I knew going into this race that it would not be the race I had originally hoped for, but instead would be the race I was capable of on that particular day. I wasn’t going to push past my limits because really… 10 miles is not exactly the distance you want to mess with. One mile of a 5K fine… but not 10.
Packet pickup was relatively painful. I went over to Road Runners after work to get my packet and Courtney’s packet. I then ran some errands where I picked up Courtney’s Christmas present (running gloves) which I decided I would give to her early so she wouldn’t freeze… Despite living here almost a year, she doesn’t have that much winter running gear yet. I then went to grab pizza with Courtney and Becca and another friend of theirs. The food was good… even if we did have to wait quite a while… which meant I was starving by the time my thin crust pepperoni pizza was placed in front of me. I proceeded to scarf down the entire thing… Overall it was a great low-key evening with friends.
When I got home, I got all my race gear together and laid out what I was going to wear then went straight to bed. I luckily, slept well and woke up a few minutes before the alarm went off. While getting ready, I checked the weather and saw that it was warmer than I originally thought it would be so I decided to ditch my original plan to wear a fleece vest over my long sleeved. I met Courtney on the bus and we were off.
I have not done this race before but I knew that gear check was indoors and that we would be able to wait inside before lining up for the race. By far the best “pre-race” experience… Normal restrooms and warmth. Although I did question whether or not my legs would allow me to go back up the stairs to get my bag after the race…
Overall it was a beautiful day (albeit windy) and I was excited for this race… Expected pain and all. We took a couple pre-race photos.
We headed downstairs around the time the 10K was starting and waited inside where it was much warmer. The start line area was in the shade which made it a LOT colder than the other side of the pier in the sun. When it was time for us to line up we headed back outside and lined up… and took another picture.
After “God Bless America” was sung, we were off. Courtney and I agreed to meet at gear check after the race. I was planning to be super conservative but Courtney is far more competitive than I am and actually wanted to race… after all this was her first 10 Mile race.
The beginning of the race was very crowded on the narrow pier and I wanted to conserve energy and therefore decided against weaving… I knew it would thin out eventually. I never saw a mile 1 marker but a glance at my watch told me I was already past the mile mark… I was still feeling pretty decent but I also was going at a very conservative pace. Again, no mile two marker but I was feeling ok and walked through the water station. Right after the water station we were sent into grass to run because the side walk was blocked off for construction. I briefly debated walking this portion because it was felt like I had to use some more effort to run it but overall it was mostly flat so it wasn’t too bad. Then I saw where the course was headed… a short but pretty steep hill… yea… that’s not gonna happen. I walked up the hill and once I reached the top I started running again. No mile 3 marker but I knew that is about where I was on the course. I was feeling decent but I knew I would probably need to start doing run/walk intervals once I reached the half way point.
We head over to the Lake Front Path… I know this area… I have done several races in this area before… it’s hilly… damnit!
Still holding onto hope to have a decent race, I decided walking up the hills would help on the back half of the race. I also was wishing there were more water stations like SF10 but luckily it was a very cool day so I was alright. I also noticed that the water fountains are still turned on over here and felt rather angry that all the water fountains near me are off… But I have no control over that… but still… grrrrr…
At mile 4 I saw the first mile marker but the clock wasn’t working. I have my watch set so that I can see the mileage and current pace but not overall time. This helps me in training runs but I might need to do a race day setting… hmmm… maybe…
At this point there are several hills and I walk up all of them and then run once I reach the top. I am starting to feel some of the soreness that I knew was going to come eventually. At the 5 mile mark I see the clock and am surprised that I might actually still have a shot at a decent time. Shortly after that I see Courtney on the way back and we wave at each other… I am so happy that she is more than half way done with her first ever 10 mile race. She also looks pretty strong still… I have no doubt she will rock the back half
This about where I start to do run/walk intervals. I decide I will do quarter mile intervals since it is a relatively flat portion of the course… I will re-evaluate once I reach the hilly section again. I walk the turn around and before I know it I am at the 6 mile marker… but I fail to check the clock.
I keep up with my intervals but I am approaching the hilly section again so I continue to walk up hills… the intervals are less even now. I hit the second to last water station, walk through it and continue on…
About a half mile later while running through a non-uphill portion a lady next to me says “perfect pace… I really needed a little motivation.” We continue to chat for a bit and then pick up another lady. I keep a decent pace with the first woman. The second lady catches back up to us and then we all decide we need to walk for a bit. The first woman runs through the last water station, but I hang back with the second woman because I REALLY need the water. She mentioned that she was struggling a bit and she originally thought she was going to bail out at mile two. But she made it this far. I stick with her for about a mile and continue to give her encouragement. At this point, I mentally know my chances of a decent time are going but I also felt like it was a better decision to stick with my new running comrade, Mya. It was her Birthday and she was coming off an injury and was struggling a bit. Around the 8.50 mile mark she told me to go on ahead. So I wished her a happy birthday again, wished her luck and said it was nice meeting her.
Mentally, I wanted to run the rest of the race… but a few very short but very steep hills killed that one. Plus my legs were REALLY sore by now. I was definitely hurting. So I continued with run/walk intervals… keeping them shorter but also with no consistency. I did manage a short… very short… sprint to the finish though.
I grabbed a bottle of water and looked around for something other than a banana (I really hate bananas) but didn’t see anything. I made my way over to the stairs to get back up to gear check… yea… going up the stairs was a tad painful… I got my gear and found Courtney pretty quickly. I knew I needed to get some food in me and soon so she agreed to help me search for a candy bar… I was starting to feel a tad dizzy (not nausea at all just a tad dizzy).
We chatted about the race and our experiences. She had an AWESOME first 10 mile race. In fact, she beat her 15K time from a year ago by nearly 3 full minutes… Longer race and better time – Could not be happier for her!
My time, on the other hand, was no where near what I wanted. When I signed up I wanted to break 1:56:00 but knew that was rather unlikely so then I decided I wanted to be around 2:00:00. But I also knew my a little over a mile of walking was probably going to kill that.
My Official time – 2:07:22 (and I have no idea why they my city is Lombard…)
It is certainly not the time I wanted but I also feel good about the race overall. It was a far hillier (at least by Chicago standards) course than I expected and I wouldn’t change walking with Mya either.
After I got my Snickers bar (which I scarfed down quickly), I was no longer dizzy and we decided to go get brunch. We headed over to Yolk but saw how many people were waiting inside and outside. Less than half a block later, we saw an Irish pub that served brunch and had no wait. Score! The food was really good.
We then headed back to the bus to go home… And took a post race pic on the bus
And a Picture of the Medal
I plan on doing the race again next year… I just won’t be surprised by the hills next time.
Congrats to Courtney on an awesome first 10 Mile Race!