Oak Forest Fleadh 5K – 2014

Oak Forest Fleadh_logo

The Oak Forest Fleadh 5K was on Saturday morning.  It’s a race we have ran before, this is our 3rd time actually, so we knew what to expect.  It’s one of the many Shamrock theme races in our area and this one has a great course with 2 miles on a normally very busy road, Cicero Avenue.   Yes, I do keep coming back specifically to run on Cicero Avenue.  Smile  Something great about busting it down the middle of a city street that is normally brimming with traffic!

Oak Forest Fleadh_course

Easy packet pick-up, a block from the race site on several different nights leading up to the event OR you can get your packet the morning of the race.  Win, WIN for me!  I also like that the event collects food for a local food pantry so we took lots of goodies with us for donation.  This is the fifth year for the event and I’m happy to say that it gets better every year.  The event is in a prime location at the most busy intersection in town but the organizers do a great job keeping everyone safe by directing traffic, shutting the roads down, and setting up the pre & post race events in the train station parking lot AWAY from the traffic. 

The Fleadh 5K is a fast race which is close to home, cheap and convenient.  I also love that this year they gave the option of a cotton long sleeve tee or for an additional $5 we could upgrade to a technical long sleeve wicking tee.  Nice touch.  I think when I registered the cost was $25 with a $5 fee (optional) to upgrade the shirt.  Super affordable for both Aby and myself to run. 

Temps were in the low 30s on Saturday morning but it was snowing hard, and blowing, and then snowing some more, maybe even snowing sideways, yeah, I think that’s an accurate description.  Despite the weather, the race director and the village did an excellent job salting the road and everything was clear, even the side streets in the neighborhood.  I was super happy and it was safe even it the wind was fierce and I had to wear sunglasses to keep the snow out of my eyes. However, the weather did effect turnout.  Originally, they had about 700 registered runners but only 350 who showed up to run in the blowing snow.  I didn’t have as much in my legs as I had hoped and quickly realized that this wasn’t going to be my “best 5K ever” but I was able to run well enough for an age group win.  My friend Aurelia passed me in the last mile (to secure 3rd place overall female!!) and tried to get me to pick up my feet.  Her words did help a little because I tried to go with her but my legs were just heavy.  Thanks for the encouragement Aurelia!!  And my girl Aby took 1st in her age group too.  It was a good day for all of us!

Oak Forest Fleadh_14_Aby   Oak Forest Fleadh_14_Aby Aurelia Me

Big THANKS to Nicki T. for not defriending me on Facebook after this race too.  She always goes to all the local races with me and well, we usually don’t get good weather.  It’s always a topic for conversation as to weather she should “reevaluate our friendship”.  LOL!  But hey, what are friends for, right?  Let’s all suffer have fun together!

Now for the SWAG!  Loving the shirt design this year!

Oak Forest Fleadh_SWAG_Aby

Great local race for a reasonable price.  Potties at the start/finish.  Two water stops on course.  The majority of the race is on Cicero Avenue too so plenty of room for spectators!  I’ve also heard that the after race “bar scene” is pretty good too but I normally go home.  So if you want to give the Oak Forest Fleadh a try, maybe schedule in time for a green beer or two after the race!

** See You Next Year ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Oak Forest Fleadh 5K – Race Report

Fleadh – festive event of Irish traditional music and dancing; festival of Irish or Celtic culture.

Where to start in regards to the Oak Forest Fleadh 5K?  Well, it’s a great big party and when it comes to parties that include running, I like to be right there in the middle of it, especially when the party is basically in my own backyard.  Yep, I’m there.  I was number 59, so it “might” be safe to assume that I signed up early too.  🙂

A lot of things have changed over the last few years, one thing is that I have attempted stopped being so serious.  Not as serious about my seriously messy house, or my crazy toddler who seems to always be defining death safety and not as serious about me or my running.  Part of that transition has allowed me to have more fun while running and do stupid stuff like dressing up.  The St Paddy’s Day races are the BEST for dressing up.  I highly recommend you being as OUTRAGEOUS as possible and trust me, you will fit right in with all the other lunitics runners.  Our group had previously chosen a green sparkle skirt from Team Sparkle for our St Paddy’s Day racing fun!  Here are the F’N Runners minus Susan M who was floating around with her friends and family.  Top left:  Kim, April, Judy, Gennie, Kristina, Nicki.  Bottom left:  Aurelia, Maggie – MagMileRunner, Melissa – MadMamaOf4, Aby, & Me.

The “after” photo – minus half our sparkly crew.  April, Gennie, Me, Maggie, Aby, Nicki, Kristina & Kim: 

 F’N age group placers, who the announcer kept calling Team SKIRT. Maggie, Aby & I – all 3rd place finishers. 

Judy F. was also a 3rd place finisher but must have been frozen and had to leave bailed before awards and Nicole F. (F is for FRITZ!!  WHOOOOOOP!) took 2nd.  I believe it was possibly a PR day for most, if not all, of the F’N Runners other than myself.

                                                               The LOOT:Holy crap, this is one of the largest loot bags I have ever received.  There was some cool stuff, lots of coupons that can be actually used and some fun things like:  cups, can cozies, pens/pencils, stick-it pads of paper, letter openers, screw driver, cookies, candy, gripper pad to open jars.  And the award for the ODDEST goodie bag item ever has to go to the “Convenience Bag” for the disposal of vomit and urine.  Ummmm, Thanks?

Overall though, Oak Forest puts on a great race.  This is one of my favorite courses because it is soooo easy.  And I don’t mean easy as in flat because this isn’t the case but it breaks down into 3 parts very easily and you know exactly where you are and how far to go at all times.  The finish will never sneak up on you here unless you are too involved in running up the gigantic hill into the nasty wind or you were merely absorbed in your music.  From the start line, it is almost one mile out (north) on Cicero Avenue, then one mile in a neighborhood, then one mile back south on Cicero to the finish.  Done.   Perfect.  I believe I saw 2 waterstops and there were a few spectators.  It was short and sweet.  Not easy but well defined.

As for my race, I’m getting faster.  This race was a 23:47, which is the fastest 5K thus far for 2012, and considering the wind and hills, plus the near 40 miles that I ran in the last 7 days, I’ll take it.  Although my legs were definitely fatigued, I was more mentally prepared for both the wind and hills this year and did improve over last year’s 24:19 finish.  So that is a definite win!  I still have a lot of work to do but things are looking UP!  And it was a total bonus to be able to run the first mile with Maggie, so I had somebody to at least talk to a little bit.  Not that we said much but it was “kinda” like we were in it together for a minute before she ran away from me to secure another PR for herself.  Go, Maggie!!!!

This race really grew in size this year too.  Last year they recorded 330 finishers with the last recorded finisher at 1 hour and this year they had 542 finisher under the 1 hour mark.  Plus, last year I won my age group and was considerably slower in this race.  In my opinion, this year’s 3rd place finish is even more rewarding since the competition is getting better.  That’s what I like, let’s ALL get better and kick some ass!  Yay!

So if you have a chance to run the Oak Forest Fleadh in the years to come, I would definitely recommend it!  The post race party delivered raffles, lots of food, FRS, massages and a free beer at one of the local establishments!  Plus the community also had a full day of Fleadh events including a parade for the family!

Happy FESTIVE Running,                                                                                             Amanda – TooTallFritz