and could take some time, but I also know that with determination and proper training, I can do it!

Race Recap

The Pink 5K is put on by the Oak Brook Park District, and is in it’s third year.  $5 of the $20 entry fee is donated to help fight breast cancer.  According to the OB Park District, this year, the beneficiary was “Open Arms-Hinsdale Hospital Foundation’s Breast Cancer Outreach Fund.  The foundation will utilize the donation it receives from The Pink 5K for their 40-40-40 program in October which will provide 40 free mammograms for 40 women over 40 years of age“. 

The race has grown by leaps and bounds since it’s inaugural race three years ago.  Last year, I ran the race (in the pouring rain) and there were 436 individual finishers.  This year, there were 944 individual finishers!  Clearly, this is a newer and smaller race than most in the area, but it is well organized and the course is challenging for those of us who aren’t used to hills.  I thoroughly enjoy this race (rain or shine), it is one of my favorites based on the cause, course, and great organization.  I highly recommend this race to all of my Chicago area running friends.

My Race Stats 

Overall Place:  201 of 944

Female Age Group Place:  13 of 77