Warm Your Heart Indoor 5K – Race Review

As soon as the Warm Your Heart Indoor 5K was announced, there was a group of us who immediately signed up.  I mean, really, an indoor, guaranteed 70 degree race in February, YES, I’ll give it a try.  This was, of course, way before somebody stole got ahold of the course map.  Initially all we knew was that it was a “single” loop, inside, certified course 5K race.  And then the course map was released and holy shit wow, it looked a little hairy!

This isn’t the exact course we ran because the start/finish line were not the same and since I knew were I started, the finish line actually surprised me.  It was way before we would have re-entered the other building for a sprint back to the start/finish area.  I didn’t have a clue that things were slightly off until I hit the 3 mile clock and then I knew I had messed up because I should have been running much faster that close to the end.

All in all, I will say the race was good.  It was non-traditional but good.  They had 3 inconvenient packet pick up locations and then also race day registration with a final packet pick up.  Had I known there was race day pick up, I would have certainly done that but according to the website, packets could only be picked up previous to the race.  So I went to the closest location to my work, in downtown Chicago, in the rain to get the packets for us Southsiders.  Not convenient for us but I’m sure it couldn’t have been worse.  The packets were sparse, included a long sleeve unisex tech shirt, a magnet, a small backpack and some literature. 

I think just about everyone I knew commented positively about the shirt, so it appears to have been a hit with the majority.  For me, it won’t get any much wear since it was a  unisex size.  I did try it on and it was just awkward and ill-fitting.  But I did like the design/color and would have worn it had it been a ladies size.

Getting to and from the race was very easy.  The race was at McCormick Place in Chicago, easy access and lots of parking.  However, once we got up to the race area it was a bit chaotic.  They had a mini expo going, runners were all over the place and there were lanes roped off in every direction.  However, in the midst of this chaos was also a lot of organization, the start area was clearly marked, they had indoor bathrooms and portable units.  I saw a gear check and the Starbucks was open.  🙂

We never did unite with our entire group which shouldn’t have been an issue with this small of a race.  Thankfully, I took a couple of girls with me!  Nicki, Kristina & April. We also brought our own cheering section since it was inside and the kiddos wouldn’t freeze.  Nicole (April’s daughter), Aby & Michael and they did a great job too because I heard Aby screaming, “Go Mommy!!!”  on several of my turns. 

And of course, since we made such a spectacle, we got to hook up with Aurelia’s family too so that was even better, plus she took the group photo.  Thanks, Aurelia!  From left:  Tim (Aurelia’s Hubby), Uncle Bill, Nicki, Kristina, April & Me.

The start was very organized and they had the paces clearly marked.  Then each group had a 2-3 minute head start on the group behind them.  This totally prevented the bottle neck at the turns which I had anticipated upon seeing the course map.  The first mile was by far the worse as the lanes in the “start” building were narrower and shorter but there was plenty of room and the lanes were marked off with tape.  Although there was a mass of runners everywhere you looked, there was never a question as to where you were going, just lots of turns.

I was also concerned about the flooring.  They had removed the floor coverings and it was bare concrete  in an unfinished state.   So it wasn’t slippery at all.  The biggest problem area was running from the start building into the finish building across a nicely finished, slippery hallway.  It was very short though and not a problem for me.  Then once we hit the finish building, the lanes were wider and the turns weren’t as tight so it was much easier to navigate.  I would also say the temp dropped a good 7-10 degrees upon entering the second “finish” building, so the conditions were nice and cool for running.  They had one water stop at approximately the 1.5 mile mark (I’m guesstimating).  I was very concerned approaching it that the floor would be slippery, particularly since the lady in front of me honestly tried to grab 5 cups before actually connecting with one.  I just stayed toward the middle to avoid the water, and her spillage, and I was fine but I was also in the first group that took off, so not sure how people further back in the pack felt about the situation.

It was good, I took it slow on the turns, and there were a lot of turns.  My right calve and both hips are feeling those turns now but I am overall very happy with this “indoor” race.  I would have enjoyed being able to have longer stretches to run without turns, I definitely feel as if the turns slowed me down because I was in a “better safe than sorry” mode but there was definitely room to run your own pace and no bottlenecks.  Also the number of volunteers was outstanding.  They really worked hard to make this first time race an event which will become a staple of the running community for the years to come.

Upon hitting the finish, there was immediately bananas, water, and Propel for refueling.  Once we got past that, there was a timing station set up with multiple units in which you could enter your bib number to get immediate results as far as your time, your current standing against those who had finished before you, and  your division totals.   I run a lot of races and I believe this is the first time I have ever seen this and I like it.  A lot.

Good race.  Good organization.  Good charity sponsor.  Good overall event.  I’d probably go back to run it again.  I finished in 23:59.  That’s my best time of the year so far for the 5K distance but I still have some considerable work to do on my fitness level for this distance.

Did you race this weekend?  If so, tell us when and where.  If you ran the Warm Your Heart, what did you think?  Would you go back?

Happy Running,                                                                                                           Amanda – TooTallFritz

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12 thoughts on “Warm Your Heart Indoor 5K – Race Review

  1. Sounds like you enjoyed your “maze” run! The problem with that map is it is not drawn to scale and so I have no idea how long each of those sections between turns, nor the final sprint to finish line. That course schema seems pretty crazy to me! It would be cool to see someone build an indoor 1-mile loop track somewhere in Chicago-land!

    23:59 not bad for running a maze course like that with no prior experience. I bet if you practiced that kind of running, being indoors with no wind and comfortable temps, you could probably post a FT close to your 22-flat despite all those turns, especially if your 1st wave.

    No races for Frog this weekend – it was 20-mile Long Run on Saturday morn. Got it done though, albeit fairly slow compared to last year’s standards, and just trying to get the miles in without making the injuries any worse.

  2. I ran this today, too. It was interesting. Didn’t get my best time, but who cares, I ran. I would do this race again for sure. It was easy to get in and out of and I thought very organized. I won a cd at the 97.1/The Drive booth.

  3. I absolutely LOVE this comment ” I finished in 23:59. That’s my best time of the year so far”. My fastest 5K ever was 27:49. You and your long legs, great endurance and WINNING attitude inspire me. Thank you!

  4. I ran it. It was unique to say the least. I would say the turns made the course 30 seconds slower than a normal course. It was no way a PR course. It felt like I was racing through lines at Great America. Nice race, enjoyable report.

    • The anaology to great america is perfect. That’s exactly how it felt. Thankfully we had a little more width in each stall! And I now have a thumb size bruise, and light swelling, on my calf that was hurting post race…..right at the point where the calf attaches to the achilles. So strange but has to be related since it wasn’t there (or even tender) before the race.

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