Race Recap: Lakefront Chill 5K

To celebrate completing the Lakefront Trail Separation Project, the Chicago Park District held the Lakefront Chill 5K yesterday morning. They offered free registration for a chip-timed 5K with a winter hat and mittens as the swag. I like free, and the race was near Soldier Field, so it’s on my side of town, so I signed up. Luckily, this is a cutback week for the half marathon training plan I’m sort of following (in preparation for the F3 Half Marathon), and my “long run” this weekend was a 5K.

The race offered $10 parking at Soldier Field, which is cheaper than an Uber there and back and driving would be easier to deal with than taking the bus or running there or Divvying, plus I wouldn’t have to get up as early. I got to the race site with a little over a half hour to spare, plenty of time to get my bib, hit up the restrooms (heated restrooms in the Soldier Field parking garage), and headed over to the start around 7:45 (for an 8am start). I met up with fellow aSweatLife Ambassadords Tahnee and Winnie.


The start corral had some pace signs so we could self-seed. Tahnee and I stayed around the 10:00 pace sign. After some announcements and the national anthem, the race started right around 8am. I crossed the start at 8:04am. (According to the race results, there were 373 finishers.)

The course started between Soldier Field and Burnham Harbor, went up Museum Campus Drive, around the west side of the Shedd Aquarium, up the Lakefront Path (the bike lanes) to Monroe where we turned east and came back down the Lakefront Path (pedestrian lanes) around the lakeside of the Shedd Aquarium, along Burnham Harbor, and finished.

Six years ago, almost to the day, I ran my still-standing 5K PR, a 22:16.  I miss being fast, but I also don’t run the same mileage I used to, nor do I do speedwork or run with a group that will push my pace. This weekend, I ran a 32:54. Over 10 minutes slower than my PR. A pace almost 3.5 minutes slower. Oh well. I’m glad I can get out there without pain.  I’m also a lot stronger than I was back then. I didn’t do any strength training back when I was speedier. Now I can do kettle-bell swings with a 45-pound dumbbell as part of a normal workout. Maybe I can be both fast and strong, but I guess I don’t have time for that.

Anyway. Post-race, they had water, bananas, nut-butter filled Clif Bars, and hot chocolate. The hot chocolate was … not great. But, I got a timed race, a beanie (that fits) and mittens, parking practically next to the start line, all for $10 (because I paid for parking). I don’t know if this will be an annual race, but I would do it again for $10.



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2 Comments on “Race Recap: Lakefront Chill 5K”

  1. This sounds like such a great race! I saw it on Facebook and assumed that since it was free, it must be an untimed affair, but to have chip timing AND swag AND it was free?! That’s amazing! I’m genuinely surprised only 373 people finished the race. You’d think they’d have a lot bigger turnout, especially since races that offer those things but are definitely NOT free certainly get more people to show up. Though I suppose it being in December probably kept some people away.

    1. I wonder if they had a lot more people register (the race “sold out”) but bail on race morning since they didn’t pay for it. Even though we had great weather (for December). I wasn’t sure what to expect – either a huge crowd because it was free, or a small crowd because I didn’t see a ton of promotion around it (I think I saw a Facebook post someone shared, but compared to the neverending Facebook ads I see for certain other races, I guess I’m used to knowing about every single race that happens in this city).

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