Yesterday was the Earth, Wind, & Fire 5K run put on the by the Illinois State Geological Survey at the University of Illinois. The race started at 8 a.m. When I woke up at 6:20 a.m. the temperature was 13˚ F. This was going to be interesting.
The start was less than a mile from our house, so I ran over there to warm up. I registered for the race and waited around inside the Natural Resources Building until closer to race time. There was a Festival of Maps (I like maps) lining the hallway so I kept myself occupied. About 20 minutes before the start I ran another mile outside to warm up then I headed to the start line.
There were a surprising number of people there. I thought there would be maybe 20 of the most hardcore runners that braved the frigid weather and howling winds for this race, but I was mistaken. About 150 people showed up.
As everyone was mulling around near the starting line, trying not to freeze, the race directors decided to blow the air horn to test it out and make sure it was working. The thing is, they didn't tell anyone what they were doing. As soon as the horn blew a few people took off running. Seeing them, everyone else took off running. The race directors were standing right in front of the line and all of the sudden the entire field was running around them. They quickly got on the bullhorn to announce that this wasn't actually the start. The runners eventually stopped and headed back to the starting line. When it was time for the real start the directors were much more careful to explain exactly what was going to happen. Fair enough. They gave a 5 second count down then we were off.
The race went surprisingly well given the poor weather conditions. I was able to pull out a 19:20, which was good enough for 5th place overall and 2nd in my age group. I guess I'm not as out of shape as I thought I was.
Since the race was put on by geologists, the winners received some sort of special rock as an award.
Update: They posted race photos, including a couple of me.