Sunday, April 22, 2018

Race Recap: CARA Lakefront 10 miler

I just love this little race. This year is the 5th time I have run it and I look forward to it every year. This race attracts some of the best local runners in the Chicago area and it is super competitive. But because it's spring in Chicago, you can always count on a last-minute wardrobe decision for this one. Last year this race was held at the end of March. It was so cold for that one that they moved the race back to April with the hopes of better weather.

Of course, Mother Nature laughed, saying, "hold my beer"...

Thank goodness they serve up good beer at the finish line of this one!



The night before the race, I went to bed thinking it was going to be in the 50s and sunny, but I woke up to clouds and a chance of rain, with temperatures in the 40s. With a light breeze off the lake, I knew it would be chilly and I planned accordingly. The race start time was at 9 am, so I had plenty of time to drink coffee and prepare my smoothie. I left my house at 7 and after a 45 minute drive, arrived at Montrose Harbor, where the race would be held. Parking is free and plentiful, and I found a spot that was a short walk from the race village.

One of the reasons I like this race is because of the caliber of runners it attracts. That doesn't always mean they're humble. When I went to pick up my packet, I grabbed a heat sheet to wrap myself in. There was a guy pinning on his bib and I commented on the cold temperatures. We both agreed that it was better than the conditions last weekend. I asked him what he thought about Boston and he said--I kid you not--"oh, was that last weekend? Ever since I ran it about 5 years ago, I don't pay attention to it anymore." Ok, then! I didn't know what to say to that, so I headed back to the warm cocoon of my car.

warming up in the car
Toasty warm
I stayed in my car for about 30 minutes and reluctantly left the warmth to walk over to the portapotties. There were no lines. The portapotties blocked the breeze off the lake but I didn't want to hang out there, so I started to walk around to see if I knew anyone. Even with my heat sheet, I was chilled, so I made a decision to walk back to the car to get my jacket to gear check it for after the race. As soon as I gear checked, I realized I forgot my bottle of Tailwind in the car. Doh! I walked back to my car again. All this walking counted for a warm-up, right? One more portapotty stop and then I headed over to the starting line. I runfess that I walked past a very long line of runners and realized that I cut in front of all of them to use the portapotty. Oops!

The start corral was clogged with runners. A few years ago, CARA decided to add a 5k to the race and that distance has become really popular. The 10 mile and 5k races start at the same time. I squeezed through the crowd to find a spot to stand somewhere in the middle. I turned my Garmin on and struggled to hear if my AfterShokz were connected. I felt kind of foolish playing with my gadgets as very few of the "hardcore" runners around me were using headphones. Shortly before the starting gun went off, I got everything working.

There were so many people running in the initial first mile that all I did was weave from side to side. It was so frustrating! Hello, 5k runners! Can we talk about race etiquette? Because I was weaving, I couldn't get into a groove at all. Finally, we turned south onto the lakefront path and I settled into what would be my average pace for the entire race, 8:49.

results

I was so pleased with how consistent my pace was and how good I felt running that pace. It was fast enough to be challenging but not too fast that I was dying. Every time I looked down at my watch, I saw the same split time. I've never been good at controlling my pace but I think the work I did over the past year, using the run/walk intervals, has really helped me stay on top of my timing. I did not have to use any run/walk intervals for this race, but I did stop 3 times to walk briefly while I sipped on my Tailwind. As soon as I resumed running, I was back on pace.

GAP=Grade Adjusted Pace. It's a Strava thing. More info than we need.
The race course was changed this year due to construction on the path, with some running along Montrose Harbor. I kind of liked that, but I wondered why the water is such a strange teal color. Even with the changes in the route, the organizers kept all the "highlights" from the previous years. We meandered through Lincoln Park down to Fullerton and ran back north along Diversey Harbor. There was the run up the bridge over Diversey Avenue. This year we only had to run over Cricket Hill once (thank God!). That was near the end and the downhill took us to the finish, which was on the Wilson track where we did one lap around.

After the race, I walked to the results tent to see how I did. The organizers promised "instant results" but that was not the case, so I decided to go get my beer while I waited. The Lagunitas IPA did not disappoint. I hung out in the beer garden while I sipped and made small talk with some of the other runners. I was really glad I gear checked my jacket because I started to get really cold! The line for the post-race food was unbelievably long, but the options included Rx bars, Kind Bars, fresh juice, salad, and coffee in addition to the usual bananas, water, and Gatorade.

Running for beer
I run this one for the Lagunitas IPA
Behind me is the dreaded Cricket Hill as well as Wilson track, with the finishers running on it
I say this every time I recap this race but this is a great race. I'm always surprised that not many people I know run it. I love the distance and the course is beautiful. I could do without Cricket Hill, but that is the only hill in Chicago, so a lot of runners train there. Superficially, I was disappointed in the medal this year. I've always loved the medal for this race in the past, but this year it was kind of plain. The race shirt is a technical hoody in red and I really liked that.

More than anything, I'm really happy with how I ran this race. Last year, even though I ran with a friend, Kim from Running on the Fly, I was struggling with my newish diagnosis of RA and the side effects of the medications I was taking to control my symptoms. I was disappointed in what was my slowest ever finish time for this race. This year I'm feeling good and I've seemed to have returned to running the way I am used to. Maybe even better, because I've learned a lot about adapting to physical limitations while running. I'm hoping to continue to run like this and am grateful for every mile.

Grateful runner

If you want to read my recaps from past times I ran this race, you can check them out here, here, and here. There's no recap from 2011 since I wasn't blogging then. Have you run a race where you felt like you were in a good place, running-wise? Do you have a race that you go back to year after year? Would you run a race for beer? Any race day runfessions? Save them for Friday, when we all get to runfess!

Welcome to the Weekly Wrap, hosted by Holly and me! If you've never linked with us before, check out the details in the tab at the top of this post. Please don't link and leave--it is courteous to comment on the hosts' blogs as well as some of the other linkers. If you aren't a fitness blog, please don't link with us. Thanks!

85 comments :

  1. This warms my heart. You've put in a lot of hard work and you kept pushing through when things were really tough. You deserve this home run, my friend. Beer? Hello? Mercedes! LOL.

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    1. Hey, Mercedes was an absolute blast and I have nothing to blame my poor performance on except the weather! We have "perfect" running conditions in Chicago because it's so damn cold most of the year! LOL.

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  2. So proud of you Wendy! Congratulations on an awesome race :)

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  3. Wow...only ONE jaunt up Cricket Hill, and ONE lap around the track? ;-) Too bad I was neck deep in prom stuff (well, and that "forgotten" 13.1 this morning). That's awesome you're feeling so much better about your pacing and have adapted so well to all the changes you had to endure last year. Excellent job!!

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    1. Thank you! Yes, I was very pleased that they took out the 2d pass over Cricket Hill. That is a strange kind of torture.

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  4. Yay! Glad you had such a great race -- and checked your jacket. I'm always surprised when runners are snobby jerks because most I know are so nice, but I know some people think they are better than the rest of us. :-P I think I need to grab a lagunitas and re-read this. :-)

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    1. My oldest son and I went out to dinner last night and of course I ordered Lagunitas IPA. I had to savor the day!

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  5. oh this makes me smile! I am so happy for you. You really kept a fantastic consistent pace throughout. Nice! One of these days I am going to have to do a race in Chicago!

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    1. I'm thinking 2019 we should do an exchange program--I'll do Cherry Blossom with you and you can do this one with me!

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  6. Great job on your race and the recap, Wendy! I'm so happy you ran such a great race and felt so good! There are several races that I run year after year, but the one race I've run the most times is the Marine Corps Marathon and I've run it ten times. I don't like beer, so no, that wouldn't entice me to run a race, but a margarita? Oh yeah, baby!

    Thanks for the linkup!

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    1. Thank you! Do you think after all these years of running that I'm finally figuring it out? Ha!

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  7. Awesome job! Its nice to do the same race multiple times so you can really see progress. Thats funny about cutting the line! And whats up with the guy who didnt know Boston was last week???

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  8. Way to go! I don't think I've ever been to a race that provided salad as a post meal/food option... Beer yes, salad no!

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  9. Great job, and way to conquer it after last year!

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  10. Having to weave around people in the beginning of a race is so frustrating, but it looks like you managed brilliantly. Love looking back at recaps from the same race to see how much better (or worse I did). Blogging is awesome ;)

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    1. I was just talking about this with my husband! I love having all these recaps to look back on.

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  11. Great job, congrats! I was thinking of doing this, but 10 miles might be out of my range right now!

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    1. No way! You'll just have to use run/walk intervals... :p

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  12. Awesome consistency, batman! I bet that felt really good (despite the chilly conditions). Our 5 miler last week keeps getting moved later & later in the year -- and yet the weather doesn't really seem to improve!

    I would never run a race for beer (so don't ask me why I've run so many races that had beer afterward -- and never had a single beer). I do have races I enjoy doing year after year.

    Sounds like you're in a great place with your running -- I hope that continues!

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    1. You and me both! I'm really enjoying running right now. I hope it continues!

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  13. Brrr but way to go!! Great job, hopefully it felt like redemption. I do hate weaving through the crowds during races - I never start up close enough. Even when I've run with a stroller and started near the back, I still end up starting behind walkers and having to weave with the stroller. Oh well - it's all for fun for me anyway!

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    1. I can't even imagine weaving with a stroller, altho you could just run people down, right?

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  14. Yay! I'm so happy you ran so well. I swear having 2 very different distances go off at the same time is not a good idea. Especially on a cramped course. Congrats again!

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    1. Thank you! I did comment about that in the post-race survey. Maybe it's elitist, but I wish they would have just left this as a 10 miler!

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  15. I wondered in your car selfie if those were Aftershokz. I just got a pair myself and I love them, although I feel you on trying to hear them for pairing. I ended up running without them for the cherry blossoms because I couldn't fiddle with them at the start and couldn't get them working mid - race. I love them, but they're super fiddly.

    And LOL at the guy who ignores Boston like it's a random 5K. Some people!

    Congrats on an awesome race. Teal water? That sounds crazy. I'm starting to finally believe in spring. Maybe!

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    1. oh, and I think I figured out the LinkUp. Maybe?

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    2. You figured it out just fine! I'm so glad you linked up with us! You'll find a lot of women just like us.

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    3. I've enjoyed those I've read so far. Always nice to find new to me folks. Thanks for invite

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  16. Congrats on your race, and I love the attitude of gratitude you have (no rhyming intended!). I don't think we can talk about race etiquette enough, or trail etiquette for that matter - I got so frustrated with two rude people this weekend that I loudly asked, "REALLY????" in their direction. OOPS.

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    1. I feel like race etiquette has really deteriorated--but that's a whole other blog post!

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  17. I love 10 milers! I run the Surf City 10 every year. The only other race I return to every other year is the Santa Barbara Wine Country Half which starts in the Santa Inez valley and winds through rolling hills and ends in the quaint German town of Solvang.
    Great pace! You may not think you have a marathon left in you but you got the pace to qualify for Boston! Great job!

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    1. I'd love to run that Surf City 10. If money was no object, I'd make it my mission to seek out and only run that distance.

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  18. Wow!! What a great race and reading this I could just feel you are in such a happy place. Well done for pushing through during the year when others would have quit. You made the adjustments you needed to, you tried different tactics, and here you are. Well done. Shathiso from www.thegaboronerunner.com

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    1. So happy about this! And so scared it's all going to go away.

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  19. You had a great race! I do love the 10 mile distance. I wish there were more races of that length. Congrats!

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    1. I think I'm going to make it my mission to run all the 10 mile races I can find!

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  20. Congrats on a great race! Your pacing is strong! Lagunitas IPA is a good beer - that would make a tasty finish line treat!

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    1. The Lagunitas is really the reason I run this race!

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  21. Congratulations on a fantastic race! It sounds like a fun one. It's great to see hard work pay off on race day :)

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  22. Congrats on your race! What a great time! I actually kind of like that GAP column - that's cool.

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    1. There are just so many statistics I can deal with...

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  23. Great job Wendy! It really sounds like a fantastic race. I'm glad you ran it so well. Hope you have a wonderful week.

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  24. I'm glad you had a great race, congratulations! It sounds like you've really got a good groove and know how to listen to your body in this post-RA life!

    They really shouldn't have 5K's and 10 Milers at the same time...a staggered start would probably make a huge difference!

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    1. I'm just so grateful for good running again. But now I have a backup plan in case I need it. It's all good!

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  25. Great job with this race and the pacing! That's cool that the shirt was a tech hoodie, you don't see that much.

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    1. I love the race shirt and I never say that!!!

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  26. Great job on your race, Wendy.

    The Strava GAP is a lot more interesting when you have 1500' of climbing in a run!

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    1. Ha! It's so flat around here that I wanted to tell Strava why bother with the GAP!

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  27. What a great race and an awesome finish for you! I wish I could have joined you - maybe next year, depending on how it falls against the Naperville Half. I am thinking about the Soldier Field 10 Miler on May 26th, but I might not be in town. Have you ever done that one?

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    1. I am thinking about that one too, except that's Prom and graduation weekend. It might be pushing it a little bit!

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  28. So happy for you that your running feels good and that you had such a great race!

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    1. Thank you!! I'm very excited about it and the possibilities this kind of race opens up for me. Stay tuned...

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  29. That sounds like such a neat race! Bummer about all the walking back and forth to the car but it was a good warm up! :)

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  30. Makes me so happy to read this recap! Way to go Wendy - so great to see all of your hard work pay off!

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  31. Congratulations on a fabulous race! Look at those splits! You absolutely nailed your pace!

    I can't even imagine how it must feel with the wind coming off the water! Although, it sounds like you were dressed appropriately, and once you started moving it wasn't so bad.

    I'm so glad you can look back and see how far you've come since your diagnosis. That has to make you feel proud.

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    1. It was great--I just got in a groove (or as Marcia would say, I found my "gear") and settled in really nicely. I tend to push myself too fast in the beginning of a race but this time I sat back and let it happen, thinking I could pick up speed in the back half of the race.

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  32. Great job! I enjoy running good local races year after year - they somehow always make the experience a little better/different each time :)

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    1. It's nice to come back and compare each year!

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  33. I've never done the race but it's awesome that you can park right at the start! I'm glad you felt better about this race, you did a great job!

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    1. This is a good race, you should do it sometime!

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  34. I'm so glad to hear that you are feeling good and have returned to running the way you used to. Having a run that becomes a tradition for you sounds like a good thing, you add to your layers of memories and compare where you are now to where you were in the past. BTW, you have on the same shirt in your post that our Accidental Marathoner is wearing in hers!

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    1. I was wearing it first, just saying... :p

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  35. Awesome job and congrats!! Sounds like a good race! So happy for you that running is going well!

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  36. Brrrr to that breeze off the water! I like running in colder weather, but it's tough standing around before a race. Great job pacing! I struggle with that in some races. I haven't run a 10 miler in a few years, but it seems like a perfect distance.

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    1. I was pretty surprised at how well I paced. I shouldn't have been--I've been running really steady lately!

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  37. Congratulations on a great race Wendy! 10 mile races are few and far between aren’t they?? Awesome running those 8 minute miles!! So happy you are feeling good and had a better race this year. This will be my third year to run Mississippi Gulf Coast Half Marathon. I’ve been running that one since it started so it will be one I go to every year. This will be my 4th year to go to Memphis for St. Jude Marathon weekend. I love running for the kids!

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    1. It's such a great feeling to return to a race that you love, isn't it?

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  38. What a funny interaction with that guy about Boston. I guess that some people really do live in their own little world, lol.

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    1. His comment kept me shaking my head. Must be nice to take Boston for granted...

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  39. Argh... weaving runners from a different distance is frustrating! And your interaction with the Boston Guy... bahahahh! "Oh, Boston? Totally not a big deal since I ran it already."

    (In my case, I have obsessed about Marathon Monday every year since running that race! Boston enthusiasm is contagious!)

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    1. And yet there he was, running this little Chicago race! Oh, the irony!

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  40. Great recap, Wendy! I laughed at the Boston comment and the skipping the portapotty line. Whoops! So glad that you're feeling like the runner you were before RA! That's so awesome.

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    1. It sure felt great to know it's all still inside me!

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  41. Congrats! You did an amazing job pacing it out :)
    I love your cute color Aftershokz.

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