5k Review: Race to Wrigley

I am a baseball fan, and even though I live in Wisconsin, I am an Illinois sports fan. This is perhaps an extension of being raised in a home in which the Dad insisted that we love the Bears and the Cubs and marrying a man who feels the same, but as a free-thinking woman, I happen to love the underdogs, and Chicago* teams are not exactly known for being big winners. This doesn’t bother me. Winning isn’t important to me when it comes to sports. I like all of the things that make baseball the American pastime that it is: the camaraderie of the fans, the ambiance of a classic field, the beer and the hot dogs and the peanuts, the 7th Inning Stretches, the roots for the home team. It’s a good thing all of this appeals to me– baseball is really important to my family: my brother is kind of a big deal in Wisconsin for High School Baseball– he’s having record-breaking week, as a matter of fact. However, even if it weren’t a mandate that I love baseball in my family, I would still love baseball.


All that to say: when I started running and looked around for 5ks in my area, the Race to Wrigley was kind of a “Must Do!” I mean, how cool?! You run around Wrigleyville and end back at the field– you even run through the lower concourse on the way to the finish line. If that’s not a motivator to run to the very end, I don’t know what is!


I didn’t sign up right away. The race was scheduled for May 11th, and I knew that we would be heading to Hawaii sometime between the end of April and through the month of May. I didn’t know how long we’d be there, and most importantly, I didn’t know our dates. Jonah had his dates for Hawaii in the middle of April: it would be the first two weeks of May. So that ruled out the Race to Wrigley.

Well, we had different circumstances surrounding my trip to Hawaii this time. We didn’t know where we’d be staying, and Skip is old enough now that we’d need to purchase his own plane ticket to bring him with, and so it wasn’t even decided how long I’d be going out to Hawaii until it was about a week before I left. I didn’t want to leave Skip for the entire two weeks Jonah would be out there, so I can back on the 6th. I didn’t even think anymore about the Race to Wrigley, because I had already crossed it off my list of races to do this year.


Thursday rolls around and my cousin gave me a call– someone they were supposed to run the race with wasn’t able to make it now and did I want to take her place? Uh, yeah!


So Saturday morning, at the ungodly hour of 5:49 am and all geared up in cold-weather running clothes (it was only in the 50’s. Boo.), I found myself on the train headed down to Chitown. Woo!

Race to Wrigley


We were doing the “Fun Run” group for the race, not the timed group. This was more than fine with me– I had spent the preceding four days in a foggy, jet-lagged stupor, so the fact that I wasn’t being timed appealed to me. I didn’t want to worry about timing, I just wanted to worry about running the whole thing.

I hadn’t run since the following Sunday– in Hawaii– and I wasn’t trying to push myself to do anything more than enjoy the race.


I succeeded at doing just that!


Race to Wrigley 5k

You start the race right out front of Wrigley Field– which is a cool place to be just about any day of the week. The course ran a couple blocks West, then a couple blocks North, then headed East back to Wrigley. The Lakeview/Wrigleyville neighborhood is really pretty– lots of that windy city charm. For most of the race, I found myself comparing the houses– playing a game I used to play in the car as a kid to pass the time: I’d compare the houses on the street and say “yes” or “no” to whether or not I’d live there.


A short way from the Water Station, I slowed to a fast walk. I hadn’t had enough water that morning, and I was cramping a bit. I did what Jonah taught me– continued breathing deep and lifted my arms up. I grabbed some water, sipped at it, and kept walking until the cramp subsided. I probably walked for 2/10ths of a mile, maybe. Not too long. It hurt a bit when I started running again, but when I saw the 2-Mile marker, I couldn’t let myself stop. Just over a mile to go? I could do that.


Right where I decided to start running again, there were trees with little white petals snowing off of them. It was picturesque! I felt like I was running through a movie set.


I got super tired in the middle of Mile 2. I overheard a man behind me telling his kids, “You see that building with the flags on the top? Once we get there, Wrigley is just a block away.”

I give myself mini-goals whenever I’m setting about to accomplish pretty much anything, so I determined that I was at least going to make it to that building, then maybe walk until I could see the field.

Well, I got to that building and couldn’t stop: because I could already see the field. Once you got to the field, you ran the last leg through the lower concourse. Running on the old stone floor of Wrigley Field is so cool. It was a short portion to run through, but still: cool. The finish line was just outside where you exit the building. I felt GREAT.


My last race in Chicago was the Warm Your Heart Indoor 5k, and I felt like garbage after that run. After this run, I felt awesome. I felt like I had challenged myself just enough, and the best part? I happened to look at my time on my Nike app: 36:10. I’m pretty sure that’s my best time yet. My other runs have been around 38 minutes.


I know that’s not exactly “fast,” but hey, whatever. I’ve never really focused on timing; I’m more concerned with mileage and running more than I walk. In my mind and by my standards, I’m winning.


One of my favorite things about running this course was the neighborhood people who sat on their front stoops and cheered us along– the ones shouting “great job, runners!” and the kids who came down and held out their hands for high-fives– it was awesome.


The Verdict: I could’ve done without the waking up before 5am and the chilly weather, but the good outweighed the bad for this race, as it usually does. Chicago is such a fun city, and I loved getting to run around– and through– one of the best, most classic ballparks. I hope to do it again next year!


{Special thanks/shout-out to Ashley, Traci, Toni, and Christiaan for a great time!}


Next Up: Color Run – May 25th. This coming Saturday!

*It should be mentioned that even though we are “Chicago Teams” fans, we are not White Sox fans. As Judy Miller so aptly put it on an old episode of Still Standing: “The White Sox are NOT from our town!”

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