Race Report: Midwinter Cruise 5K

This race holds a special place in my heart as it is my only hometown race. It is put on by the Park Forest Running & Pancake Club, a very friendly, mostly “masters” club that has been around for 35 years. Old school runners = old school race.

The 5K is a double loop on some flaaaat streets, there are no aid stations (given today’s 17-degree temps, the water probably would have froze), the race is “chip” timed, but with no mat at the start, you are going on “gun” time (and by gun, I mean local running legend Frogger yells out “ready? OK, go!”).

But who cares, they serve up all-you-can eat pancakes and sausage post-race, there are fewer than 200 finishers but they still do 5-year age groups, and give out trophies instead of medals (and everyone gets something), and this year’s trophies had sailboats on them. And instead of shirts, they gave out fleece gloves (not fitted, but a good second layer on cold days) with the club logo embroidered on. (The logo is a turtle, by the way.) And they only do race-day bib pick-up.

Sometimes after doing a ton of overhyped, “commercial” feeling races, it’s nice to get back to the basics.

And because this race is local, I was able to bring my own personal photographer. Who complained (repeatedly) that he could be snuggled in a warm bed instead of standing outside in sub-20 temps. BOO HOO, the race time was 10:30am, Lazy Bones.

Midwinter Cruise 5K Midwinter Cruise 5K

Going through the first loop. 

Normally, I run every race by heart rate and secretly hope for a PR. But my heart rate strap has been chafing me (sorry for the TMI), so I’ve been running without it. (I think I loosened it and forgot to re-tighten it, hopefully I’ll be, uh, ready to wear it again this weekend at the F^3 Half.) Plus, I just wasn’t feeling a PR. It was freaking cold this morning (17 degrees, feels like temp was 3 or 6 or something), and my speedwork lately has been long tempo runs (in preparation for the F^3 Half next weekend), not shorter intervals. So I didn’t have my hopes set on a PR. And when I woke up this morning, my calves felt TIGHT. (I assume from yesterday’s ballet class.)

In addition to running without monitoring my heart rate, I also tried to run this race “blind” and not look at my Garmin. However, they have volunteers yelling out the time at every mile (and halfway).

Midwinter Cruise splits

I am happy that my miles got faster, and I’m really happy with mile 3. Fastest mile I’ve ever clocked during a race. The only one that comes close (7:09) was during a 5K last March, when we had a pretty strong tailwind for the first mile or so.

Midwinter Cruise 5K Midwinter Cruise 5K

Luz and me on the left. 

My official time was 22:48. Not a PR, but my second-best 5K time. I’m happy with the sub-23. I feel like once you get down to a certain minute with your 5K time, even if you don’t get a PR, you still want your time to start with that minute. Also this was a course PR for me.

After cooling down and chatting with Amanda, we headed inside for pancakes and sausages! Post-race, I ran into three bloggers (Zach and Luz/JV), a friend of my mom’s (her husband and son ran), and a friend from high school (her husband ran – and came in second overall). And of course my fellow Frankfort-New Lenox Running Club friends. I also got to meet some friendly people from the Channahon-Minooka Running Club.

Midwinter Cruise 5K Midwinter Cruise 5K

I was the second overall female and won the F30-34 age group. The first overall female was also 30, but she didn’t count toward AG awards – I’ll take it!

Next up: F^3 Half on Saturday. I’m not sure about my goal. Given the cold, I’m not running for a PR, but I do want to practice “racing” the half marathon distance, and leaving it all out there, in preparation for my goal spring half marathon (May 5). But I also want to enjoy the post-race party at the Cubby Bear. I can do both right? I guess I’ll find out. 

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22 Comments on “Race Report: Midwinter Cruise 5K”

  1. Oh hey! I think I might have seen you in the crowd somewhere today! I was way, way back and finished when you were probably eating your first pancake! lol I wrote my report this afternoon. It’s a nice little race! I really liked it!

  2. Congrats! I knew you were going to nail this race! During my run with Bobbi today I said “Ooo! I wonder how Maggie did!” I knew you would get 1st AG, but 2nd overall?! Awesome-ness!!!

    I love my town’s small race too. Super simple like this 🙂

    I wish I could stay in my 5K PR minute range!

  3. Thought you’d mention also meeting a Twitter follower – lol. Great running – I was 6 minutes faster then last year even with a tight calf the last mile!

  4. Sounds like you hit the jackpot, a small local race AND awesome food! I’m anxious to PR in a 5k, but mmmmyeah, not in the winter. Hate that feeling of not being able to move your mouth afterward (TWSS). Stay warm!

    1. LOL, nice. I feel like the weather is getting to me more this winter than last. Not sure why. Probably a mental thing. After all the racing, marathoning, etc of 2012, I probably should have taken the winter off from racing.

  5. Wait, there’s a running AND pancake club? A running and sausage club would definitely be up my alley, but pancakes are good too!

    I know I’m less experienced, but my favorite 5k so far is the one in my neighborhood because it’s still somewhat small, and it’s just fun to run around an area that I know so well. Good job getting so close to your PR!

  6. Great job Maggie!! Congrats on 2nd overall, that is awesome!!! Small races are always nice especially when there are a lot of big ones around in Chicago. It makes for a nice change.

  7. Congrats! I won an age group award once, but it was mostly teenagers in the race, so I had the advantage I guess! haha I was supposed to do a 5k today, but decided commuting an hour and a half to run 20 minutes wasn’t worth it.

  8. Woohoo, congrats on the awesome finish. I have vowed to do more local/small races this year. Fun and so much less frustrating than sitting 45 mins after the start gun to cross the start line.

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