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!