After eating my weight in candy on Halloween, I woke up super early on November 1 to make it to the Carrera de lost Muertos 5k in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood. I wasn't excited about waking up at 5am, but I was excited to run what sounded like an awesome race and start off the month of November on the right foot.
I had assembled my bag for gear check and laid out my clothes and shoes the night before, so it was easy to get ready. Half a bagel with pumpkin cream cheese, a banana, and a cup of coffee served as breakfast as I got dressed, fed Hannah (kitty was not happy about the early start to the day, either), and did a final check that I had everything I needed before heading to the train.
It was easy enough to reach the race. I simply took the brown line to the loop and transferred to the pink line. After exiting the train at the 18th Street stop, I simply walked around the corner and there was the race!
|Race of the Dead! Let's do this!|
I quickly made the rounds to check out the area and figure out where everything was. It was all contained in a tight area, which made it easy to find everything, albeit a bit crowded. Bathrooms, gear check, corrals, food tents, stage...everything was well labeled and easy to find. I was happy that I had picked up my packet in advance, as the line for the race day pick up was very long and moving somewhat slowly.
|Gear check was underneath the train tracks. A bit strange...but it worked.|
|Part of the altar display.|
|Love it! These folks were along the race route and at the after party.|
|Anyone want to take their picture?|
|These papier mache skulls were amazing, but I don't know how they managed to run in them.|
|Hello, happy skeleton.|
|That's the starting line way up there. People were ready to get moving.|
|Prerequisite pre-race selfie.|
I knew I was running slower than usual, and I had to walk for a bit around mile two, but I was having a lot of fun.
When I saw the finish line, I picked up the pace a bit. It was super crowded immediately after the finish line, as folks slowed down or stopped to grab water, so there were clumps of people blocking the street and making it hard to navigate back to the parking lot that served as home base for the pre and post race events. I ended up having to push my way through groups of people in order to get a drink and make my way out into a less crowded area.
|All the beverages shall be mine!|
|The dancers were great, and I loved their outfits.|
There was a costume contest, and then the awards were announced. The winners in each age group got hand painted skulls instead of medals, which was awesome. They all seemed excited about their prizes.
|Those skulls are sooooooo much better than a medal.|
As things started winding down, I was freezing and ready to head home for some food and a warm bath.
|I had a blast at this race!|
|Even the el stop was festive.|
My advise for anyone interested in running with me next year:
1.) Bring cash for food. I still regret not having money for some tamales and a beer.
2.) Bring a pack of tissues in case there is no toilet paper. This is really a good idea for any race.
3.) Pick up your packets in advance, if possible.
4.) Know that this is a neighborhood race, so there are a lot of non-runners and/or runners for whom this is their first race. Not everyone will know to line up at the back if they are walking. Not everyone will know to move to the side of the course if they are slowing down or stopping. And please don't bring people down by disparaging other participants for any reason.