Sunday, April 19, 2015

CARA Lakefront 10 miler race report: PR and IPA


The Live Grit CARA Lakefront 10 miler has to be one of my favorite races. I don't normally run races repeatedly, but this was my 3rd time running this one, and I still love it. The last 2 times I ran this race, I ran it alone, but this year I had the company of my friends Sara and Marcia. We met at my house, and I made them wait while I finished my pre-race breakfast of Cheerios and OJ. The drive into the city was easy and pleasant, as we chatted and gossiped. We got to the race about 1 hour before the start time, and snagged a free! parking spot on the street near the start of the race.

In contrast to the last 2 times I ran this one, the temperature was warm, about 60 degrees and it was sunny. I left my throwaway sweatshirt in the car. This is the third race I've worn this sweatshirt, and I have yet to throw it away. I'm starting to think that this sweatshirt is full of good juju, because every race I've worn it to has been a PR for me. Maybe I need to think twice about tossing it!

Truth be told, I don't even know where this sweatshirt came from!
Anyways, we headed to the gear check tent, left our bags of essentials, and made a stop at the porta-potties. There were a ton of them, and the lines were very short.

Marcia, me, and Sara
We had some time to kill, so we walked over to the lakefront and got some photos. Marcia had plans to connect with Emily, and we walked over to meet her. What a nice person! If you don't already read her blog, you should. She's even more warm and bubbly in person! She introduced Sara and me to Erin and Zenaida, some other local bloggers. It was great to meet them.

Erin, Marcia, Sara, me, Zenaida, and Emily
One more portapotty stop, and I suddenly realized that I left my bottle of Tailwind in my gear bag. I ran over to the gear check and helped the volunteers dig through all the bags to try and find it. When we located it, I ran back to Sara and Marcia, made one more potty stop, and got in line for the race. I lined up with the 8:30 minute milers, hoping for a repeat of my Get Lucky performance. The national anthem was sung, the gun went off, and away we went.

The first 4 miles of the course are kind of a loop-de-loop, and there's giant hill thrown in for fun after mile 3. Personally, I think the hill is stupid. It was probably a garbage pile at one time that the park district covered with dirt and grass. The course runs through the grass, up the hill, and back down onto the path. I started the race too fast, and by the time I finished the hill, I felt like I was going to throw up. I tried hard to get a grip on my pace and my confidence. I got into my head and started sending positive thoughts to my brain. I focused on my music and the motivational lyrics. I worked on getting the pace under control. After the nausea calmed down, I started sipping on my Tailwind. My mind kept screaming quit, walk, but my will wouldn't let me do that. I fought that battle for about 2 miles. It took every ounce of self control to keep running.

By about mile 5, I started to feel much better. I looked down at my watch and saw my split for that mile was 8:23. Seeing that gave me an enormous boost, knowing that I was still running fast and that I felt so much better. I continued along that path at that pace, and I knew then that I would finish this thing strong.

Until mile 6. We had been running south on the lakefront path, with the wind at our backs. When the course turned north, the wind off the lake had picked up and it hit like a cold blast of ice water. I felt at once point that I was being pushed backwards. Mile 7 was difficult, and my split was 8:49. That made me mad. I had already battled through my too fast start, and now this? Determined not to let the wind get the best of me, I continued down the path. There were a lot of trees at this point, and they seemed to be breaking the wind. There were points along the final 4 miles where the wind was just brutal, though. Looking at my splits, I did a good job of battling with it.

I wasn't the only one affected by the wind. I started passing people. There were a couple women that I remember from the start, and I caught up to them. After mile 9, I passed them too. I don't know what happened at mile 9, but my legs started to fly. I spotted a woman in an Oiselle singlet. One of the flock. She looked about my age, and I tried so hard to pass her! As we approached the finish line, I continued to try to catch her. She crossed the finish line shortly before I did. That last mile split was 8:05!


After the race, I went up to her, congratulated her, and told her how I tried to pass her. We joked about being "older", and she asked me how old I was. I told her, and she told me she was 60! My jaw dropped and we talked briefly about this. She said she's been running her best since her 50s. Thrilled to hear this, I hugged her, and wished her luck in her future races. How inspiring was that?

Happy to celebrate with my PR with an IPA!
I met up with Sara, who had a great race but also struggled with the wind. While we waited for Marcia to finish, we collected our gear and put our long sleeves on to warm back up. With the wind picking up off Lake Michigan, the temperature definitely dropped. It was cold. Once we found Marcia, we headed to the beer corral so I could have my celebratory Lagunitas IPA. It's so rare that a race has decent beer at the finish, and I wasn't going to miss out on this one! We reconnected with Emily, Erin, and Zenaida, and talked about the race. The shock of the wind at mile 6 was a common theme heard over and over.

But in spite of my troubles in the beginning and then the wind, what a fun race! Racing in Chicago is always a crapshoot. Here we thought we were going to be too warm, and then mid-race, the wind shifted off the lake, bringing brutal winds and cooler temps to the runners. I was grateful not to overheat, but that was just ridiculous. Since you can't control the weather, you make the best of the day, and that's what we did. It was great to spend the morning with my friends, and to meet some new friends too. Getting to this race is easy and parking is cheap and easy, unheard of for a race in Chicago. Since this race is sponsored by the Chicago Area Runners Association, it is well organized. And who doesn't love a 10 miler?

I'm happy with what turned out to be a 4 minute PR for me, even though my fast finish only got me 5/48 in my age group. This is a tough, competitive race--I call it a runners' race--but that's what I like about it. I'm keeping this one on my must do list.

The final results:

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I'm linking this post up Tara at RunningNReading for her Weekend Update!


84 comments :

  1. Great job scoring a new PR! and very inspiring about the 60 year old lady! and way to go battling the wind and passing people at the end. Sounds like you finished strong.

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  2. Congrats again on a great race! I agree it's one I'd do again for sure. Not sure how I've missed it all these years. I love the 10 mile distance.

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    1. I really do like this one, in spite of that dumb hill.

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  3. Wendy!! That is great. You battled through the wind and a 4 minute PR! I love watching your times get faster and faster. Love you.

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    1. I don't know how much faster I'll get at this point. It's all good! Love you back!

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  4. You are a beast (but in a very likable way)! Congrats on your awesome PR!!!!! Yes, the wind. We battle it in Iowa almost year-round, and our wind has that not-so-fresh agricultural essence about it more often then not (eeeew!). FYI, the University of Northern Iowa is in Cedar Falls... an 80-minute drive from my doorstep. Come on out my way, and I'll take you there :-)

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    1. It's a plan! The sweatshirt is getting a reputation. I think I need to see its origins!

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  5. Congrats on your PR. I love running the same races over if they are that good and fun :)

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    1. And 10 miles! So few races at this distance, and it really is my favorite!

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  6. Fantastic race! Congratulations! If I were you..... I would NEVER ditch that sweatshirt! :)

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  7. Congrats! Nice time and pacing - awesome last mile. Very fast AG competitors, for sure. Hope you enjoyed that IPA - I love it when there is good beer at the finish. Although I asked for a Fat Tire at one triathlon with a good beer selection and the athlete next to me thought I was saying I had a flat tire and was expressing his sympathy...which was confusing until we figured out the misunderstanding!

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    1. That's hilarious! Yep, the beer was tasty. They had a pilsner too, which was new this year! And yes, the racers are fast in this one!

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  8. Great job, Wendy! You're on such a roll this year--very happy for you. And love that you got to hang w/ Marcia and meet so many other bloggers.

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    1. I hope to keep riding this wave. It sure has been fun!

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  9. Congratulations! What a wonderful day for you!

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    1. Even though I struggled, it turned out to be a great race and a fun day!

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  10. HUGE CONGRATULATIONS on your monster PR, Wendy!!! Despite those challenging winds at the end, you totally crushed it! Way to push through!!!

    I agree that you should probably never get rid of that throwaway sweatshirt. Even if it's just a mental boost, take it in whatever way you possibly can. =)

    It was SO AWESOME getting to meet you in person!!! Being able to see friends at these festivities is one of my very favorite race perks! And thank you so much for the very nice words about me. You are too kind!!!

    On a side note, I think a lot of folks would love to hear more about your husband's at-home brewing and his competition judging. Maybe you could write a post about it someday?!?!?

    I hope you had a great rest of the weekend! Can't wait to see you again at another race in the near future!

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    1. I'm so glad we got to meet. I look forward to seeing you at more races in the future!! :)

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  11. Congrats on another great race, Wendy! You've been working hard and running hard lately and it's definitely paying off. Hope you're resting your legs and enjoying your sense of accomplishment!

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    1. This was supposed to be a training run! But it was so hard not to race it. I've got a half in 2 weeks, and then some much needed rest.

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  12. I love the story about the 60 year old...definitely inspiring....and I recognize Emily ...I have never met her, but have seen her pictures on Facebook...she is married to one of my high school classmates.....small, small world!!

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    1. That is a small world! You just never know who knows who!

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  13. Congrats! You're having an awesome running year! Meeting bloggers in real life is one of the best things about blogging. When are we going to meet :)

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    1. Seriously? That relay in Wisconsin sold out in one hour. So we'll have to figure something out...

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  14. WOW! Fantastic, well done. You must have that lovely proud feeling today - well done again.

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  15. It's always fun to meet up with other bloggers at races. You've been crushing it lately!! Nice

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  16. Great job as always my friend!!! I am truly in awe of your ability to have such strong races every time!!! WOO HOO!!!! <3

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    1. I have to credit my coach for instilling that mental toughness. But it's always a work in progress!

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  17. Congratulations!!!! Love reading the race recap, makes me want to get my shoes on and head outside :)

    Jen@jpabstfitness

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  18. Nice race recap! and congrats on that finish, you had a great run! I hope I am faster in my 50's :) you are giving me something to look forward to!

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  19. Congrats on the finish! The medals are really nice!!!

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  20. Wow! Amazing job, you are seriously on fire! All of that crossfit is working wonders for you! Looks like a beautiful course. I would love to run there again someday!

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  21. It must have been very inspiring for you to meet someone older who has been getting faster since turning 50. I know you are concerned about just that! Great RACE! Love the medal.

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    1. It really made me happy to know that my best days aren't necessarily behind me!!!

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  22. Nice job Wendy! Congratulations on you PR!!! I would so hang on to that sweatshirt! :)

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  23. Congratulations on your PR!!! This seems to be your year! Seems like a great race...you rocked it!

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    1. From your lips to Gods ears...I've still got some unfinished business!!

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  24. awesome job! way to get that PR. i'm headed your way - going to chicago tomorrow for a conference all week :)

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    1. Brrrr! Chicago is living up to its nickname this week!

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  25. Congrats on hitting your PR!!!!

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  26. PR!! Woo hoo! Congrats! That was one tough age division.

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    1. Right? What's up with all the fast old ladies?

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  27. Congratulations on your PR! Here in Philadelphia runners are gearing up for the Broad Street Run. It is Also a 10 miler from almost one end of the city to the other.

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  28. Wendy, congrats on an awesome race in some challenging conditions - whew! What a day! I really enjoyed seeing your pics over the weekend via social media; that sunshine is very deceiving though, because I kept thinking how excited I was for you to have such great weather for the race - ha! Thanks so much for linking up with the blog; hope your week is off to a great start!

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    1. The whole day was deceiving--started out so warm and then the wind turned on us. Gotta love spring in Chicago!

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  29. Celebrating a PR post race with a beer is the only way to do it! Way to go!

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  30. Nice job! What a great pace!

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  31. WOW I love your stats and wish I could run a race at that nice pace! You did a great job and I would love to run alongside a lake.

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    1. Maybe a different lake than lake Michigan! After living here my whole life, you'd think I'd be used to it, but it never fails to amaze me how much the big lake affects our weather!

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  32. Keep rockin' it, Sista! The sky's the limit!

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  33. Congrats on your PR. That race sounds like it was a fun one with lots of nice runners. How fun to race it with friends too!

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  34. So inspiring - girl you are just rocking it!! Love the recap here, I felt like I was there with you!! Esp at the end

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  35. Great job on the race! I'm not an IPA fan, but I'd totally drink that beer - just in appreciation of a good beer after a race LOL.

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    1. Oh, Erika, it was delish! They also had a pilsner this year!

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  36. Congrats on a great PR! That is an amazing time. I agree that is a hard core runners race looking at the standings.
    You just never know what is going to happen when you start event, great job at mentally toughing it out and finishing very strong.

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    1. I'm just glad I could power through the negative voices and the ill feeling! That in itself was a huge accomplishment!

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  37. Dude, I don't think I've ever run a single mile at that pace, let alone 10. Nicely done!

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  38. Congratulations on a great PR - that's awesome! You definitely need to hand on to that sweater :)

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  39. Nice job!! I currently can't even hold that pace for a 5K let alone a 10 miler ;) I have run many races with beer at the end yet have not had beer at the end of a race ever...I am always having stomach pains/cramps!

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    1. To me, the sign of a great race is being able to have the beer! I've run plenty of races when I couldn't!

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  40. Congrats on a great race! You can really never predict how a run in Chicago is going to go. The weather changes instantly.

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    1. Seriously. I've never had such a dramatic temperature drop during a race, but I should expect it!

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