Sunday, May 29, 2016

Salute 10k Race Recap

"Got freedom?"

Salute, Inc is a local organization in the Chicago suburbs dedicated to helping post 9/11 veterans as they transition back to civilian life. Several of my neighbors and running friends are involved as volunteers and also as part of Team Salute, running the Chicago Marathon not only to raise money but to raise awareness. Every year there is a 5k/10k/Tactical Challenge hosted by the town where I live. We are always out of town Memorial Day weekend, but due to my son's injury, we were home and I decided at the last minute to sign up for the 10k. It's always fun to run a race where you live and this one was no different.



I picked up my race packet at the local running store Saturday on my way home from work. I noticed that the bib had no timing chip. I asked the volunteers about it and they just shrugged their shoulders, responding, "we know nothing. We are just volunteers". The store owner thought maybe the tear off tabs on the bottom of the bib would be used to keep track of finish place. I laughed because this is how races were run years ago! "Keeping it old school, " I commented.

That night, breaking with tradition (I usually have pizza the night before a race) we went to dinner at the BBQ place where my son works. I ordered the pulled pork platter and it was delicious. Later, when he came home from work, Tom told me that the cooks were very concerned about making my food just right. I thought that was kind of cute! Clearly they must have put some good juju into my food, because--spoiler alert--I had a great race.

I woke up to beautiful blue skies, 70 degrees and no humidity. How perfect! The race didn't start until 8, so I had plenty of time for coffee, breakfast, and race preparation. I left my house at 7:30, parked a few blocks from the finish line, and headed to the start line. I found some of my neighbors who were walking the 5k and we caught up before we had to line up. I had hoped for a portapotty stop before I ran but there were only 4 portapotties and the line was ridiculous. With a hope and a prayer that my GI tract would behave, I skipped the portapotty and got ready to race. Since the race wasn't going to be chip timed, I lined up near the front, hoping not to get run over by the faster 5k runners.
My friend Cathy and me. This is actually after the race.
And her beautiful daughters Jackie and Julia.
After an actual prayer (a first at a race for me) and the national anthem, the starter blew the horn. Instead of the loud noise we were all expecting, a bunch of liquid kind of oozed out of the horn. It was hilarious! So he just shouted GO! and we all took off. I went out pretty fast, but I felt good, and decided to keep my pace at 8 min/mile for the first mile and go from there. In these smaller local races, there are a lot of kids and people who don't normally race, and I watched them sprint ahead, only to pass them a mile or so down the road while they walked. Been there, done that. 

At mile 2.5, the 10k runners split off from the 5k runners, and the race became much more relaxed. We ran through the neighborhoods and a lot of people were out in front of their houses, cheering us on. That was pretty awesome. It was a little warm, and a few folks had hoses or sprinklers on the parkway. I took advantage of those. I also stopped twice for water, and walked through the aid stations. Since I was running pretty fast (for me) those stops gave me a chance to regroup. It turned out to be a great strategy for me. Plus I can't run and drink from a cup at the same time. I'm just not that skilled.

About mile 4, I noticed a woman running next to me. We would run together for the rest of the race. I didn't mind. I think we both kept each other going, especially after mile 5, when there was a long straightaway to the finish. That was probably the toughest part of the race for me. You could see the finish line but it was soooooo far away. As we got closer to the finish, my "friend" slowed down a little bit and I pushed across the finish line at 51:54. I saw a woman writing down my bib number and finish time.
No official race photos but my neighbor got one of me approaching the finish line. The woman behind me was my "pacer" for the race.
During the race, I had been checking out all the runners, and since I didn't see a lot of old ladies ahead of me, I was pretty sure I had an AG finish. Once I caught my breath, I headed over to the food tent to wait. There was the usual bagels and bananas. I took a pass. Corner Bakery had a booth with chocolate chip cookies and muffins. I grabbed a water and some cookies and waited for my friends to finish the 5k. I ran into the owners of the CrossFit box where I train with Becky. They were in charge of the Tactical Challenge.

This is me with Juli Aistars. She is a legend in the ultramarathoning world--and a hometown gal. She's also really fast and I'm glad she's not in my age group this year.
Once the race was completely over, the awards ceremony began. For sure, you knew you were at a hometown race. They would announce some winners, and then someone would interrupt for a moment on the mic--some little girls selling crafts, a guy selling his cookbooks-- and it was kind of amusing.

The announcer finally called out the 10k winners and I was happy to find out that I came in 2d place in my AG. The woman who came in first always wins--she's super fast. Interestingly, the woman I ran with came in first in her 45-49y age group. She came over to thank me for sticking with her! I believe that we got each other through the tough middle miles.



Overall, this was a fun, well run race. I was surprised to receive official results shortly after the race--someone was busy entering them into the computer! Would I do this one again? Of course! For $35, you can't beat it. It's for a great cause, and it's my hometown race. It was really fun for me to run the 10k distance, and I've gotten pretty good at pacing myself for this distance. I would consider doing the Tactical Challenge next year, just for fun. If we are in town, that is.

The only medals for this race were the AG medals. Incentive to run fast!
Did you run any races for Memorial Day? Do you prefer small hometown races to big races?

I'm linking up with Tricia and Holly for the Weekly Wrap!

94 comments :

  1. Congrats on placing ! I like smaller races once in a while but generally speaking I prefer big, crowded races. Enjoy your long weekend. Lots like you have great weather.

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    1. Thank you! The little local races are always fun for me. I like the feel of running through my hometown. But I do like the spectacle of a big race too!

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  2. Awesome race! I ran the Soldier Field 10 miler yesterday and gosh was it humid! Not a PR day for me.

    I think I know who you say "always wins your age group". We ran next to each other for most of the Frontier Days race last year. You two are so inspiring!

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    1. Yep, she's from Palatine so it makes sense that you know her. I had to work Saturday, so I couldn't do SF10. I'm actually glad it worked out the way it did.

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  3. I've never done a 10k! I've done 5k's and half-marathons and my one full marathon, but I really need to find a local 10k and run it! You were so speedy!!!!

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    1. I like the 10k distance. It's short enough that you can pretty much push it but you do have to hold back so you don't run out of gas.

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  4. Go girl!!! Congrats on your AG finish! When I saw you raced I was like, what is Wendy doing she just ran Bug Sur! Nothing stops you. ;)

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  5. I love this recap, especially as the race was in your home town. I also love that you and the woman who came in first in her AG were pushing each other, with grace and sorority. Isn't that what it's all about? Congratulation on placing #2. So awesome. Now take care of that foot, my friend. <3

    I love, too, that the kids who work with your son were so solicitous toward you. A moment of grace.

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    1. Yeah, no doubt I aggravated my PF. Ugh. Hopefully a day or 2 of rest will calm it right back down.

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  6. You are 53?!! What?! You look so much younger than that and are SO fast! I'm 37 and could never hold an 8:22 pace for a 10K! Awesome race and congrats on your AG place!

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    1. Well, aren't you just the nicest? There were some AG awards for the 70-74 year old ladies who ran the 5k and those ladies looked great. They were a perfect example of what fitness can do to slow the aging process.

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  7. I love the small hometown races! You had an excellent finish time. I don't think I've ever received a finisher's medal for a 5k or 10k. If you want bling, you have to run extra hard I guess. AND YOU DID! Congrats on your placement. I can't drink from a cup while running either. I do this weird power walk looking thing. Enjoy the remainder of the holiday weekend and thanks for linking Wendy!

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    1. Some of the bigger races around here give out medals for 5k and 10k races. I think it's a little ridiculous, personally. But an AG medal? Bring it on!

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  8. Small races can be so much fun! Great job today and a what a confidence booster for you!

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  9. Great cause and congrats on the 2nd place AG!

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  10. Awesome job and congrats on 2nd in AG!! I like both types of races! Small races are nice because you have a better chance of placing. :) Big races are great because there tends to be more energy and spectators to cheer you on.

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    1. And it's sweet placing in the hometown race, for sure!

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  11. Congrats! It's fun to do smaller local races, especially when they are well-organized. Great cause too!

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    1. This was a race I'd do over and over.

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  12. Nice job!! I also did a small, neighborhood race this weekend. There was no chip timing and they only gave awards for first place overall and AG. I managed 2nd in my AG but no award. It was tough with no chip timing and weaving around lots of kids who all wanted to start in the front!

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    1. That's why I lined up in the front--all those kids were taking off. They pooped out pretty quickly.

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  13. Congrats on a great race. Smaller races have a very nice feel and how nice that you had someone to run with for much of the race.

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    1. When I realized she was running with me, at first I was like what? But very quickly I realized how great that would be.

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  14. I love smaller races! Congrats on your 10K! You're not getting older, you're getting better!!

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    1. Thank you! Just following in your epic footsteps!

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  15. Congratulations on placing in your age group!!!! So weird for races not to have a chip time. My race in WV had no mat at the start line so that was interesting.

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    1. It's how they did races "back in the day" when I first started running! I'm all about technology, so this was interesting.

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  16. Congrats on placing in your AG! That is awesome!!!

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    1. Thank you! I actually am more excited about the PR! Who PRs in a 10k at 53?

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  17. I'm glad you posted this because I was going to do a local 5K for relay for life but found out it isn't chip timed. They said they aren't chip timing it cus they wanted to save money yet they are giving everyone a tech shirt. I know it's for a good cause but I understood it to mean if it's not chip timed than there are no AG awards or anything but perhaps that might not be the case?

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    1. Not at all, and in fact, I received official results, meaning from RaceTime, a few hours after the race!

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  18. No Memorial Day racing for me. Went for a bike ride this morning. I do have one that I usually do on July 4th. I like small town races.

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    1. I did a bike ride today as well. There's a July 4th race here that I usually do, but we may be out of town for that one!

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  19. I took this weekend off from racing because I've been racing a lot and the kiddo had a soccer tournament. It turned out to be a crazy hot weekend, so I was glad to take a break.

    I ran a Salute race in Illinois a few years back. They were very organized and it was fun to run a small town race. Great job on your race.

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    1. You really deserve the whole summer off! I feel like such a slacker when I read your race recaps!

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  20. Congratulations on your AG award!!
    It sounds like a great race and a really wonderful organization.

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  21. I know I've already mentioned it but I absolutely LOVE your tank top! Congrats on a great race!

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    1. Thank you! Athleta! I got it this spring, so they may still have it.

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  22. Sounds like an awesome race! Your neighbor got a great pic of you! She should be a race photographer haha. Congrats on the AG placement! It's always nice to pick someone out to keep pace with.

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    1. He was taking pictures for the race--he's kind of an amateur photographer. I'm thrilled that he got that one of me. There won't be any "official" pictures for this no-frills race.

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  23. Congrats on the age placement! It sounds like a great race. I tentatively want to do a Memorial Day race next year.

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  24. Congrats on placing second in your AG! I love finding pacers in a race and happened to have a nice 28-year-old young man as my rabbit to chase in last week's Chicago Spring Half (hoping to recap it on Thursday). I also had a delicious southwest chicken salad at the Corner Bakery after my race - my first time eating there.

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    1. It really worked out well--I was struggling with my pace but the inner competitor in me kept pushing to keep up with her!

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  25. Congrats on the strong finish! I love local races -- especially since it means you get to sleep in. :-P That's a great shot your neighbor took. It's better than most of my official photos!

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  26. Congrats on your AG award! Love that you and that other woman helped each other to strong finishes. I've always been grateful when that happened to me.

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  27. Incredible work, Wendy! You did amazing! And what a great cause, to boot!

    I ran a local Memorial Day 5K today. It's a smaller local race and I love it. I do a combo of huge races, and smaller ones. Each have their own place in my heart. Sometimes I feel more pressure at the smaller races, and it's nice to "disappear" in the larger ones.

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    1. I love these Memorial Day Races. What a great way to commemorate the day.

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  28. That is an awesome 10K time! Congrats on the AG place :)
    I love smaller local races like that. Usually you don't have to deal with dodging in and out people and that is nice.
    You are looking awesome, all that work with Becky is paying off!

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    1. Thank you! She really keep me on my toes!

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    1. I don't know about incredible but it sure was fun!

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  30. Woot!!!! What an awesome race for you! Congrats!! (I'm about 12-hours behind with all of my blogging/reading/commenting....4+hours in the car both ways, fun!)

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    1. This was just a really fun day for me! The AG was great but the PR was really the highlight!

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  31. Awesome job Wendy! Congrats on your 2nd place AG finish! Hometown races are the best! I love them just because you can sleep in and not worry about driving far.

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    1. That is definitely a plus! Parking is a breeze too.

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  32. Congrats on the finish and the win. 10K has become a favorite distance.

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    1. I'm liking the shorter distances these days as well!

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  33. Congrats on a great race and snagging an AG win Wendy! I've run that one a couple of times and my 10k PR is there as well. You have to go out hard with all those crazy, weaving little boys. ;)

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    1. That's why I lined up front. Those pushy parents, don't they want to teach their kids about race etiquette? :p

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  34. Congrats on that speedy 10K and AG Award! Awesome job!

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  35. Congratulations!! You killed it!!! Community races like this are my absolute fav. So glad you had a good race.

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    1. There's always the pressure of doing well in front of your neighbors, right?

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  36. Congrats on the AG award! I love the feel of smaller races and the local vibe that they have. Don't get me wrong, big races are fun too, but its always fun to mix things up a bit.

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  37. Congratulations on the AG award and the PR. And 70 is quite warm, too, so I imagine you could shave even more time off of that PR in the fall. That's really wonderful that you found an impromptu running partner to help motivate you toward the end. You look super strong in that finish line photo!

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    1. I have to admit, I really like these shorter races!

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  38. Nice job! Congrats on your 2nd AG! I love those small hometown races that are a throwback to how races used to be!

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    1. Me too! It's nice to run in a smaller race too.

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  39. Great race lady! I love the small hometown races, they are so much fun! I start my summer 5K series this weekend and I am looking forward to seeing what I can do! I need to pair up with someone or trail right behind them and see if that gets me to the finish a little faster! :)

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    1. I haven't done a 5k in years! I may have to do one, just to see how I pace myself.

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  40. Congratulations on your AG award! It sounds like a really cool race! You look great on your pictures! Can we say "super photogenic runner?"

    I did a small 5K for Memorial day, it was nice!

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    1. Well, thank you! I think it helps that I didn't know the photographer was there! LOL!

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  41. Congrats on a great race! And agree with sometimes having an unknowing pacer during tough miles. I love smaller races also for the potential to AG place. I am never going to in a big race but it is a nice treat to be competitive on the smaller scale!

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    1. It was really good incentive to push my pace, for sure!

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  42. Great job Wendy and Congratulations on 2nd in your age group, you are one speedy lady!! I have started to do more local races, as I enjoy that "hometown" atmosphere as well :-)

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    1. It was really fun to let it all out!

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  43. Congrats on your awesome 10K time and AG placement! I prefer small town races for 5K's and 10K's. I like the competitive edge of a smaller field. I like larger races for half and full marathons. I love the support of other runners and the crowd of spectators.

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    1. I think you hit the nail on the head!

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  44. You got girl! What a great race recap! Congrats...you inspire me!

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    1. Thank you! It was a really fun experience!

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  45. What an awesome organization to assist veterans transition to civilian life. As a veteran myself and a Navy wife, I appreciate these types of organizations. Congrats on a great run and the AG place!

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  46. Wait did I read this right, a first time at a race with a prayer? Wow! just wow! It's a staple in just about every race I've run in.
    I love a small town race and usually yes that's the only medals given out is AG awards! I was so glad to win my seashell this past weekend, it could have been a block of gold and I would have been just as pleased! Congratulations to you Wendy that is a great pace!

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    1. No prayers at any race I've ever run! Only the national anthem. And I ran a race without that once too. Now that felt weird.

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  47. Congrats on a solid race and your AG place! This sounds like a great race. I love all of the cute, small-town touches it had (like the announcements during the awards ceremony and the starting horn malfunction). There's is nothing better than getting to sleep in your own bed the night before the race and not having to get up super early to travel to/park at a race.

    A lot of the races I run have prayers at the beginning. I never realized this may not be the norm!

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    1. I don't think I've ever run a race when there were prayers, so for sure it's not the norm around here!

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