Saturday 4.28: Chicago Area Runner’s Association Lakefront 10 Miler
Time: 2:00:35 ~ 10 miles. 12:04/mile pace. Chilly-willy!
On Friday the 13th, CARA had a contest on their Facebook page for free entry in to the Lakefront 10 miler. Because this was a taper week for 1/2 marathon training, I wasn’t planning on running it but… surprise! I won the contest! 🙂
The fact that this was a “free” race really tested my runner’s resolve when I was lying in my warm cozy bed at 6:30 on Saturday morning listening to the pouring rain and wind. It was barely above 40 degrees. Free race… warm bed… free race… hot coffee… But, I got up and got ready. I really wanted to use this as a test run (pun intended) for the Half Marathon, and that’s what really motivated me. Especially because I wanted to try out my new
fanny pack AirFlow WaistPack to see how it felt running with my phone/keys/tissues/tampons/gels/hand sanitizer.
I stayed at home a little too long, trying to decide what to wear. It was chilly, windy and rainy so I ended up wearing a slicker that I bought at the thrift store. Not the most technical piece of clothing I own, but it had to do. Pros: Waterproof/windproof. Cons: Too big, hood does not fit right, not breathable or wicking, so I felt pretty swampy.
Got to the race site JUST as the race was about to start. Note to self… allow extra time on race day. DUH. I frantically asked the first person I saw (a very sweet MC) where gear check was. It was closed. Wah wah. But he let me stow my stuff with him. Thank you, Mr. Announcer!
The course went North to Foster Beach then South along the Lakefront. Before getting to Mile 1, I noticed some folks from my weekend running group. I ended up catching up with them and it was great to have them to talk to! I had missed a few weeks of our meetings because I was sick, then overslept last week after Memphis, so it was nice to be able to see them again! It really does make a difference when you have someone to talk to.
Around the 5k point is where things started to get interesting for me. The course curves around, and then goes up Cricket Hill, near Montrose Harbor. Here is a pic from a few weeks back when we ended a 9 mile run up the hill:
On this course, the hill came at about 3.5 miles, so relatively early in the race. Before we even started up it, my tummy started rumbling. Not in an “I’m hungry and need fuel” kind of way. More in a “where is the port-a-potty??” way. I will spare you all the details, my faithful readers, but I did not feel very well. So then I got distracted. (Oh, if you’d like to read up on some fun female running issues, a handful of which I was experiencing on Saturday, read the “Girl Talk” article from Active.com.)
Around mile 4, we started seeing the finishers coming back. Yup. The first runner finished all 10 miles in 53:42. UNREAL! It was great to see all of them coming back, they were so focused and determined. It took awhile before we saw the first woman, and we cheered for her the loudest!
I tried to do all water for this one, I read somewhere that a good strategy is water only for the first 4 miles, then Gatorade at mile 4 or 5 if available, and for 1/2s, try the supplements (gels/GU/beans) at the halfway mark. As we were coming back from the harbor, our group split up a little bit. When we went past some park restrooms, there was a line for the ladies’ room, so I decided I would go on the way back. Then on the way back, even though I *knew* where the bathrooms were… I ended up heading for the wrong building. At that point, I lost my group entirely! And the bathrooms were locked. So I had to go a little further on. This potty break ended up taking at least 5 minutes, but I felt SO much better afterwards.
I tend to be hard on myself when it comes to times, and had to keep reminding myself that next week is truly the “big dance.” This race, and really ALL races, should be FUN. The last 2.5 miles went by rather quickly, and I was pleased with my finishing time. Clock said 2:02:35ish when I crossed, and my official time was just over 2 hours. The one thing I noticed, and this probably has something to do with the weather (it was still windy, cold and rainy at the end of the race) was the lack of enthusiasm for those finishers crossing the line when I did. The end is where runners (new runners, slow runners, seasoned runners, older runners) need the most encouragement. So when you cross the finish line to lackluster volunteers dangling a medal at you, it’s sort of a letdown. At one point, a park employee was driving a truck through the course… and towards the very end, volunteers were standing on the sidewalk (yards from the finish line) with boxes on a dolly to be carted away, just chatting. This sense that you are arriving too late or that it took you too long to be worth the party, that can get frustrating. I’m saying this more for myself than for the race organizers, because next time I am going to cheer those late finishers on like CRAZY!
I grabbed some water at the finish and headed straight to the NovaCare folks. Physical Therapists were there to help runners stretch. It was GREAT. Really really really great.
Post-race, I had a moment of panic where I couldn’t find my bag. I got my race shirt and talked so some incredibly helpful volunteers, and eventually found my bag. Again, note to self, get to the race site early! Gear check! Don’t just drop your stuff with strangers! I put on my jacket and shivered my way home and in to a large Dunkin Donuts coffee.