After not hitting my goal at SF10 this year, I looked to this race for my goal race. Originally, I was going to run this as a training run and not care about my time. But the more I trained and the better my running was getting, I decided it needed to be a goal race.
My original goal was just sub 1:56 which is the goal that I missed at SF10. But when I talked to a friend of mine about my goals (and he was originally going to run with me), he dropped the 1:40 or better goal into the pot. Then I couldn’t get that goal out of my mind. My 10.47 mile training run had been 1:46 and change and I didn’t even try to run that for time/pace. So in all reality, it wasn’t as lofty a goal as I originally thought.
Then I traveled to NYC where I barely slept, ate nothing but junk food and drank WAY too much alcohol. I wasn’t exactly feeling in peak racing condition the two days leading up to the race. I knew sub 1:56 would be an very easy goal unless something went horribly wrong so I wanted a different goal that would be mostly easy and I decided on 1:50 or better. But then I got angry with myself for such an easy goal so I decided that 1:45 or better would be good. A goal I would need to work for but was still very attainable.
It was chilly and the forecast called for wind… which was hardly thrilling.
Courtney and I met up at Navy Pier early in the morning. I knew my body was a little off. I hadn’t been drinking nearly enough water over the past week and add to that the alcohol consumption… not exactly smart. But I was still hoping I would be ok with the cloud cover and the cooler temps. I knew as long as I could hold a 10:00 pace for the 10 miles, I would hit my goal.
I lined up with the 8:00ish pace people while Courtney held back with the 9:00 pace people. I didn’t want to go out too fast but I also knew that the first mile would be tight and I didn’t want to be held back too much… especially since I loathe weaving in the first mile.
We were off and I took off with people flying by… fine by me… I knew what I needed to do. It was definitely a tight start and I was glad I lined up where I did. At the first mile marker, I checked my split and saw a 9:06. DAMNIT!!!! Way too fast!
I slowed it down a bit… and the hills on this section of the course helped me slow down. Heading toward the second mile marker, I was already feeling thirsty and could tell I was a little more dehydrated than was ideal. But I checked my mile split at mile 2 and was still on target and grabbed my water at the water station and walked through it.
Then we headed to my least favorite section of the course… we go up a hill and around a block of VERY bad sidewalk. The footing is uneven and this section of the course is on almost all Team Ortho races and is one of the main reasons I stopped doing those races. I missed my mile 3 split because the mile marker was a little after the mile three mark but I hoped I was still ok.
Right when I saw the mile 4 marker and saw the time clock, I had a little over a minute of wiggle room to play with. This is the part of the course that has a nice long steady climb. I could tell I was fading and it was too early in the race to fade this much. My body was fighting me and I knew that the dehydration was going to start being an issue. So I decided to walk up the hill to conserve some energy.
I was thrilled to see the second water station because I was dying. The mile 5 marker and clock still had me on target but barely. Even though I took water, it wasn’t enough.
Here is where my race started to fall apart. My stomach was cramping big time and I knew it was from dehydration and I knew it was only going to get worse. So I started to take very short walk breaks. Even though I knew my goal was slipping away by doing this, I just couldn’t hang on.
I hit the turn around and saw Courtney… she wasn’t too far behind me. I wanted to stay ahead of her but it was becoming more and more difficult for me to hold on. I was starting to feel dizzy and my stomach was cramping even more. Several times I thought I would get sick because and I knew it was because I was too dehydrated.
The mile 6 clock showed that I was barely off pace for my goal. Here is where the mental battle really began. It was becoming more and more difficult to hang on. Walking breaks would kill my goal but I also knew I couldn’t finish the race without the walking breaks.
So I started to walk a little more. I grabbed a cup of water at the water station and knew that if I had decided to run with water, I might have been able to hang on. For some reason… I never even debated that…
At mile 8 I was more than a minute off my goal. I kept trying to tell myself to just run the last two miles but the dehydration was catching up to me and I was REALLY starting to struggle. Mentally I wanted it but physically my body was against me. Try as I did the dehydration was worse and I knew if I pushed too much, I was putting myself in danger.
Then Courtney caught up to me… I knew it was likely to happen since I was walking more but I didn’t like it (Which I told her after the race). It was the push I needed
I started running again and got ahead of her. I knew there were a couple or hills towards the end that I was going to walk but I desperately wanted to run everything else. Shortly after the 9 mile mark, I felt the dehydration hit me and I had to walk for a bit… and Courtney caught up to me again.
I told myself I had to do this. I knew I had a little left in me and I was going to leave it all on the course. So I started to run again.
The last .75 miles was brutal. My stomach kept revolting… it was cramping a lot and I wasn’t sure if I was going to get sick or not… and there were several times I thought I would. I wanted to walk so many times I lost count. But, somehow, I managed to hang on… and I really don’t know how I did.
When I saw the mile 6 marker for the 10K I tried to kick to the finish but I couldn’t. I had nothing left. It was too much of a struggle to just keep running. I saw the time clock and it was nearing 1:43 and I tried so hard to run faster so I could come in under 1:43
I have no idea if I actually did run faster or if the pace I was running just managed to get me there but I was beyond done when I crossed the finish line. I got my medal and a bottle of water and turned around to see Courtney getting her medal.
I checked my watch and saw my unofficial time. It wasn’t the time I wanted and this certainly wasn’t the race I wanted to run but I still had a massive PR. I also knew that I gave it my all and left it all on the course. I was completely done.
Courtney also managed a PR! So all in all it was a good race day 🙂 We then made our way to get breakfast… but not before getting a post race pic
My official Time – 1:42:53 for a 10:18 pace and a nearly 14 minute PR
In the end, I am happy with my results… though the dehydration and feeling icky kind of clouded that a bit. It just wasn’t my day but now I have a goal for my next 10 miler…
So who is running Soldier Field with me?