The day started at 5AM (this has become my regular wake-up time I guess) to get cleaned up, dressed in my running garb, have my regular pre-race breakfast, and head downtown for the Chicago Police Department's annual 5K race. It was a balmy 44 degrees outside and sunny by the time I parked the car and walked to the Start, which was in front of Soldier Field (Home of the Chicago Bears).
There were about 600 runners assembled, many of them police officers. There weren't many vendors there so I just walked around to warm-up, visited Gear Check, and waited. It was interesting being around so many police -- it is a good thing I am an upstanding citizen! :)
The race started with the National Anthem and we were off! I had already decided not to run hard today because I had run 8.2 miles the day before on my Long Run, and since that was the longest run I have completed to-date, I did not want to overstress my body (even though everything felt fine). So I kept myself to a 10:30 pace for the race, and actually focused on seeing the sights along the race route.
Starting at Soldier Field was pretty cool. We ran down Museum Campus Road, passing the front entrance to the Shedd Aquarium, and then onto the wide sidewalk on Lake Shore Drive. The view of the cityscape along the Drive is pretty sweet! I thought to take out my iPhone and snap some pictures, but I didn't want to change my stride. We passed the first mile without incident. But soon after that, I had a couple of twinges in my right knee. Hmm.. this was a first. So I slowed down a bit to test it. After about a minute, the twinge went away. So I kept onward and eventually returned to my 10:30 pace. It did not bother me again. (I guess I must have landed strangely on my right foot)
By Mile 2, we had turned from Lake Shore Drive and onto a bike path right along the shareline. Most of the boats that usually line Lake Michigan were gone (they were probably drydocked for the winter) but some were still out there, bobbing up and down. It made me think of our summer place in Idlewild MI, where we have boats and stuff. I was feeling pretty good and running in a good rhythm. Some people think about stuff while they run but today, I was just in tune with my cadence and breathing (I decided no music on this run).
At Mile 2.5, we were back at the Shedd Aquarium but this time running around the back of the building and up a consistent incline for a while. I ran the entire incline while others were stopping to walk. I had to smile inwardly to myself for being able to run through it (thanks to Meghan and TEAM Weight Loss inclines on the treadmill). At Mile 3, I sped up a bit to cross the Finish Line strong! It was a fun race; my legs were fine, the knee was okay, and I was pretty happy about now being able to wear the cool tech shirt in the goodie bag!
After the race, I spent time with a guy named Steven, who I found out later was a police cadet who runs a lot of races and was the Male Winner for the officers. He was the second overall male winner. It was interesting that they broke out the overall winners between Officers and Non-Officers. I guess to make sure that each group received prizes for their effort.
After the race winners received their awards, they began their raffle. Each runner had a section on their bib which went into a large bowl and winning numbers were drawn from that. And guess what? I actually was one of the winners! I never win raffles so I was quite surprised and pleased. So I got to pick my prize -- a rolling drink cooler that had a built-in AM/FM radio. So now I can have my food, drink, and music for tailgating parties! LOL
It was a good way to start my Sunday morning. I got back in the car to speed back home so I could hopefully make it to church before the service was over. Hmm.. not so successful with that. I got there just as the service was finishing. But I was there to lead my HS Christian Ed class, where we discussed how "Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself" could be a hard directive to follow. Especially, if we haven't learned how to love ourselves. It was a good discussion!
Then it was lunch with my wife Christi and a Deacon from the parish. Oh, and I had a donut today! Not often do I treat myself with one of those, but I figured it would be okay just this once. :)