Race to Wrigley

If you know anything about me, you know I love the Cubs.  I can remember getting my first Ryne Sandberg baseball card and teaching my youngest brother how to say Sammy Sosa as some of his first words.   I’ve been to countless Cubs’ games and attended the Cubs’ Convention.  And even though I’ve lived in Florida for nearly fifteen years, I still make it a point to pilgrimage to Wrigley Field almost every year.

This year’s pilgrimage was not the usual kind.  There would be no baseball game this day.  Instead, I headed to Chicago for a whirlwind weekend of running.

Cubs’ Charities has been putting on the Race to Wrigley for the last nine years.  This year, for the 10th anniversary, they were expanding the race to include a 10K in addition to 5K.  So when I found an airline ticket for less than two hundred dollars, it seemed that I just had to do this race.

I don’t mind running races alone, but my sister-in-law had done this race before, and I roped both her and my mom into participating in the 10K.

Race weekend arrived with me flying into O’Hare after work on Friday.  I took the Blue Line into the Loop.  From there it was one block to the hotel.  Seemed easy enough, but when I emerged from the train station it was raining, my Google Maps wouldn’t load, and I got a little turned around.  So I hailed a cab and told him I wanted to go to the Allegro Hotel.  He turned, looked at me and said, “Really?”  I played it off that it was the rain that made me hail the cab, not that I was turned around and a little creeped out.   So I took my one block cab ride and headed up to meet my mom and sister-in-law.  It was late and both were already settled into bed.  I did the same excited to see Wrigley the next morning.

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The race began at 8, but I started my day at 6.  I ate my obligatory banana, got dressed, and by 7 we were hailing a cab to take us to Wrigley.  As we left the hotel, the weather did not look promising.  It was a chilly 42 degrees and trying to rain.

We arrived at Wrigley a little early and passed the time hanging in Starbucks, taking a few pictures in front of the iconic statues and marquee, and looking in the shops.

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By the start of the race the threat of rain had turned to a steady drizzle.  The National Anthem played and we were off.  I was happy to start running because it helped chase away some of the chill.   The 10K route snaked us through the Wrigleyville neighborhoods.  We did the 5K loop essentially twice.  The race was well supported with a few water stations and encouraging volunteers.  Unfortunately due to the construction at the park, we were not able to run through the concourse like past years which disappointing.

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Overall, I wasn’t the biggest fan of this race.  Yes, I was glad to be able to run around the Wrigley area, and I really enjoyed my beer at the Cubby Bear afterwards, but I found the whole race experience to be somewhat disappointing.  My biggest gripe is the amount of time the course was open for the 10K.  It was only open for an hour and fifteen minutes.  Every race I’ve ever done allows an hour and thirty minutes for a 10k.  I had to really push myself to finish in an hour and seventeen minutes.  By the time I crossed, they were already breaking down the finish line.  I had run my fastest time, and I didn’t even get to enjoy my finish.  I hope if they continue to offer a 10K they will change that time.  A finisher medal wouldn’t hurt either.  Despite that disappointment, I was happy to spend the time with my mom and sister-in-law and see my beloved stadium even if it was only from the street

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