Sunday, March 19, 2017

Race Recap: Wintrust Lakefront 10 Miler

Do you have a favorite race that you do over and over? For me, the Wintrust Lakefront 10 miler is one of those races. Over the years, the name of the race has changed, but the race remains the unofficial kickoff to the Chicago race season. Organized by the Chicago Area Runners Association, this is a "runners' race". The field is fast, the race is well planned, and the post-race party is exceptional. The only thing left to chance is the weather, and more often than not, the weather is a factor for the runners.

This was my 4th time running this race. I struggled with my pacing this week, as my RA symptoms started to increase. Coupled with the forecasted cool, cloudy, windy conditions, I wasn't sure how this race was going to go for me. My PR of 1:24:27 took place 2 years ago. I knew I wasn't going to PR today--I hoped to at least sub-1:30. My friend Kim from Running on the Fly decided to join me for this one. I figured if nothing else, we'd have a good time!


Kim arrived at my house Friday evening. Over Lou Malnati's pizza and wine, we caught up on life and discussed running and blogging. My husband retreated to the basement after dinner--he said he wanted to watch the NCAA tournament, but I'm pretty sure he had his fill of running talk. About 9:30, I told Kim I had to go to bed. I know she's a night owl, but we had an early wake-up call.

We were on the road by 6:45 am to give ourselves plenty of time for packet pick up. When we arrived at Wilson beach, there was plenty of free parking and we left the car to get our bibs. We were stunned by the cold wind and as soon as we got our packets and hit the porta potties, we headed back to the car to stay warm. I put on a base layer under my pullover and chit-chatted to pass the time.


When it was time to line up, we shivered over to the holding area. I finished up my pre-race Tailwind and we lined up with the 9 minute milers. At 9 am, the Star Spangled Banner was sung and we crossed the start line.

Initially, we headed out into the wind. Kim chatted away and I was just happy to listen. We chugged along. At the end of mile 2, we headed into the wind, up Cricket Hill, which is a grass covered garbage hill in the middle of the field. After the descent, we ran south on the lakefront path with the wind at our backs. Ahhhh....

At mile 4, Kim asked how I was feeling. Not so great, to tell you the truth. My calves felt weird and I felt kind of yucky. She asked if I wanted to walk and I said no. I sipped my Tailwind and we kept going. We stopped a few times for Kim to fuel and drink water. That helped me catch my breath.

We turned onto Diversey at mile 6. I asked Kim if we could stop for a picture. I don't know if you can see it, but we had a great view of the Chicago skyline, including the John Hancock building. We probably lost a few minutes there, but we were ok with that. This race was about fun.


After our stop, it was north back into the wind. We ran along Diversey Harbor and all the empty boat slips. I kept envisioning summer and all those slips filled with boats. Last time I ran this, there was a guy on a SUP in the empty harbor. Today, no one was foolish enough to do that.

At mile 8, the Tailwind kicked in fully and I got a second wind. I put a little kick in my step and hoped Kim would follow me. I looked over my shoulder and she was back there, pushing along. I paced with a guy in front of me in a bright orange shirt. I don't think he liked me pushing him because he kept speeding up. I looked at my Garmin, and I was running 8:41m/m. This is a nice way to wrap up a race, isn't it?

Mile 9 and there was Cricket Hill again. I commented to the guy with the megaphone who was shouting encouragement to the runners: "this is mean". He agreed and yelled me up the hill. I kept telling myself not to walk. I was wheezing when I hit the summit and took it easy on the downhill. Then it was on to the track. Oh, but we weren't one time around and done. We had to do 2 laps around. Really?

I crossed the finish line in 1:32:37 chip time, 1:33:40 gun time. My Garmin measured the course at 10.10. Regardless, I was happy to finish and I was happy with my run. Yes, it took me little longer than I wanted. What if....we hadn't stopped for those photos and water? What if....


No matter. For many reasons, this run meant so much to me. Much like Kristina did at Big Sur, I had a friend who kept me moving. I don't know that I would have done this well alone. I ran the entire race without music. That's another win for me. Even if I had run faster, I wouldn't have placed at this race--this is a fast field and I knew this going into the race. Most important of all, this was a win for my battle against RA.

I'm still me.

And they had beer at the finish line. Good beer. Lagunitas IPA. This runner was happy.


Would I do this race again? Of course. I love this race. I love the 10 mile distance. I love the beer. And I loved having a friend along for this one. Running is always better with a friend! Especially one who loves to plank as much as I do. I'm looking forward to starting Grandma's marathon training. Kim will be at that race too. Lucky me!

Pre race plank with thumbs up!



What's your favorite distance? Have you ever had a friend push you through a tough race or run? This is my second race with a friend--it was another fantastic experience. 

I'm linking up with Holly and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap, as well as Angela and Ilka for their Sunday Fitness and Food Link Up!



94 comments :

  1. Yay! You kicked that RA's booty to the hill!! This was a fantastic race fir be as well....always a fab time with a fab gal pal

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    1. That was such a fun race! I'm so glad you came to run it with me! If only Mama nature had cooperated.

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  2. So glad that you guys survived the chilly morning! I ran this race a several years ago, and I think that it is pretty different now. So glad that you had a great running friend to support you--I'm sure you helped her quite a bit as well!

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    1. It was a lot of fun having someone to run it with!

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  3. Must have been so much fun to run with Kim. I love the 10 mile distance too. Not too many of those around here though....looking forward to following your marathon training. You rock Wendy.

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  4. You both look fantastic! What a fun race, cold looking for sure but fun! Nice that Kim could join you! I think 10 miles is a great distance too- still a big enough challenge for me! The pictures & fun will be remembered longer than your finish time- nice job! :)

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    1. Looking forward to making some memories with you this week!

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  5. I like the idea of the track finish (well not twice around) but twice up that freaking hill?? Ugh. Way to push through a raw, windy day. So fun that Kim stayed with you!

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  6. This is a fun race. I did the 5k this year and running the track at the end was tough. I couldn't imagine doing it twice!

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    1. I didn't mind the track as much I whined about--after Cricket Hill, it felt easier!

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  7. Love having those races that you come back to year after year! As for the finish time, you know what I say...NO RAGERTS <---favorite tattoo misspelling, LOL. Sounds like you and Kim had a great time. :)

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    1. Haha! Love those tattoo misspells! We drove by a few tattoo parlors, but I let it go.

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  8. Sounds like a great event and even better with a friend! It's been ages since I've run a race with anyone, they are all faster then me now :)

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    1. Running with a friend is new to me but it's a fantastic experience!

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  9. Congratulations on the finish!! I just ran tube Mercedes Half that's one I coukdnt do over and over. The Brooklyn Half was fun too.

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    1. There are races that are one and done, and there are those that I keep coming back to. Funny how the hometown ones are the ones I like to repeat.

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  10. It sounds like so much fun that you got to run this with Kim! I love the 10 miler distance. Congrats!

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  11. Awesome job on the race! Having a friend for motivation to keep going is always so much better! I've actually never run the CARA 10 miler... bad Chicag runner am I!

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    1. This is one of my favorite races! You have to do it!

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  12. Way to go Wendy! And so great that Kim was there to run it with you!

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    1. I was so happy she came to run with me!

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  13. So glad Kim got to come and race with you! Yes I've run with a friend at a couple races. That's so awesome you were able to pick up the pace at the end! I am starting to like the 10k distance a lot thanks to my last minute race last weekend. I signed up for another one this weekend! I'm excited! Congratulations to you and Kim!

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    1. This was a 10 miler, but I do like the 10k distance as well.

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  14. Congrats!! You did great. You are strong and inspiring! I wish we had more 10 mile races. I like that distance too. Must be fun running a race with someone else. I have never done it. My friends are either a lot slower or faster.

    Enjoy Fla.

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  15. Great recap! I don't really have a favorite race distance: anything between 5k and a half (since that's the longest distance I've run to date), since I do all my races for fun! Luckily, I have a BRF who does races with me, so I always have an encourager along with me when I need it!

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    1. I haven't done many races with friends, but it's really fun when I get the chance!

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  16. You know I love 10 milers, but the lakefront can be so windy! So glad you and Kim got together and had a good time. They changed the course on the 10 miler I ran 2 weeks ago so we had to run 3/4 way around the track instead of 1/4 and that was bad enough. 2 laps would be torture!

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    1. The only good thing I can say about those 2 laps is that they came after the torturous hill.

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  17. I say those cute photos and smiles are worth a few min on your times. Looks like you 2 had a great race!

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  18. Have a great time in Florida!! Soak up that sun! Looks like you two had a blast at your race!

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  19. Congrats to both you and Kim on a great race! I loved reading your recap and felt like I was right there with you and Kim. Great job on pushing through. And stopping to take a picture? Absolutely! When a race is all about having fun with a friend, go for it!

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    1. I'm starting to realize that it's all about the ride!

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  20. Fantastic job and congrats on your race! Way to pick up that pace at the end! I think my favorite distance is the half.

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    1. Yeah, those last couple of miles were fun! I've been training like that and it was nice to see it happen at a race.

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  21. Congrats!! And how fun to have a friend to join you! I wish we had more ten mile races around here, it's my favorite race distance!

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  22. I read this twice. And yet? I still come back to three words as my fave thing about this post:
    IM STILL ME.

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    1. That I did as well as I did felt really really good. Yep.

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  23. Love all the great pictures, looks like a great time! Great job to you both. twice around the track is a little mean. My husband's eyes don't take long to glaze over with the running talk, sometimes he tries, but it looks painful for him. I am sure that's the look I get when he starts talking about bulls and things... that's nice honey

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    1. I just nod a lot and act interested like the good wife that I am...

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  24. It's nice when you find a race that you love that much. For me its a locak 5K/10K race in June and I've done the race for 5 years. It's the biggest race in my city and raises money for cancer.

    So awesome that you were able to meet up with a friend for a race - that's the best!

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    1. You are so right--I love the distance of 10 miles, so this is a favorite. But my other favorite is the Chicago marathon, which I've run 3 times!

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  25. Sometimes, like you said, it's more about the experience and what you've overcome. Racing is about so much more than times! So proud of you!!!

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    1. Thanks! This was definitely a defining race for me. Now on to the next distance...the half in May.

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  26. Congratulations! It looks like a tough race but of course you and Kim did a great job even with the short breaks! I still need to meet you two ladies...!

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  27. I discovered there's a hill at the end of the Bolder Boulder to get into Folsom Stadium. All I could think of was "this is mean!" too. It's just plain wrong to have an up-hill at the end of the course.

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    1. I was thinking about the end of the race hills that so many RDs seem to throw in. Why? Why?

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  28. Congrats on your finish! I have only ran one ten miler but I do like that distance! I also raced this weekend and conditions were Awful! I didn't even stick around for the free beer. It is always fun racing with a friend. My friend paced my last year during a half and got me to a PR.

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    1. I'm pretty sure Kim would have been happy to leave but I just had to have my post race Lagunitas. It is such a treat and I always joke that is the only reason I run this thing!

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  29. This looks like fun and so cool you met up with Kim for it. I think 10 miles is the perfect distance.

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  30. Heyyyy! Great race you guys! My bff and running partner Lora pushes me all the time, but we don't race together so I'm not sure how she'd be during a race. My best races are done when I have someone pushing me a bit. Friendly competition is fun, and then we shake hands at the finish line and introduce ourselves. I love the running community!

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    1. Even when I haven't run with a friend, I've always spotted someone in the race with whom I seem to be pacing! It's kind of fun to meet up with them at the finish and thank them for pushing me.

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  31. I have never, ever run a longer race with a friend. I've done some shorter ones with friends. Although we often don't finish together -- I pull her through practice and she smokes me on race day, after falling behind in the beginning!

    I'm so happy you had Kim to help you through this. I've never done a 10 mile race. But I do have a few I do like to do again & again, if I'm around.

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    1. I think we kept each other going--I know this was close to her PR for the distance and she was shocked at our negative splits! But I've been training for that, so it worked out well.

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  32. Great race, Wendy! You continue to inspire!

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  33. A run with a friend who encourages you is the best! With the cold weather and the hills, you showed RA your guns and forged through it.
    There aren't any 10-mi races in San Diego but I would like to try one. My favorite distance is a half marathon which we have plenty of those here!

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    1. It's so funny because in a half, I always start to fade at mile 10. Clearly I need to work on that!

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  34. Congratulations on an awesome race Wendy!! That is amazing!! that medal looks really cool!!

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    1. It's so funny that the first time I ran this race, there was no medal. Then they had medals but they were no great shakes. Now they've upped their game. There was no 5k either until last year.

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  35. Sounds like so much fun! It's always better to race with a friend, isn't it? That way you can push each other when you need it, or take a break and have fun if you feel like running for run. Best of both worlds. Congrats on a great finish!

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  36. So much fun! (Well, except for that freezing wind!).

    I love racing/running with friends. It changes the whole experience. There are a few races where I'm content to go solo, but for the most part, it's so much better with running buddies.

    10Ks are my favorite distance to race. We have one 10 miler around here, and quite frankly, it kicks my butt every time. Too hot, too late and the big reason I do it is because it fits perfectly into my November half training plan. For some reason, I just can't get the hang of it.

    So glad it was a great time for you!

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    1. I think 10ks are hard! I like to "race" them, so I have to really pace myself well. Fortunately, I run 6 a lot as a training distance. The 10 milers make me push it just a little harder.

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  37. Great recap! Sounds like fun! I love 10 mile races too. I wish I still lived in Chicago so I could've run this one too!

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  38. Your smile definitely says it all. Way to kick RA to the curb! My runner hubby has gotten me to the finish line soooo many times and he continues to cheer me on as I run with an old beat up knee. Love running with him and other friends!

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    1. That's the best! My husband doesn't run--sometimes he'll be at the finish line to cheer me in. I always appreciate that.

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  39. Congrats on finishing a tough race! Running into the wind is no joke and is very tough work.

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    1. It was a pretty brutal day. But it's always better with a friend!

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  40. Way to go Wendy! That's a great way to finish after struggling with you RA, etc. I have to try Tailwind...everyone raves about it. Congratulations on a Great Race!!!

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    1. If you want me to send you some, I've got plenty to share! Let me know.

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  41. Damn girl, you did kick butt! Considering the conditions and all, that's an impressive time! I love that plank picture of you and Kim ...a classic!

    Yes, I've had a friend push me to a faster finish than I would have done on my own and it is a great feeling ...once you're done but not so much during :)

    I've yet to do a 10 mile race and would like to try it.... with that being said, right now my favorite distance is the 10k. I know you're enjoying sunny Florida right now ...soak it up girl!

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    1. Heading out to kayak with Mary Beth this morning!

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  42. Ha normally I'd laugh at the early turn in on Friday night Wendy but I'm getting about the same way!
    Poo on the wind it sure messes things up but I do love the stop for the photo op and you picked a good one I can see the skyline in the background!
    Dang don't you just hate when you have to repeat parts of the course. I mean really people!
    I so get this about having a friend to push you along! They really don't have any idea how much they help you do they?
    Ha I knew yall would get in a plank, I just knew it! Can't wait for Grandma's yall are going to have a ball !

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    1. Right? I was talking about running ultras with Kim and I said the only way I would do one was if it was on a trail. None of that repeat loops thing...

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  43. 10 Miles can be such a great distance! Running it with a friend was a good idea in that miserable wind. Looks like the two of you made the best of your day !

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    1. The conditions weren't great but the company couldn't have been better!

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  44. Running with friends is the best!! You did great especially picking up the pace at the end! Way to go!

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    1. I was really happy with that. Hoping that is how my marathon will go..

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  45. This post reminds me to recap the 10 mile race I ran. Funny how we both ran one (my only 10 miler every year too) the same week. Running with friends is the best!

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    1. Running 10 miles with a friend is the best!

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  46. I said it on Kim's blog but I'll say it here... how awesome you got to run together! I'm sorry you struggled a bit but you did it again... you pushed through and you smashed it! really happy for you!!

    I am not sure any more what my favorite distance is. 10K's are good because you are done in an hour (or I am haha!). 10milers are good because you feel a bit more badass at that distance. Halfs are great because you have to dig a bit deeper but you are still done in less than 2.5 hours. The marathon distance is NOT my favorite but I will most likely do several more in my lifetime (if my body will allow it) simply for the mental and physical challenge. I have only done a few 5K's in my life, I am not sure why but it seems like a lot of effort for a half an hour of running (you know, signing up, paying, getting out of bed on time, figuring out what to wear, etc).

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    1. I agree with you about the marathon not being a favorite distance but that finish line feeling is like no other! I think that's why I keep doing them.

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