For those of you not from the Chicago area, no, not that Beverly Hills. There is a neighborhood on the south side of Chicago called Beverly Hills (usually referred to as just “Beverly”). It’s the home of the “south side Irish” (or … Chi-rish) and the South Side Irish Parade.

My expectations going into the race were: place in my age group (it looked like I had a good shot based on last year’s results), and at the very least, beat my time from my last 5K (25:31).

But considering my last 5K was two weeks after the marathon, and therefore my speed training was non-existent, and the course included a hill much MUCH bigger than I’m used to, I thought maybe finishing sub-25 was a better conservative goal. I’ve been doing some speedwork again, but only for a few weeks, and I took a week off earlier in the month. But, I told myself that I’m always so conservative with my pre-race goals, and sometimes when I come in just under my goal, I wonder if I should be more ambitious. So, honestly, I would not have been happy unless my time was 23:59 or faster. (My 5K PR going into the race was 23:18, which is a 7:30 pace.)

So, short story long …

Coming from the south suburbs, the race was pretty easy for me to get to, and there was lots of free street parking within a couple blocks of the start. I got there about 45 minutes before start time, which gave me enough time to pick-up my bib (LOVE raceday bib pick-up), get in a mile warm-up (with a stop at my car for a pre-race Clif Shot and water – that and my coffee at home is all I’m willing to eat before a shorter race), do all the necessary pre-race “visits” (I thought the port-o-potty line would take really long right before the race, but I had more than enough time), and line up at the start with a few minutes to spare. I noticed there were a lot of folks wearing the race shirt to the race, so I used that as motivation to line up pretty close to the start … but behind the high school cross country dudes.

Shortly after the race started, I felt something on my leg. I realized my car key somehow came loose (it had been pinned to the inside of my waistband) and was making it’s way down my tights. I “pulled over”, got the key out, and just ran with it in my hand.

I passed the first mile clock around 7:15. Holy smokes (not my actual thought).

The course was pretty – it was through a residential area, and Beverly has some pretty beautiful homes. There were a couple small downhills and uphills, but nothing challenging. But there were a lot of turns. Luckily I looked at the course map ahead of time and was aware of this and just tried to run the tangents as much as I could.

Unfortunately, even running by heart rate, my mile splits got progressively slower. So that’s something to work on. But, I passed mile 3 around 22:10-something and now my goal was to finish sub-23. I was running alongside a dude at that point, but my new goal during every race and “fast” run is to see how high I can push my heart rate at the end, so I sped up. (Depending on which calculation I use, my max heart rate should be 188-190. I made it up to 186 today.)

When the finish line came into view and I saw the clock was still at 22:xx, I kicked even harder. And even though my splits weren’t so even, who cares, it’s a new PR!!

Which was good enough for third in my age group (F30-34)! And yes, that is a banana in my pocket.

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I met up with Kelly and her sister and friend afterward and we enjoyed some free hot chocolate.

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Kelly’s sister’s stickers cracked me up. (Apparently she found them on Amazon.com.) On the right is the race swag – long sleeve tech top and drawstring bag which held some freebies. And my AG medal.

Overall, I thought it was a great race, and I’m SO PSYCHED over my new, totally unexpected PR.

 

Race Review – Beverly Hills (Chicago) Turkey Trot 5K

Pros: Easy to get to if you live in the south suburbs or south side, lots of packet pick-up opportunities (including race day), lots of free street parking, gear check (although not necessary if you drive because of all the nearby street parking), nice residential course closed to traffic, chip timed, not too crowded (677 total finishers), “late” start time (9am – that’s a Pro for me, might be a Con for some people), long sleeve tech top, 5 year age groups, more than one water station on the course (although I didn’t utilize any of them), decent post-race spread – bottled water (although they ran out before everyone finished), bananas, apples, bagels, cereal bars (provided by the race), hot chocolate (provided by a sponsor), live music, enough port-o-potties.

Cons: Even though the race was held at a school, all the pre- and post-race festivities were outside, and it was chilly (around 28 degrees), so I was glad I brought an extra layer of clothes for before and after the race. Also the course had a lot of turns, so something to keep in mind if you’re specifically going for a PR.

Overall: Great neighborhood race, definitely recommended if you live in the south suburbs or south side. The race cost $30, but I registered through a Schwaggle deal, and with my Active Advantage member discount (20% off), it only cost me $12. But the race did benefit a couple local charities.

 

Have you ever had an unexpected PR? 

Have you ever had a wardrobe malfunction during a race? This time it was my car key, but at my last 5K, my shorts were falling down during my warm-up, but I was able to pin them and they stayed put during the race.