This week, I ran my first Chase Coporate Challenge. Back when I worked for a suburban-based company, I was jealous of people who got to run the Corporate Challenge. When I found out last year that my company participated, I was so excited! But that was when my knee started bothering me, so I gave up my bib for another employee to use. But this year, I’ve been averaging … 5 miles per week on a good week for the past 9 months, so I figured my knee could handle it.

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Digital Marketing pals

I heard this race is a bit of a cluster f*ck. That is not an exaggeration. It’s about the size of the Shamrock Shuffle with zero corral organization. Lots of n00bs and non-runners, so even though the race organizers suggest faster runners up front and walkers in the back, it’s not enforced. Just getting to the corrals was like slow-moving cattle, and then I finally found a spot in the barricade to squeeze through. The race started at 7pm … and we just stood there. I was around the signs for “Corral” D, which I think was the last one. Starting in A or B may have made things slightly better, but I’m not sure by much.

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I noticed the leaders had finished the race and were walking around our corral as we finally started inching toward the front. I think I crossed the start around 7:35ish. And sure enough, the entire 3.5 miles were spent weaving around walkers, many in groups. Some wearing jeans or carrying bags/purses. It was like the biggest Turkey Trot ever.

Given my low mileage and the weaving, I had no idea what to expect for my pace. I forgot to bring my watch with me, and even though I had my phone with me, I didn’t care enought to use the Nike+ Running app during the race. Plus the majority of the course was on lower Wacker and lower Randolph, so it may not have registered correctly anyway.

However, I was pleasantly surprised that I did better than I thought I would have.

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Because my last name is such a secret. 

I think this is the fastest pace I’ve run in … maybe a year. So that’s nice.

After exiting the finish chute with water and a banana, I made my way back to my company’s tent. I didn’t realize it until comparing notes on Facebook the next day, but my company had a nice spread. Cheap beer and good stuff like Fat Tire and Stella, and burgers, BBQ pulled pork, BBQ brisquet and sides. Although the tent next to us (CDW?) had a DJ and were having quite a party. I hung out until 9:30 before hopping on a Divvy and heading home.

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Even though the race was kind of annoying with the crowds and the walkers, I’d do it again. My company covers the race fee and provides food and beer, and you know, “team building.” I’ll just make a better effort to start closer to the front.