I woke up around 5 a.m. to thunder and lightning. My alarm was not set to go off for another fifty minutes, and I knew the forecast has called for scattered thunderstorms all morning. I was hoping not to get up later to a message saying the race was canceled but at that point, I was expecting it. I rolled over and went back to sleep until the alarm went off. By then, the thunder had stopped, but the rain continued. No message on my phone about a cancelation, so that was a relief.
That was the start to the morning for the D211 Fun(d) Run 5K in Palatine. It was not the first weird weather we would experience that morning.
The race is put on by a couple of friends of mine and supports the District 211 Foundation, so I always try to make it out to support them. When I go, I seem to know a third of the people running or volunteering, so it is a great, fun morning to hang out with friends and get in a race.
It was not a typical fall morning. It was almost 70 when I went to warm up and so humid, you could drink the air with a cup. The course has the potential to be very fast. It is flat, has some nice, non-90 degree turns, and finishes on the Palatine High School track. On the right kind of day, it can easily be a PR course and even on a rougher condition day like this, can lead itself to good times.
This is the fourth year of the race and I had run it every year except for last. Knowing where I had finished in the past, and what the times were last year, I expected to be close to the front again and was hoping to be in the top three. Apparently, other people had seen previous years’ results and had the same thought, as the field was much faster than what it had been before. (I’ll still take a fourth place finish and a decent time, though, so no complaints.)
At a race like this where everyone seems to know everyone, there is plenty of enthusiasm along the course and especially after the finish. The music is great, the cheering is loud, and it is a race where you just want to hang out on the football field chatting it up with people long after the race is over. Of course, the couple dozen pizzas, muffins, bagels, soy bars, peanut butter, and bananas help, too. (Let’s just say, I left with a fully belly and it was only 9:45 in the morning.)
The D211 Fun(d) Run is a great race to get together with friends and race. It is a low-pressure event that is great for beginners but fast enough where seasoned vets can come in and try to belt out a fast time. Along with the camaraderie that you feel, the high school students volunteering along the course add a great amount of enthusiasm and help you to remember that racing is fun and something to take pride in, no matter where you finish in the results.