Today started at 3:45am when the alarm went off and I had to get out of bed to get ready for the race. Having only run 2 miles for ALL of May (due to preparing for the AVON Walk for Breast Cancer next weekend), and dealing with some hip pain and a 'hot spot' below my right pinky toe, I was a bit worried about what kind of performance I was going to bring forth today.
I got all my gear together, deciding on wearing my Newtons, compression pants, and my W.I.S.H. racing shirt. My running partners Mike and Liz picked me up at 5am and we were off! The weather was threatening thunderstorms but luckily, we had nice cool 63 degree weather for the race with no rain at all (it was windy though).
Mike broke the land-speed barrier and got us downtown with plenty of time to check my gear bag, make a 'pit stop', and head to our corrals. As we were walking towards the corrals, I ran into my friend Christina, an actor in the Klingon Christmas Carol production from last December (where I got to be a special guest star and play a Klingon in one scene which was amazing!). It was such a cool surprise to see her there (no, she was not dressed in her Klingon garb). Oh, and if you want to see an awesome non-Klingon production she is in, check out Corleone at the Greenhouse Theater House in Chicago. Many of my actor friends are in this show!
Liz and I were in the same corral (Corral 12) but Mike was WAY ahead of us in Corral 5. There were about 13,000 finishers (not sure how many people were registered) so the place was pretty packed. With the Wave Starts, Liz and I did not get started until 7:39am (the race started at 7am) so we had a lot of standing around time to chat.
As we headed out, Liz and I ran together for the first 4 minutes until she hit her first walk interval (she was doing a 4:00/1:00 run/walk program). Then I was on my own. The race was pretty flat for the most part. There were some inclines but I was able to run them all. I was pacing myself at 10:30/mm because I knew I was not quite in top running fitness, and I did not want to injure myself a week before AVON.
After the first two miles, I grabbed some Gatorade and walked for 30 seconds. Then continued for the next two miles and did the same thing. My heart rate was in the high part of Zone 3 and I was trying to keep it out of Zone 4. I am sure I was hitting that high because of the lack of Long Runs and training this month (lesson learned).
We ran down Lake Shore Drive and actually ran by where I used to live as a child. Not that I could see our old home from the street, but I just thought that was pretty cool. I turned off my iPhone so I didn't take any photos during the race (I was worried about rain). The runners were all very friendly, enjoying themselves, and many commented on my racing team shirt. On the back of the shirt it says "DLF > DNF >> DNS" ("Dead Last Finish" is greater than "Did Not Finish" which is far greater than "Did Not Start").
There was some entertainment on the course. There were a couple of DJ stations on Lake Shore Drive, and there was music at the start of the race and definitely at the Finish (you could hear the music about 3/4 mile before the Finish beckoning you 'home'). I did not wear my headphones for the race -- I want to get used to running without music.
The course made a U-turn at 4.5 miles and we started the trek back to Soldier Field. I ate my first GU gel at this point, and was starting to feel some discomfort in that right foot. But I kept moving on, but from Mile 5-8 I switched to a 1-mile run, 1-minute walk strategy to 1) give my heart rate time to recover and 2) to give some relief to that right pinky-toe.
But by Mile 8, it was time to 'zip up the Man Suit' and run it the rest of the way to the Finish. I ate my second GU and was on my way! Seeing the stadium and hearing the music and the race announcer gave me a bit of a boost. We ran into the stadium using the same entrance as the Chicago Bears! And then we ran down the middle of the field to cross the Finish Line at the 50-year line! It was awesome!
After the race, we had to walk quite a bit before getting our medal, food, and stadium blanket. Liz found me and we proceeded to walk to the post-race party to find Mike. Of course, we were 'following the crowd' as we talked and did not realize that the crowd was going the WRONG DIRECTION! So we ended up doubling back and finally found Mike. We got ourselves some free Muscle Mike (strawberry cuz they were out of chocolate) and debated whether to get in the line for our beer or just go home. We ended up going home because the line for beer was as long as the Corrals!
Results you ask? Well, since this was my first 10 Mile race, it is automatically a PR. But I feel like I could have done far better had I been more prepared for it. I finished in 1:49:00 with a 10:40/mm pace. My Polar GPS says I actually ran 10.21 miles so my pace is based upon that value (the race result is based upon a strict 10 mile value). But hey, I finished! And burned 1,836 calories in the process! Gotta love that!
When we all got back home to shower, rest a bit, and say hello to our families, our two families went out to the "Around the Clock" restaurant to celebrate with a tasty lunch! I enjoyed some good Steak Tacos, Chicken Noodle Soup, and even had a Chocolate Shake (I earned it today).
I am glad I ran the race. Could I have done better? Yes, had I did my usual run training this month. But I am still pleased to find out I could run 10 miles with my current fitness level. So I must have been doing something right so far this year.
(Oh and I forgot to mention that Christina beat me today -- by 20 seconds!!!!! I have challenged her to a rematch in true Klingon style. Honor demands it! The RnR Chicago Half Marathon will be the battlefield. July 22nd IS a Good Day to Die! LOL)