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!|
|Marcia, me, and Sara|
|Erin, Marcia, Sara, me, Zenaida, and Emily|
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!|
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:
I'm linking this post up Tara at RunningNReading for her Weekend Update!