Saturday night, Alex and I embarked on quite the adventure to run the AMITA Fitness for America Half Marathon, 10k, and 5k out at Hoffman Estates (a suburb to the Northwest). Get all the details in this review and recap!
This post is sponsored by All Community Events, who also provided entries for Alex and myself. All opinions are, as ever, my own!
Lead Up to AMITA Fitness for America Half Marathon/10k/5k
As I mentioned several times in the weeks coming up to the race, this was Alex’s first race ever and my first race since the Chicago Marathon last year and recovering from breaking my back. The plan was for me to run the half marathon and for Alex to run the 10k. When I signed up for the race, I was excited about the possibility of checking off more than one of my Summer Fitness Goals, but soon, I started to feel a bit of trepidation.
In the weeks leading up to the race, I had been experiencing some issues with my Sacro-Iliac Joint that were worrying me on and off, my legs felt like lead, and then, the week of, the Midwest (and indeed, the country) was pounded with dangerous heat and humidity that made me question how well the race was going to go. This race, unlike the majority of summer races, is held at 5:30 in the evening and followed by the Glo Run (a night run where you wear all the glo sticks and such :D).
As we got closer, and none of the problems abated, I decided to take my own advice about running in hot weather and adjusted my goals, my pace, hydration, etc and helped Alex do the same in order for us to stay safe. I made sure to discuss training and race day strategy with Alex, who is a newbie to racing. I didn’t want to kill my husband the first time out! Maybe the second… (which will be the BTN 10k August 6th WIN THE CHANCE TO RUN WITH US!)
The day of the race, we were confronted with a new problem: a crazy front of storms that were due to rock the Midwest. With the race starting at 5:30 PM, we were basically sitting ducks! We were running major risk of the event being cancelled due to heat OR storms! So, what happened? First, a bit about the race.
AMITA Fitness for America Half Marathon, 10k, 5k Race Review
The AMITA Fitness for America Half Marathon, 10k, 5k at Hoffman Estates is part of an entire weekend of events, including the Glo Run (a night 5k following the half/10k/and 5k) and the Inline Skating Marathon, Half Marathon, and 7k (America’s second largest inline marathon!) in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. The schedule is a great collection of races and events, kicking off with a kids’ run (about 200-300 m) at 5:20 PM, the half marathon and 10k start at 5:30 PM, and the 5k at begins at 6 PM. The 5k run/walk is the official fundraiser for Team Run for HD (which benefits Huntington Disease research).
AMITA Fitness For America Half Marathon, 10K, 5K Courses
The courses are chip-timed and USATF certified for all distances and there are cash prizes for the Half Marathon paid to the top 3 finishers in all age groups as well as top 1-5 overall. Age group awards are given to the top 3 participants in the 5k and 10k.
A total departure from the city races that are so typical of Chicago, the AMITA Fitness for America Sports Festival takes place in the North Hoffman Estates, Paul Douglas Forest Preserve and scenic AT&T complex on both roads and paved trails. This is a course of meandering out and backs, and the half and 10k start together and are due to run the first 5 miles together before the half splits off and goes out into the forest preserve (part of Cook County Forest Preserves) for two out and backs. There are even elevation changes, though not more than 200m change. If you look at the map above, the 5k and 10k take place in the bottom left hand.
Water/aid stations (Gatorade and water) are located throughout the course, and due to the out and back nature of the course, there is opportunity to use the portapotties (which were plentiful at the central gathering area!) a few times. (though, while running, I didn’t see any other portapotties, something that I think the race directors could improve on).
Last minute, due to the storms and a delayed start, the forest preserve was shut by the park service and the half marathon had to be rerouted. There were volunteers located to make sure that people got to the right routes. To accommodate the course changes, we basically did an out and back along the interstate and then came back and created flower petals of sorts around the start/finish (which didn’t change)
Pre/Post Race Party
We arrived for packet pick up to quite the party!
There was a cover band, tables of fresh fruit, granola bars, water, and fun beverages, and there was a cookout tent set up for later. Bib pickup was easy and well marked. Unfortunately, weather meant that the band stand had to be pulled down, but until then, I thought they were a great choice.
Love the tshirt, love the finishing medals!
After the race, there were freezey pops (which I was unable to open and then exploded all over myself, lol). Due to the nature of delayed start, the Glo Run was getting ready to start, and with the threat of more rain and Alex and I being STARVING, we jetted. I am sure that the race organizers got the awards to the right people!
Handling the Variable Weather Conditions
The race was delayed 3 times: first from 5:30 to 6, then from 6 to 7, then from 7-7:15 (which became about 7:30). There was a cell of storms that came through between 6 and 7, and then race organizers rerouted the half course to accommodate the closure of the forest preserve. Finally, all 3 distances were started simultaneously.
I respect what the course organizers did with regards to ensuring personal safety. However, I think that next year, they might go to a color coded warning system (as at many races). We only got one email, the day before the race, talking about the weather advisory and the preparations they were making with regards to the heat (adding an aid station for the half marathon (that would suffice for 2 because of the out and backs). In the future, I think it would behoove them to send out an email as soon as the weather looked like it was going to be crazy hot and to go to a color coded system for easy reference.
With regards to how the race directors handled the rain and storms, I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I think that the race organizers absolutely did the right thing by delaying the race. I respect that they didn’t want to cancel the race outright (who does want to deal with a canceled race??), and that they especially didn’t want to cancel the half marathon–with its cash payouts–but I have a feeling that the Glo Run (and potentially the half marathon midway) had to be cancelled as not long after we left, the heavens OPENED UP and we had a monsoon.Crazy race conditions at @allcommunityeve AMITA races--what happened? #runchat Click To Tweet
The race directors were in a tough spot, and I think that given the circumstances, they did a good job. We were still able to run at least the 5k and 10k!
AMITA Fitness for America 10k Race Recap
This was quite an experience, as I mentioned before. The conditions of the weeks leading up to the race and the conditions of race day itself interfered with the race, and ultimately, I chose to run the 10k through with Alex rather than running the half.
I am glad that I ran the 10k–not only was I not really feeling the half marathon distance by the time that we started to run, but just doing the 10k allowed me the chance to help Alex push through to the end, and to beat his goals!
Even though the weather cooled off substantially, it was still very humid, and we both sweated balls (yes, even me). After all of the start/stop/standing and delays, by the time that we started, I was getting hungry (it was 7:30), I was stiff, and I was, admittedly, in a bit of a bad mood. We started running, and my legs felt like they had for all of my other runs: not mine. I was pushing it just to keep to a 9:00 pace, which is used to be my easy run pace…
Mile by mile, however, my legs slowly loosened up, and we were able to negative split the entire race. I don’t have our exact splits, but I know due to the paces we were running and picking it up every 2 miles. We started around a 9:00 min/mile pace and finished around 8:20 min/mile.
I was so proud of Alex–he worked hard, he fought the fatigue, he finished strong, and he ran the PERFECT first race. We finished in a little over 54:30, which means that we knocked his goal (of running faster than 9:00 per mile) out of the park!!! We also were 4th in both of our age groups!When wife becomes coach--don't miss the recap of Alex's first race! #runchat #running Click To Tweet
So proud of him. And, even better, he was really proud of himself and is ready to do another! We even have planned that we might make a habit of doing 10ks!
We refueled at IHOP and then made the drive home.
Overall, it was a race that we will never forget, and the experience was worth the wait! Even with all the bumps, I would definitely run this race again–as a 10k! I think that I will leave the half and full marathons to the morning!
Have you ever been caught in a similar situation with the weather? Were you able to run?
Do you prefer city or suburban races?
Linking this race recap and race review up with Rachel, Lora, and Debbie for Running Coaches Corner; Patty, Erika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run; Nicole, Annmarie, Michelle, and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday; and Ilka and Angela for Food and Fitness Sunday.