When I found out there was a 5km event as part of the marathon weekend, we decided we might as well give that one a go as well right? It’d be rude not too really. Post up, run 3 miles, back in time for breakfast. Unfortunately I’d forgotten that (relatively) short distance running hurts. A lot.
Instead of trying to fight jet-lag, we’re kind of staying on UK time which means getting up really early and being tucked up in bed whilst the cool kids party the night away. They really don’t know what they’re missing. So we were up at 5:30am for a 7:30 start.
I wanted to give it a good crack so did a proper warm-up on the hotel treadmill before we left. Two reasons for this; one – the start area was going to be crazy busy with over 5,000 people running. Two – there was a rather large thunderstorm currently taking place outside.
With us Brits used to a bit of rain, we strolled down to the start in a vest and short shorts, undeterred by the small rivers forming on the pavements. When we arrived the event was under a ‘red alert’, meaning everyone had been sent scattering for cover with the threat of being fried by a lightning bolt a very real one.
After a short delay to the start (you wouldn’t get that at home either – it’s a bit of bloody rain; get on with it!), we were lining up ready to rock. Katie had placed herself further back in the field, planning to just stretch the legs before the big day tomorrow. Muggins here however, with a complete lack of any kind of speedwork under his belt, was on the front line and ready to race.
After a rousing rendition of the American anthem (Katie informed me that she didn’t put her hand on her heart this time), we were counted down and set loose on the streets of Chicago. Cue the standard madness as everyone charged off at a completely unsustainable pace (me included), before realising they weren’t in fact Mo Farah and slowed down immensely.
I won’t go until loads of detail around the race; it was a pretty underwhelming showing from me. I certainly can’t fault the effort I put in, and I did manage to pick runners off one by one in the latter stages, but 17:57 is definitely not my finest performance. Turns out not training for a 5km doesn’t mean you’re then able to run a fast 5km – who’d have thought it? That somehow placed me 21st of over 5,500 runners. Clearly everyone saving their legs for the marathon.
Katie glided over the line a few minutes later, and we laid claim to a medal, a pair of dorky hats, and I swagged as many free cereal bars as I could get my hands on. Things are expensive out here, and a mans gotta eat. This is where the hotels buffet breakfast also came into it’s own.
The rest of the day was spent ambling around the city before getting our feet up and resting ahead of tomorrows main event. Having had a front row view of Katie’s training, I’m both proud and in awe of how she’s conducted herself over the past few months. I think I’m more nervous than she is, because she deserves to have an amazing run but we know all too well that the marathon is a funny event, and it doesn’t always go to script.
If people would like to track, you can download the official app and just search her name (Katie Lysons), and live results will also be available on the website. Alternatively, I’ll be spamming instagram all day with updates, so look me up on there if you want to follow! See you on the other side.