It has been a long time since I ran anything shorter than a half marathon--with the exception of the CARA 10 miler. Actually the last time I ran a 10k was 10 years ago, and it was this very same race. I don't like to run shorter races for one reason, economy. Since I normally run 6 miles on a training day, it doesn't seem right to me to pay to run a distance that I already run. Of course, I don't race every time I run 6 miles, so there is that to consider.
But since I missed my half marathon in May due to injury and my recovery is going well, I figured I'd run this one. It is my hometown race and I knew I'd see a lot of people I know there. Plus we stayed home this weekend--we are usually out of town over the 4th. My boys begged us to stay home so they could hang out at the festival with their friends.
Surprisingly, I had trouble sleeping last night. I was a little keyed up about the race, I guess. We had a dinner of ribs, which isn't the best pre race fuel. I only ate 3 ribs, so there's that. And I kept telling myself, it's only a 10K.
I drove to the race and was stunned by how difficult it was to find a place to park. One of my friends was riding her bike down to the race and I started to think it was a good idea. I finally parked about 6 blocks away--granted, this is Arlington Heights, not downtown Chicago. I walked to the start line and found myself standing next to one of my neighbors. We made small talk and when the gun went off, I thought he'd take off. Meanwhile I was waiting for my Garmin to get a signal. No such luck. We crossed the start line and away we went.
He ran with me for a few blocks and then pulled ahead. I dropped back into a comfortable pace, trying to take that first mile slow, since I had to run by feel and not by Garmin. I turned up my music and moved along. Interestingly, my neighbor was only about 10 feet ahead of me. At mile 2, though, I passed him.
The race meanders through the neighborhoods. Both the 5K and the 10K runners run together for the first 3 miles. The course isn't packed, but there was a lot of maneuvering to get around slower runners for the first 3 miles. After the 5K runners turned off to the finish, the road opened up. It was at that point that Spotify decided to crap out on me. I ran in silence for a few minutes. I thought I would try it music free. But I really do depend on my music for pacing and to push me, and so I pulled out my phone and restarted the song while I was still running. Thankfully, it was Never Enough by Eminem, which was just the push I needed. I saw another one of my neighbors directing runners.
All along the course, I saw people I knew, which was really fun!
At mile 4 I stopped to get water and catch my breath. I didn't want to do it, but I was running fairly fast, a little out of my comfort zone, and I wanted to get myself back together. Knowing it was a 10K, I was really pushing my pace. After about 20 seconds, I started running again. There were a couple of slight downhills, which really helped me recover and get back into a groove. When I saw the final turn to the finish, I kicked it into high gear. This is only the second race that I have had that final burst of energy at the finish and it feels amazing! I crossed the finish line 53:31, chip time 53:16. Good enough for 2d in my age group. But it wasn't a PR! In my race 10 years ago, I finished 53:08. Only 8 seconds slower in 10 years? I'll take it!
I headed to the snacks and looked for my neighbor to congratulate him, but he was no where to be found. The post race spread was amazing. I grabbed a coconut water, which is my new favorite recovery drink, and a couple Core Power chocolate drinks, which are my go to protein drinks. Delicious! There was fresh cut watermelon and other fruits, kefir, bagels (of course), and water.
I found my friends Karen and Jim, who own the training facility where I work out with Becky. We snapped photos and compared race notes. I headed over to check my results, but was disappointed to find out they weren't complete. I waited and waited, still no results. :( I also ran into my boys' orthodontist, an avid cycler and runner, who crushed his 5K with a time of 20:something. That is smokin' fast, and this guy is around my age! I waited for a while to see if my results came up but they never did, so I finally went home. But as I left, the kids race was starting and it was about the cutest thing I have ever seen. "Be sure to follow the policeman", the announcer said. These little guys were flying down the block and back. Awww....
All in all, a fun time. I just might have to do it again next year!