Monday, May 9, 2016

Bunny Wabbit 5k - late recap

Okay so this is like, a month and a half late. But my feelings were mixed which left me unenthused to write a recap and has been pretty busy so it kept getting pushed off...and pushed off...and well, oops!

But on 3/26/16 I ran the Bunny Wabbit 5k put on by FrogHops in Independence Grove. I have run with them before and had issues with that race but they were my own; last time I had some kind of heat freak out, or possibly just dehydrated. I had initially planned to do my traditional Egg Shell Shuffle in Busse Woods, but construction ousted the race this year and this one looked similar, with a nice egg hunt that the kids would love. (And they did, both of them.) I signed up and not too long after got sick, but also got a message from a friend who was thinking about the race and asked if I recommended it. I did and she signed up. (Which, I would later feel guilty for.)

Husband and kiddos at the egg hunt. Runners were told not to cross the starting line for fear of triggering our chip, so I wasn't there. 
Photo credit: FrogHops. Thanks!

This had initially been planned as a pr race and I did a lot of speedwork...and then I caught plague came down with bronchitis. I ended up way down in mileage and intensity and finally got kicked out of running for 10 days by an urgent care clinic, who also put me on antibiotics and an inhaler. (I thought I had a cold and was tired from the kids. I guess I was so tired I didn't realize it wasn't normal tired.)

In the end, I am super glad I didn't try to PR here - if I had paid attention to the race I ran with them in 2014 I would have realized this isn't a chip timed race but a gun time race. However, there are chips on the bibs and well...I just didn't think about it. You pay for a race with similar pricing to other chip timed races, rather than the cheaper non-chip timed ones, and well...there's a chip on your bib. It wasn't a stretch to think this race was chip timed. So because I had been sick, I started at the back of the pack - and because it was also a 10k and a 15k plus the 5k I was running, it was a fairly big pack. Here's where the guilt came in - my friend Barb did this race because I recommended it, and it was expensive. Her two kids each did the $35 kids race (which did come with a nice medal, but the two different distances didn't her little one ran the race with her older kiddo) and she paid $65 for what she thought was a chip timed 10k. She was really really unhappy.

I ended up doing better than I thought I would; I ran a fairly even but slightly negative split race. I saw Barb at the start (she was running the 10k) and we fell off pretty quick; I was being conservative since I had no idea how my barely recovered lungs were going to function in the cold outdoors (not freezing by any means, but weather in late March in Chicagoland is always unpredictable - this ended up in the low 30s to start and I think 40 by the end of all 3 races). Mile 1 was 9:40 and oddly enough about 1/2 mile in I realized that Barb and I were side by side - there had been people in between us so neither of us noticed. Funny, and we ended up running the next two miles together which was nice since I so rarely get to see her.

Barb and I at the start, me in pink. I joked I needed a picture because I'd never be ahead of her in a race again!
Picture credit - B's husband Shannon

Mile 2 was 9:35 and included us branching out into an out and back to make our mostly-loop a full 5k. The turnaround point came at almost exactly the halfway point of the race, but was very confusingly marked "half marathon" turnaround. I watched a number of runners - including Barb - run right past it before realizing it was US who was supposed to turn around since there was no half. I realize this is probably a budget issue but it was confusing because we weren't even sure that the sign belonged to this race company - it wasn't marked. For all we knew it belonged to another race that ran the day before or something, and since the Easter race I usually run DOES have a half marathon my brain didn't quite catch up. We did see a race photographer here and I was looking forward to seeing a pic of B and I racing together, but somehow in the 500 pics of the race that got posted, neither of us made it in. Oh well.

Shortly into mile 3 my chest got tight. I needed to be done, I had forgotten my inhaler and knew I'd been pushing it for the level of recovery I was at. I told Barb I was going to pull away because if I didn't finish soon I was going to have to walk. She told me to finish strong and I ended up with a 9:23 mile 3 and :38 .1. I forgot to stop my garmin but it said 29:30...doing quick math I think I actually finished at 29:16. But it doesn't matter, because my official time ended up being 30:30* anyway...since I started at the back of the back. Good enough for 2nd in my AG, although the race doesn't do age group awards even though they're definitely big enough that they probably should. Doing the 10k, which is two loops of the 5k, Barb passed the start line about a minute later and I hung out waiting for her to finish while my kids played with hers. I told my husband I was dumb for not bringing the inhaler but otherwise had a solid race.

In the end I'm conflicted. I had fun and that's the most I could expect given how sick I had been. I got to see B and that was awesome. I want to support a nice local company. I might do one of their races for fun in the future but it can't be a race I make a serious effort at unless they clear up a lot of organization issues - gun timing wouldn't have been so bad if they did wave starts for the 3 different races so it wasn't so congested, but that wouldn't have worked for the way they used the chips. (It captured finish time - it just didn't capture our START time, so our start time was when the clock started instead of when we crossed the start line.)

I dunno, in the end. But it's a cute medal.

*Actually, the race results say 30:10 now...? But it's totally irrelevant because when I asked on FB, the race offered to change my official results based on the garmin when I complained that I thought the race was chip timed. They later deleted that post.


  1. That is a great race, especially after being so sick! I thought you were done running in Independence Grove though? LOL. At least it wasn't a hot day ;) The weather sounds good.

    I wonder what the deal is with this company. I haven't done any of their races. But they do them all out of IG, right? That is nuts they were going to change your official time to match your Garmin. LOL. It sucks that it was gun timed, but it is what it is, and you accepted that. That they would change it seems odd to me! (must have realized it was odd to them too, if they took down the offer!)

    1. Yeah! I was pretty proud of myself, all things considered! Stupid bronchitis, there was a while I wasn't even sure I would get to ending up with a solid race I felt good about.

      And no! Haha! I felt sick after that first race but it was totally my own fault. I raced there again at what would have been my PR if the course hadn't been short. It's a great place for spring/fall...just not as great for late spring or summer!

      I'm not sure. Yeah, they're all out of IG as far as I know, and range from 5k to 50k. So they do a lot and I guess I just expected them to be past growing pains stage. Gun timed is totally okay if you know a race is gun timed - but they also tend to be smaller and so while seconds matter if you're super competitive and you should start at the front, most people cross the finish line within a very small window usually. Here there were enough people that it took over a minute to cross the start line. In the end I don't regret where I started - I was sick and had no idea what I was going to be able to do; I wasn't going to start up front, that wouldn't be fair. So I'm not upset. But if I hadn't been sick and had been attempting to PR as had been the plan...I can't even imagine how I'd feel!

      Yes I think they have to have, and obviously I didn't try to take them up on that. I have a feeling their instinct was to try to appease an unhappy runner and they made the offer without thinking about how that would work.

      In the end it is what it is. I just hope they tell people going forward their races are gun timed so people aren't surprised!

  2. Heather you ran a strong race especially coming off of bronchitis. I well know how long those lung issues can linger. Definitely sounds like there are some organizational things that need to be worked out. Wow $65 for a 10k is nuts.

    1. Thanks Marcia! Yeah, it pretty much kicked my butt. I can't believe how much better I felt later, but it took longer for my lungs to let me run at any effort.

      I know! Especially since it was still a plain old white cotton teeshirt with no amenities. Kind of a bummer. I want to see local race companies succeed and the guy who runs it is a good guy but I would like to see the company get a little smoother.