Monday, April 19, 2021

Race Recap: Wintrust Lakefront 10 miler

I've run this race so many times that I've lost count. Last year, I was signed up for it, but COVID had other ideas. Set to take place in April, it was initially postponed to July. Then it was canceled and changed to a virtual race. What a disappointment! While I ran plenty of 10 milers last year, I didn't designate any of them as my replacement race. My heart just wasn't in it.

Last fall, CARA held a 5k trail race at a suburban preserve, trialing social distancing and spacing runners. I ran it and was impressed by the thoughtfulness of the process. Clearly, so was the city of Chicago, who agreed to let CARA stage their annual 10 miler this year. This is the first live road race held in Chicago since the start of the pandemic. Hopefully, it will set the tone for similar events to carefully take place. 

CARA once again used the carefully designed wave starts used in their trail race, following state guidelines. Runners were assigned a wave based on the predicted pace time submitted on the application. I was placed in 'pod F'. I heard my name and saw Erica in pod E across the way! Each pod had 50 runners assigned. There was a volunteer assigned every pod to check bibs and make sure runners were masked. There was a portapotty in every pod, along with a gear check and post-race refreshments. At the start of the race, the first pod lined up at the start line. The next 2 pods were brought onto the track, lining up 5 across with cones separating them by 6 feet. Runners were sent off every 5 seconds. Masks could be removed once the runners were on the course. 


The course was reworked for this unique year. We stayed on the lakefront trail, running north for 2 miles before turning south. There was a brisk northerly wind off Lake Michigan--those first 2 miles were brutal! I settled into a comfortable pace and was surprised to see 8:41 on my watch after the first mile. I thought I dialed it back a bit, but miles 2 and 3 were also 8:41. Oh no...

I started to feel a tugging under my right rib cage. Seriously, a side stitch? There was a self-service aid station at the mile 3 marker and I grabbed a bottle of water. I slowed to a walk and began to drink. I tried to run, but I was having too much pain from the side stitch. A guy passed me and called out encouragement, telling me we were 'close' to the turnaround. No dude, it's almost 3 miles away. Yes, I was annoyed, but mostly at myself for letting my legs get carried away. I guess I have forgotten how to race.

I continued attempting to run and by mile 5, my side stitch let loose and I was able to run without pain. I settled back into the race, running a more reasonable 9:20 m/m. We turned back north into the wind, but because I had just done a couple of 'recovery miles' 😉, I wasn't bothered much by it. There are a couple steep inclines on the return, but they were short and I ran up them. I caught up to another woman with whom I played cat and mouse for much of the rest of the race. At mile 9, I finally left her behind. 

The course approached Cricket Hill, the famed garbage hill in the middle of Lincoln Park. It's a cruel trick that the race makes us run up this hill a half mile before the finish line, but it is what it is. One year, they made us run up it at the beginning and the end. I am grateful that they stopped that nonsense. Anyhoo, I made it up about halfway before I felt like I might die or vomit. I slowed to a walk and the photographer picked up her camera to take a picture of me. She encouraged me to run, but yeah, that wasn't happening. We had a good laugh about it before I crested the hill and flew down to the bottom. 

This year, we finished on the track but without the final lap that we've had to run in the past. Considering how bad I felt at mile 4, I think I did a great job of recovering and finishing strong. No matter how many times we run a race, it's always something new, isn't it? Experience helped me push through that little blip, though, and I'm grateful for how it turned out. Oh, and my rabbit? She caught up to me after she crossed the finish line. Turns out she's 65! I hope I'm running like that at 65. What an inspiration!


As always, my favorite race didn't disappoint. There was no after party this year and no beer at the finish line. I missed that, but when you consider that this could have been virtual again, I feel pretty lucky to have run my favorite race this year. I am so grateful to CARA for making this happen! 

Next year, this race will be held on Sunday, April as the official RRCA 10 mile championship race. This race always attracts speedy runners and it should be an exciting day!

Have you run any live races this year? What kind of setup did your race have? I'm running a race in Wisconsin in 2 weeks and it will be interesting to see what that race is like! What do you do when you get a side stitch?

I'm linking up with Kim and Zenaida for Tuesday Topics and with the Runners' Roundup: DebbieDeborahJenLaura, and Lisa.  

 

41 comments :

  1. Well done esp for controlling the stitch (I stretch up high and I bend down low and then I burp and it's gone).

    No live races here. Well, I think there might be some odd trail ones, in fact the Bimble Bumble that I did in prep for my ultra in 2019 is running and some friends are doing it - I should have signed up to get some miles in my poor old trail shoes!

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  2. I just love reading race recaps!!

    Looks like a great race and I'm so happy that you got to do it.

    I think you did great!!! Side stitches do suck.

    I missed the after party too and as you said, it's better than going virtual!!!

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    1. Truth! Looking forward to to everything coming back. But I’ll take what we can get.

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  3. Well done, Wendy! No wonder you look so happy in the photo on the beach! (And again, your clothes are matching the scenery!)
    That photographer encouraging you to run - so sweet. I hope she took a photo all the same. And your 65-year old rabbit is amazing. I hope to be running like that, too!

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  4. Well done Wendy! Ha, I think we all have forgotten how to race pace! Glad you recovered and finished strong. I love the idea of the pods, especially with their own porta-potties!

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    1. I liked the pods too! I have never liked the crowded corrals. This was my kind of start line!

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  5. Your post race photo says it all. Sometimes I think I've forgotten how to run all together, LOL! Racing? What's that?

    Sounds like they were on to of everything.

    Congrats on a good race and good luck on your next one.

    As to side stitches, I do get them occasionally, but usually they're more annoying than painful so I pretty much just run through them. Maybe slow down.

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    1. I haven’t gotten one in a while but ouch! My PT is working on my diaphragm-it’s really tight. So it makes sense that the stitch was so painful!

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  6. It's nice when the RD's take the Covid protocol/safety seriously, because us runners want to race. My race had a similar format for the line-up, and I didn't mind all the extra procedure with it. Great job rallying back and securing a strong finish!

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    1. Glad to hear that Iowa was on board with COVID precautions!

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  7. Congrats on your race! I'm so glad you got to do this live. There really haven't been any live races around here yet, but a few are supposed to happen this summer. Side stitches are so frustrating!

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    1. Yeah, that just came out of nowhere! But considering what I am doing with my PT, it makes sense and I plan to discuss it with her at my next appointment.

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  8. You look so happy! Way to finish strong! I can only imagine how great it felt to be back out there on a familiar course. I am pretty sure I've forgotten how to race as well

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    1. My next race is in 2 weeks--but this one I plan on taking slow. It's going to be pretty scenic!

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  9. I just said to Darlene, I've missed reading race recaps! (and of course writing them!). Thank you for taking me with you on this race - what a valiant performance even with going out a bit too fast and that side-stitch! That photo of you on the beach, with the city behind you and your medal is one of my FAVOURITE of you!

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    1. Thank you! I'm happy to have run a live race. I have another one in 2 weeks.

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  10. Yet, Another Learning Curve - And Running Strong At 65, Good On Her - Embrace Your Recovery Week - Spend Some Quality Time With The Hubby - Big Hugs

    Cheers

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    1. I'm more tired from the race than I expected! Since I have another race in 2 weeks-yeah, who am I--I'll be taking it easy until then.

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  11. Yay for CARA and the City of Chicago for making this race happen safely- it makes me so happy to read things like this. And yay for you! GREAT job, even with the side stitch (arg! They suck! You would think after all this time we would have eradicated those!) That picture of you with your medal really is incredible- that's one to frame.

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    1. I still felt pain in that side for a couple days after the race. My PT has been working on my diaphragm and i think it's no coincidence that it got angry, lol!

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  12. Congratulations!! You did a great job and I'm sure with the excitement at the start it was hard to rein it in! It's great that the race was so organized. I'm racing this weekend and the nerves are starting!

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    1. You will do great! Just take a page from my book and don't go out too fast!

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  13. Yay for live racing! I've got a 10 miler this weekend and I cannot wait.

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  14. I love race recaps and I'm so happy racing is back! I've run several live races this year, most of them with the same mask until you're out of the start area and can properly distance restriction. And most have no touch points like credit cards only or pre-pay for parking and bag check etc. But if it means running races is back I'm ok with it! Also it's hard to hold yourself back when you're excited and side stitches are SO annoying, but I think you did great!

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    1. Thank you, Montana! Yes, I am willing to make concessions if it means racing is back. This was a lot of fun, in spite of the side stitch. Something always happens at a race, doesn't it?

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  15. Great job, Wendy! It's been years since I've run this race. I do remember Cricket Hill and that lap towards the finish line. That is great that you saw Erica!

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  16. I do remember this race is when we met. :-)

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    1. Yes! That was that day when it started out warm and the wind shifted off the lake. Brrrr

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    2. Yes, I have a picture and I am the only one without a jacket.

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  17. I'm so glad you got to run a real live race (though slightly jealous :-) ). Congrats on your finish! I felt like all my Chicago friends were out there based on my IG and FB feed!

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    1. I'm glad too! The race had limited entries and it was completely sold out!

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  18. Awesome work! I've run a few races, but nothing longer than a 10K. Runners have been limited, and they have people start 100 at a time, lined up on cones 6 feet apart (5 across, 20 back). Mask must be worn at the start and finish. We will see what happens when we get int the longer distances.

    I think you recovered beautifully! Proud of you!



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    1. It felt great to line up! The volunteers were out in force as well. All in all, a very wonderful pandemic racing experience.

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  19. Sorry about the side stitch but it sounds like you managed it well.

    Overall this sounds like it was a great race. I'm so happy that you got to run one of your favorites in-person again! Congrats!

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    1. Thank you! Guess I need to figure out to pace myself again. LOL!

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  20. Some year before we move back to the PNW, I am going to do this race! Even with the side stitch, you had a good race! It's hard to get back into the pacing skills of racing, every race right now is like ripping off a bandaid and relearning the whole experience.

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    1. I just love this race, Laura! I've done it so many times. Plus it brings out all the local speedsters and that is both competitive and humbling. Hopefully next year, the afterparty will be back.

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