Chicago’s Perfect

While the majority of Chicago runners were spending hours waiting in line at the Hot Chocolate packet pick-up, I was enjoying a lovely day in Chicago.

Next Saturday, I’m running Chicago’s Perfect 10 (mile), and they have not two, but FOUR days for packet pick-up. The four days of packet pick-ups are actually at four different locations, and while none of the locations are particularly convenient for me, today was the only weekend option, and I didn’t have anything going on, and the pick-up location offered $2 validated parking.

On the drive up, I passed Soldier Field and the long line for the Hot Chocolate packet pick-up and couldn’t help but chuckle while also feeling sorry for everyone doing that race. Up to three hour wait times to pick up a race bib? That is ridiculous. I have NEVER had to wait in a line to pick up a race bib (expect for when I did the Hot Chocolate 15K in 2010, hmmm). RAM Racing let 40,000 people register for this race … yet, year after year, they prove they do not have the capabilities to put on a race of that size. The two other races in town that have that many runners (the Shamrock Shuffle and the Chicago Marathon), have their expos at a giant expo hall. But RAM did this one in a tent in the Soldier Field parking lot. What is this, amateur hour?

In case you can’t tell, I have a major beef with any race that oversells. I’ve done two oversold races – Hot Chocolate 15K in 2010 and the Bonfield Express 5K on Thanksgiving in Downers Grove in 2010. I will NEVER do another race that has a reputation of being oversold. Personally I think it is very negligent of the race organizers, especially for races that routinely oversell, like both of those mentioned above. It’s unsafe and does not provide an enjoyable experience for any of the runners.

(I hope I’m not jinxing myself and that the Chicago’s Perfect 10 doesn’t wind up oversold and/or something else goes wrong.)

Anyway, back to my day. My packet pick-up was at the Equinox in the lower level of 900 N Michigan Ave. There was ZERO line, and I was able to get my parking validated so that it would only cost me $2. Two bucks to park on the Mag Mile?? Time to take advantage of that.

Actually … despite the name of this blog, I honestly can’t afford to shop on the Mag Mile. I stopped at Lululemon couldn’t help but look at price tags and calculate how much running stuff I could get from Old Navy, Target, TJ Maxx, etc, for the price of one item at Lululemon Their stuff is cute though, and maybe it’s amazing quality, I don’t know, I’m too cheap/broke to find out.

I didn’t even bother checking out any other stores. Instead I took a walk by the Water Tower Campus of my (and my dad’s) alma mater, Loyola University Chicago. And I just realized it’s been almost nine years since I was an undergrad. Oy.

Chicago Chicago

Check out my awesome Old Navy fleece vest that I got for like $5 last year. That’s like 1/16 of a pair of Wunder Unders. 

And then I attempted to stop at the one store I can afford on the Mag Mile:


But it was crowded, and it’s not like we don’t have H&M in the suburbs, so I didn’t stay long.

I purposely wore my running clothes so that I could enjoy a run on the lakefront path on my way home. I parked near Oakwood Blvd (3900 S), paid $1 at the meter for an hour of parking, and ran north. It was a beautiful evening, with some beautiful views. (And also getting a little late by this point.)


By 31st Street Harbor


Still by the 31st Street Harbor


31st Street Harbor


Taken by McCormick Place

Chicago … I <3 you.

Have you ever done an oversold race? How did it go? 

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7 Comments on “Chicago’s Perfect”

  1. Excited for you next week! I’ll be there spectating somewhere along the course so I’ll keep my eye out for you!

    I haven’t been in the city much since August and my mind isn’t comprehending that the boat are now out of their slips and its pretty much a no mans land on the lakefront. In my mind the lake still looks like it normally does on a on early July morning.

    I’ve never done an over sold race, but my hubby did the hot chocolate last year and I was nearly ran over by runners as I was spectating on the sidewalk. I would be afraid to spectate this year if there is 40,000 runners. Hope they do the race in waves for safety, but I’m guessing that they didn’t think about that.

    Hope I see you out there next week!

    1. Thanks for spectating! Do you know someone running the race? I’ll try to remember to post what I’m wearing to the race so it’s easier to spot me 🙂

  2. Those are gorgeous pictures from the southern end of the lakefront path, Maggie!! I did most of my half marathon training long runs down there this summer/fall, and I love how peaceful that area is. Plus the $1 an hour parking for the spectacular views — huge bonus!!

    I’ve always heard scary things about the Hot Chocolate, but most of the people I know are running this year’s race as their first race ever, so I am going to try to convince them this experience is nowhere near normal. I’m definitely looking forward to the Perfect 10 next Saturday — hope to see you!!

    PS – Did you go to the Loyola Homecoming Jazz Speakeasy a few weeks ago? It looked really cool for an alumni event, but I couldn’t make the date. I miss my student days at the WTC!

  3. I haven’t been to a Loyola event in a looong time. My family used to go to the Cubs game / Goose Island thing every summer, but it hasn’t been convenient for us for the past couple years. Also, the majority of my college friends now live out of state (although one recently moved back for grad school), so I don’t have anyone to go to these things with. But maybe we could meet up at one!

  4. I did the Hot Chocolate in 2009 and 2010, I was to do the same one in Downers in 2010, if that was the year it was super cold, if it was, I ended up doing it on the dreadmill. Almost all of my races have been while pushing V.

  5. All the chaos surrounding the Hot Chocolate race this past weekend made me incredibly glad I chose the Perfect 10 (k) instead. It makes me so angry to think that people spent money on that race and went into it with such a negative attitude after the horrible expo. The overall idea of the HC run is really cool and has so much potential if the organizers would figure out basic logistics.

    Hope to see you at the Perfect 10 this weekend!

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