Last night I ran a 5K through Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago! But I had an entire adventure before crossing the start line. To me that was better than any haunted house– a truly authentic Halloween experience.
Traffic for the Cubs game and Chicago Marathon was horrendous– I arrived in my designed SpotHero parking garage with only 15 minutes to start time. There were no cabs.
And so I took off running! I had 1.6 miles to traverse, relying on Google Maps’ walking. My route was not unfamiliar– I had driven that way myriad times over the years visiting friends in Evanston. From N. Sheridan to Bryn Mawr to N. Ridge to W. Hollywood and on… finally to Rosehill Dr. and N Ravenswood Ave.
I’ve been alone in Chicago plenty. But on foot at night I’ve never usually walked more than a few blocks, from my parking spot to whoever I was visiting or wherever I was going.
And here I was, running alone in the dark through it! I alternated walking.
I felt no fear. There was something wonderful about hoofing it alone on the way– a warm-up. AND I saved money. Plus, Edgewater is one of the safer areas of the city.
I had asked several people to do the race with me, and about five were interested– but all ended up backing out. I am so glad I didn’t allow that to stop my own plans.
On the way I used the bathroom at a gas station, and walked too far and had to turn around a couple times. I was about 22 minutes late starting– my first time ever being late for a race.
It took me about 40 minutes to arrive, and when I saw that start banner I was excited! The crowd had dispersed and no one was cheering. But I was proud of myself. But I got myself psyched up, yelling as I continued on and soon was entering the graveyard! There were purple and green flashing lights, smoke. Quite the spooky atmosphere.
Many were in costumes but I kept it simple, sporting a normal race outfit with the event t-shirt and a thermal underneath.
Most were just walking along, so it was easy to pass people. I had brought a small flashlight for safety– the path was easy to follow. Little orange electric candles on both sides of the path did the job, plus orange traffic cones with arrow signs taped on. Certain enormous tombstones and memorials were lit up.
I stopped to admire a few of the graves. I asked a pair of female friends to take a picture of me by one of them.
But mostly I just ran! I didn’t feel jealous of the couples or families or people with friends.
It was awesome doing this solo. It was peaceful and breathtaking. I was safe and happy.
I have never felt like such a bad ass! Running a 5K alone in a Chicago graveyard at night! I think it was my first-ever race totally alone, where I wasn’t meeting up with someone after, at least.
And my time was great! I shaved off about four minutes of my usual per-mile pace.
Crossing the finish line, I was ready to head home. There was a post-race party at a bar closeby, but a friend of mine in Plainfield was celebrating his birthday. My phone was at less than half battery capacity, and I wasn’t up for another trek back to my parking garage. So I asked a woman about the closest intersection to find a cab, and followed her advice. A cabbie in the drive-thru for White Castle waved at me.
Pretty hilarious! He pulled up a few minutes later and I gave him my parking garage address. He was friendly, making conversation. He asked how often I come to Chicago and I found myself answering that these days it’s mostly for races, which is true!
He couldn’t believe I hadn’t found anyone to race with, saying “You’re a charming lady.”
Well! Thanks. 🙂 He was impressed I had walked there, as well. “It’s a long walk,” he said.
After my car was brought around, I tipped the valet and drove to the party! Not bad at all.