**Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Ram Racing North Shore Classic 5k as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!**
5k races are always a challenge for me. You basically have to go out fast, run fast in the middle and then sprint to the finish. Or at least that’s how it feels like to me. But I’m always ready for another challenge. I was offered the opportunity to run the North Shore Classic, either the half marathon or the 5k. Normally, I would chose the half marathon, but decided to take a week off of heavy mileage for a change.
The packet pickup was at a Fleet Feet in Deerfield, Illinois, which was about 45 minutes from my house. Surprisingly, even though I live only an hour north of Chicago, I rarely head that way. It was nice to check out the area of Deerfield, which is a cute little area just north of the city. Packet pickup at the store was super fast and easy. They had multiple stations set up, so there was zero wait time. I couldn’t believe how big this store was. I didn’t know that Fleet Fleet stores even sold cycling stuff and will definitely be coming back here in the future!
When I got home, I finally was able to check out all the swag in the packet. The bag they gave me was nice in it’s own. It was one of those draw string bags that you can use for anything. The tech shirt was really sweet looking too! Multiple colors of purple (which I love!).
The race was the next morning in Highland Park, Illinois. This was another town I had never visited before, so I left a little early in case parking was a hastle. Luckily, parking was no issue at all, and I was able to park only 2 blocks away from the race start. I met up with several BibRave Pro Ambassadors, which is always great to finally meet people in person, who you’ve been chatting with through social media over the past few months!
My race was starting before the half marathon, so I headed to my corral about 10 minutes before showtime. I hopped right in with no issues. I couldn’t believe how many people were running the 5k, just under 500! After getting situated the gun went off and I was running! The route took us through some residential areas of Highland Park through some rolling hills. After mile one, I found my groove and was moving steadily faster. Right when the half way point showed up, we ran into a park. I was thinking to myself-Oh a park, this will be nice! Little did I know that this park included some crazy hills. At first it was one monster downhill, and after several seconds of fast downhill running, it finally sunk in that, I will most likely be running this uphill before the race is over. Sure enough, as soon as the big downhill was over, we started the climb, and it was a long one! I don’t think I’ve run such a big hill on a road 5k ever before, and to be honest, was not expecting it. Luckily after several minutes of climbing, I reached the top of the hill. I was so happy to see a water stop immediately after as well, because that was a bit rough in the heat and humidity. The remainder of the race was a continuous flow of rolling hills all the way through the finish line.
That was definitely a tough race, and I was no where near a PR. I didn’t stick around too long, besides chatting with some of the vendors who had tents set up and to see the half marathoners start their race. I had a 2 hour bike ride planned following the race with my friend who lives in Chicago. But later that day, I found out I had gotten 1st place in my age group! I never would have thought that my performance would have gotten me 1st place, but I’ll take it!
Overall, this was a very challenging, but beautiful course. I definitely want to attempt the half marathon, even with that same hill being around the 7 mile mark for them as well! The race in general was very organized and it felt like a great hometown event.