Latest reviews by Lyndsey Baum

(2015)
"Small Town Race"
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The timing of this race is perfect however the weather can either be too hot or too cold. This year was hot and humid. I thought the course was pretty nice, the aid stations were well managed for a smaller race and the crowds were more than I expected. A very spectator friendly race.

One thing I really like (even though I didn't utilize) was the bus gear check IMMEDIATELY after the finisher chute. Simply pick up your post-race goodies, medal and your bag. That's cool. Parking was SO close that we just left everything in there. I also like that you could hang out inside the atrium at Lambeau Field and use the restrooms BEFORE the race - and the lines were not long at all. Likely because the half marathon (larger field) started an hour later.

I will say that with about .5 miles to go, just before you enter Lambeau Field, the marathon merges with the half marathon. Not ideal especially because the path is much more narrow as your lap around the field.

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(2015)
"Cool 5k"
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Overall the race was pretty fun, you get to run through Boston Common on Commonweath for this out and back 5k route. Part of the course even runs on what is the end of the Boston Marathon course. I though it was interesting that they mail the bib to you - what happens if I forgot to pack it ?!?!? However, I did like that I didn't have to do a "bib pick up" in Boston. You get your T-Shirt at the end of the race, which was another interesting feature. The T-Shirts were just ok. You can do your warm-up run on your way to the race as it is within walking/running distance from most hotels downtown.

I thought the start corrals were kind of a S***-show. They had mile pace signs up (7:00, 7:30, etc), however people lined up wherever they wanted making it difficult to maneuver the entire race. They did start the corrals in waves, which was nice, but some folks who were walking started with the first corral and were clogging the route. Obviously this is a big pet peeve of mine.

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(2015)
"4th Year Running"
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Same old, same old. Love to kick of running season with the shuffle. I thought that this year was especially well managed compared to years past. I do, however, wonder how kids and other folks get into the "A" corral when they are being passed a 1/2 mile into the race.?????

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(2014)
"South Side Surprise"
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I signed up for this race based on weather and as a tune-up for my marathon. I was a little disappointed to find out the Packet Pick Up was at Navy Pier. When will races realize that Navy Pier SUCKS for packet pick up.?!??!?!?!?!??!

Once I FINALLY reached the end of the pier, I got my packet with ease and cruised the very small expo. Nothing to brag about. Boogied out of there as soon as I could.

Luckily a crew of FFRacing folks carpooled down to the race on Sunday AM. Matt had signed up for the VIP Parking, etc. Parking was suppose to open at 5:30am and it was 10 minutes late. Which was kind of frustrating!

Since this was my first race on the south side, I was happy with the set up for the most part. There were enough potties for before the race. I liked that the race was divided up in to Corrals. I was lucky enough to be placed in D. However, they weren't very strict on checking bibs for the letter that corresponded with that particular corral. There were several ladies in my D Corral who had J-K-L Corral bibs. Hate that.

The course weaves through the park and heads north on Lake Shore Drive to 31st Street and back. (Shout out to Bib Rave for being present at 51st Street? is that right??). The time spent on Lake Shore Drive was quite boring and not shaded. The surface also took a toll on my quads (still feeling them 2 days later!!). Aid stations were mediocre - volunteers weren't fast enough with the cup giving out. Also for the water they used PLASTIC cups. SO DUMB. I hate breaking the cups to try to drink out of them.

There were more spectators that I expected, so that was a plus. The finish line area was large enough for the flow of people from what I could see. The medal was great! It was also cool that you could earn 26.2 or a 39.3 medal for completing a series of races.

Loved having the Fleet Feet tent in the post-race party. Such a great perk to being on the FF Racing Team or CES.

Immediately post-race, I wasn't excited about having Lou Malnati's pizza but it tasted pretty good a few minutes after!

Leaving the race was a nightmare as the Bears were playing at noon. We had to head over to 90/94 to get out of the south side!

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(2014)
"Try A Tri"
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This was my first large scale triathlon in terms of # of participants. I can't imagine what a nightmare it is trying to coordinate 4 events (International, Sprint, SuperSprint and Kids)

Packet pick up was located at the Hilton Chicago (in the basement). Kind of a weird spot for packet pick up and a fairly large expo. I think logistically they should have the expo in 1 room instead of two. T-Shirt was OK, but I was happy about the color of my swim cap (purple!). I enjoyed getting to this expo more than I enjoy going to Navy Pier or even McCormick place.

Racers had the option to bike-check the day before. It had rained which probably deferred people to check in the morning. I decided to go last minute and check my bike in. I am glad I did, I got a pretty good transition spot.

The only major bummer about this race for anyone who does not live (or is not staying downtown) is the timing. We had to get up at 2:45 am, take the train (45-50min), in order to arrive on time to set up transition. It's just early. I understand it is to get the race started shortly after 6am while it is still cool-ish out, but man, rough times.

I thought the set-up of the swim was great. The course was in DuSable Harbor which is kind of gross and seaweedy, and eventually got pretty rough. It is kind of crazy that they set in bleachers for in/out of the water. They have volunteers helping you out of the water. I wish the 1/4 mile jog to transition was a tad shorter, but whatever, we're in the city.

The transition area was pretty well marked, but ended up being VERY muddy due to the storms the evening before. They could have maybe put out carpet on the grass in the main corridor of the bike in/out area.

Biking up and down Lake Shore Drive was pretty fun. I am so used to the path and this offered a unique experience. Also biking on Intermediate Wacker Drive and the busway was really interesting!

The run course was like many other run courses in Chicago - South on the Lake Front Path to 31st street and finishing on Columbus Drive. Very familiar. My only complaint is that it is unshaded. This was offset by having cooling fans and many aid stations (7 total for the International distance).

After finishing, you are greeted with an ice cold towel, water & Gatorade and your finisher medal. The medal is huge and functions as a bottle opener and is also a magnet. The medal is actually too heavy for the magnet (it initially sticks to the fridge, but then falls off).

Post race beer and food by Goose Island was mediocre. Chicken was dry and salad was not as good as I wanted it to be!

Overall, this was a pleasant experience. I loved racing triathlon and plan to do more!

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