LAKEVIEW — Chicago emerged from the deep freeze known as the polar vortex as temperatures that set records earlier this week hovered around the mid-30s Saturday. And, after a week of fighting the cold, the city's lakefront drew joggers eager to stretch their legs after the cold snap.
Lakeview resident Aran Burke, 24, said the weather was just right to don some shorts and a long-sleeve thermal top for his afternoon workout.
"[The cold] doesn't really bother me that much as long as it's not to windy," Burke said Saturday, following a 30-minute run, after taking a few days off because of the frigid weather. "When it was really cold I didn't really exercise except for indoors."
Chris Kaczynsky, 39, of suburban Lake in the Hills ran the Polar Dash around Downtown Saturday.
"It feels awesome. It's a heat wave," Kaczynsky said after finishing a 10k run in an hour and 10 minutes.
"I didn't know what to expect because it had been so cold this week, but there was a 50-degree temperature change, so I'm wearing shorts and I'm comfortable," he said. "If it was last weekend they probably would have had to cancel it."
But the changing temperatures provided its own challenges, turning the route into a "sloppy obstacle course," forcing runners to navigate through snow, look out for black ice and splash through puddles to finish.
Polar Dash participants weren't alone in trying to avoid obstalces.
Eddie Flowers, 52, began his run in Lakeview around 9:30 a.m., and found himself dancing around puddles to no avail.
"There was a couple spots that were real wet I tried to get around, but you're going to get wet whether you run around the puddle in the snow or run through it," said Flowers, who ran 10 miles from Lakeview to Buckingham Fountain and back.
He was glad to get back on the trail after taking the holidays off and staying inside during the coldfront.
"[Today] was just right. It was time to get all that fat out of my system from the holidays," Flowers said.
But runners should beware: The polar vortex that froze the city and much of the Midwest earlier this week isn't done yet. Meteorologists predict another cold snap next week, though it won't be as brutal as the weather that brought records lows Monday.