Race Report: "Race for the Cure" 10K

So the day is here! My second 10K race (my first was only 4.5 weeks ago) and I am excited for it!

As usual, I had to get up at 4:40am just to get dressed, eat, foam roll, and drive into Chicago with time enough to 'get my game face on' for the race. I just got my WISH team singlet in the mail two days ago so I am very excited to be wearing it for the first time. I decided to wear my lucky Zoot compression knickers, black running shorts, a white long-sleeved technical shirt, and my bright green WISH singlet on top of that, along with a white running hat. I was looking pretty good (almost like a real runner!). And no, I don't have a photo because I forgot to ask someone there to take it. Doh!

On the way down there, I ate my breakfast of toast, almond butter, a banana, and a glass of milk. I know people say no dairy on race day, but I always eat two hours before race time, and one glass of milk has never bothered me so far. I got to the Park (right near the pier off Lake Michigan) at 7am, and immediately headed for the PortaPotty (they are cleaner before the race). Then I checked out the Village (nothing to really write about there), found where the Start would be for the 10K Runners, and eventually checked my stuff at Gear Check.

The DJ and music was pretty energetic and fun, but I was not really in the mood for pre-race dancing. So I just watched the crowd. There were 10,000 participants so there were a lot of people there -- running either the 10K, 5K, or doing the 5K Walk (only 1000 of those were running the 10K). They had a nice Komen Store there which I visited after the race (got a cool t-shirt, visor, and wristbands). At about a 1/2 hour before race time, I downed about 5 sport beans and some water (figuring that would start me off with a boost).

The only real problem I saw right away was that there wasn't anywhere to warm-up. Roads were all closed down and the participant space was just too filled with people to jog. So I just kept walking through the vendors and such, using that as my warm-up. The other issue was the weather. It is 57 degrees and raining, and my shoes are already a little muddy from walking around in Butler Field. And the sun was nowhere to be seen. A bit chilly, but my clothing choices were good enough to keep me relatively comfy. My concern was how it was going to be during the race.

The 10K runners all lined up behind the Elite runner group. The National Anthem was sung (very well in fact) and then the race began. The first 1/2 mile was crowded but after that, people spread out. We were running in the streets which were pretty wide. I felt pretty good, legs were good, hamstrings were quiet. I started out at a 10:00 pace. So far, so good!

The first two miles were uneventful. At 2.5 miles, we hit the Lake path (which would continue for 2.5 miles) and it was really picturesque. All the boats in the water, the skyline, the cloud formations (it was still raining at this point), and just running beside Lake Michigan was pretty cool! I hit the 5K marker and the clock time said 31:40! That is my fastest 5K time so I was really pleased! I was also feeling a bit tired from the faster pace, so I slowed it down a tad to bring my heart rate down and rest. The next water station came up and I decided to walk while I drank the water and rest a bit. But 30-seconds later, I was back on my pace.

We ran all the way down to the Planetarium, circled around, and then came back the way we had come until we reached an underpass that took us underneath Lake Shore Drive. By now, it was 5.5 miles in and I was starting to hear 'negative talk' in my head about why I was doing this, and that I should slow down, etc. So I fought that crap out of my head because I was not slowing down with less than a mile to go!

I got to Mile 6 and the time read 1 hour, 5 minutes!!! Now I knew I was going to PR this race! That got me energized so I turned up the 'kick'. When I crossed the timing mat, the clock read 1:07:09!! And my watch said I was running at a 8:43 pace for that last .20 mile! That is faster than what I ran last Sunday! Naturally, I was ecstatic! Too bad, I did not have anyone there to celebrate with that I knew. No matter.

Latest Update: my official chip time was 1:06:38 at a 10:45/mm race pace! I was fifteenth in my age group.

The music was jumpin and people were yelling and excited! As a group, we had raised over $1.5 Million dollars for this race. How awesome is that!!!! That, of course, is an achievement much more significant than my PR!! I felt pretty good knowing that I helped contribute to that figure.

I hung out for a while, got something to eat, drank some PowerAde, and eventually got my stuff from Gear Check. Then after buying stuff at the Komen Store, I headed back to my car. I was going to pick up my oldest daughter from her place and drive us back to the house. That was really nice having someone in the car to talk about the race with and to hear what was going on in her life.

All in all? A fun race, a great cause, a new PR, and that feeling of accomplishment that is oh so sweet. That marks my second consecutive race this month. Next Saturday is my third weekend race in a row -- a 5K this time for AIDS research (just got the bib and tech shirt yesterday). Who knows? Maybe I can get under today's 5K split time!

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