Wednesday, August 13, 2014

race recap chicago 10k edition

As I mentioned in my previous post I ran the Chicago 10k over the weekend.  It was my first 10k (previously have only done 5ks in terms of running racing distance) and I thought this would be a good race to do two weeks before the Chicago Tri just to see what running a 10k is like.  Granted I completed this one without swimming 1500 meters and biking 40k before, but those are just minor details :)  I didn’t really have a goal in terms of this race, mostly just wanted to feel out the distance, but finishing in under an hour would have been an added perk.

Packet pick-up for this one was nice – it was just a Feet Fleet Sports in Old Town.  I love the races in Chicago that packet pick-up is either at RAM or Feet Fleet.  They’re so much more convenient than the ones where you have to go to McCormick.  It’s not easy to get there by public transport, if you drive you have to pay to park, and then once you are there you never know where to go and always have to walk a mile just to get to the lines because it is never by where they make you park.  Never a good experience!  But I digress. 

On race morning I got up around 6am so I could throw on some clothes and eat a banana.  I also ate a chocolate chip cookie dough flavored LUNA protein bar.  I am not one to not finish my food, but I really had to choke this one down.  Usually I go for the chocolate peanut butter but thought I’d switch it up for this race morning.  Big mistake.  No offense to those of you who like that flavor, but it was gross. 

Mark wasn’t participating in the race, but opted to go with me anyway even though I told him he didn’t have to.  It was in the south part of Grant Park which is always a pain to get to, so it was nice to have some company on the long ride down.  As usual, I got there too early, so I did a pre event tour of the vendors and then had a seat to listen to the band before taking my place in the corral.  The race started at 8am, and the band played before it started.  I have to assume this is the earliest gig that band ever had.

I feel like this was a smaller race than some I’ve participated in in Chicago in the past, which was a welcome surprise.  Less corral crowding.  In fact, you just lined up honor system by your per mile pace – no A, B, C, D, you can’t run with people, etc. with this race!  I started with the 8:30 a mile group.  No, I do not run that fast, but I like to get a good fast start and also it was in the first of three waves so I didn’t have to wait around.

The race course itself was pretty good.  It was all south of Grant Park on the Lake Shore path except for about the first three-quarters of a mile, and I didn’t think it was so crowded once the initial start thinned out.  The path was a bit hilly, but luckily given all the running I’ve done lately the hills didn’t bother me this time like they have in the past (for example, thinking I might hurl coming up the itty bitty slope at the end of the Hot Chocolate Run last November).  I did feel bad for all the bicyclists that were out on Sunday morning, though, that kind of got taken over on the path.  But such is the nature of the Lake Front – you never know what obstacles you are going to encounter when you set out. 

Overall, running the race wasn’t too bad.  It was hard going the first couple of miles as per usual, but once I got in a rhythm it was easy to do.  I feel like I passed a good amount of people which is always good for the ego.  My favorite part of the race, though, was a guy cheering around mile three with a sign that said something like ‘doubters suck’ (it wasn’t that but that is pretty close, I just can’t remember it), wearing a belly shirt, and banging a cowbell to the tunes on his boom box (not sure if he was put there by the race or just a guy hanging out).  It was a nice pick me up along the way – and since it was a down and back course you got to experience him twice. 

My final time was 55:47 which was under the one hour mark I’d set for myself, and about a 45 second per mile faster pace than what I usually run when I’m just running to run.  So not a bad finish at all.  It will be interesting to see how my 10k to finish up the triathlon in (less than) two weeks compares.  I am guessing it will take a little longer. 

I was not too keen on the swag for this race – but I guess the shirt is cool enough.  I feel like with races these days we get spoiled with goodies, so a plain cotton tee just isn’t what it used to be anymore.

I did, however, enjoy the finishers medal, and that makes two for my collection. 

Although I must say – the effort for this was much lower than the ITU but resulted in a bigger medal, so the ITU needs to step it up.  But then again the ITU medal has a spinner in the middle, so maybe it wins for technical merit.  Either way, I enjoyed earning them both.

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