I'd made arrangements for us to spend the night in Chicago because this race had an early start time and we learned our lesson after the Bucktown 5K that getting up that early on race day sucked. So we drove in on Saturday, had dinner and ran to Walgreen's for snacks and then checked into our hotel. After a quick shower I was snuggled in bed in my pajamas ready for some good sleep. I'm still waiting. The congestion woke and fear of missing both of our alarms woke me up about every hour so I wasn't really looking forward to getting up and running this morning.
|Team Challengers before the race|
We met up with Team Challenge at the Team Challenge tent in the post-race party area and took a few pre-race photos and did some stretching before heading off to our various corrals. I heard the National Anthem sung by Jim Cornelison (the guy who sings for the Blackhawk's which was awesome) and then they started releasing the first corrals. They would release a corral every 3 minutes and I was in the S corral so I waited... and waited... and waited... a very long (and COLD) 1:20 before my corral was even allowed to start running. When we started my toes were completely numb and even though I'd continued to stretch while waiting in the corral I knew my muscles were cold and I was worried about my overall performance. The 5K runners/walkers and 15K runners/walkers were all together in the same corrals so I knew I needed to go slow the first mile or so and let people pass me because this was going to be a long race.
Here are my splits (and thoughts per mile) based on what my watch calculated. I know some are wrong because I lost satellite signal and I also don't generally run anything faster than 10:XX/mile so....
Mile 1: 11:40 - a little slow for me but it took about the full first mile for me to get feeling back in my toes so I was just going at a good pace to get warmed back up.
|Yeah for seeing family along the route!|
Mile 3: 11:02 - @*$#) that hill up Roosevelt. It really wasn't that bad but someone had a sign that said that and I thought it was funny. We hit our first aid station around here and I took a sip of water from my water bottle.
Mile 4: 9:13 - don't even know what to say about that but I'm pretty sure it was wrong. We went down a hill as we got on Columbus but I really don't think I was moving THAT fast. I passed bathrooms and considered using them but there was a line and I really didn't want to stop and wait in line to use the bathroom. Passed another aid station and took more water from my bottle.
Mile 5: 13:03 - ??? again that doesn't seem right but whatev... I finally felt like I was able to have more space around me and I wasn't trying to get around so many people which was nice. It was around here that I realized my form wasn't quite what it needs to be so I need to work on that. I know my arms were swinging more side to side rather than front to back and Coach B would have yelled at me.
Mile 6: 11:19 - Yeah - 10K... cool... I can run 10K no problem.
Mile 7: 11:45 - Nearing the longest distance I've run to date left me feeling a little anxious. At this point I realize that finishing another 2.3 miles is going to be hard. And I got a side stitch. Awesome.
Mile 8: 8:07 - We were underground for what seemed like ever and there were some guys screaming and yelling... the dark and the yelling freaked me out. Not because of my safety ... I just didn't feel in control and I stopped to walk a little (probably about 1/8 mile) and re-tie my shoes. My foot started hurting during this mile and that didn't help me... plus I ran out of water and I was pissed about that.
|Oh my god everything hurts - are we done yet?|
Mile 9.01 - 9.7 - 9:21 - I'm not sure how I ended up running 9.7 miles but that's what Garmin says I did.
The finish was disappointing ... no big crowds and it just sort of ends but then you have to walk about another mile (or it seems like 10) to get to the post-race party. They were making an announcement that they'd run out of chocolate bars (really? WTF? You know how many people registered for a race how do you run out?) but they had a lot of Gatorade and water. I gulped 3 cups of gatorade (I normally don't drink any), a cup of water and then a full size bottle of water as I walked to the post-race area. I saw where they were taking official finisher photos and stopped for that. Finally, I was getting closer to the Team Challenge tent when Coach Barbara saw me and ran out to hug me and I broke down.
|Team Challenge post race!|
My mentor, Christine, helped me stretch out my very angry IT bands and even though I sort of hate her while we're doing that it feels so much better when done that I feel super lucky that she's willing to help me like that. I was so tired and sore that I really just wanted to get my finisher mug and go back to the hotel so I could shower or lay down. I quickly gobbled the treats in my finisher mug as we walked up to Michigan Ave and in the cab on the way back to the hotel.
Once showered and packed up we checked out and headed over to our regular post-race refueling spot. Revolution Brewing Company. They said there was going to be a 30 minute wait and I sort of dreaded that but we really love that place so we waited... luckily the wait was shorter than they said and we were soon seated at a table. We shared an order of Wild Boar Meatballs which were heavenly. I wish I'd taken photos of all of our food because it was all amazingly delicious but I was SOOOOO hungry I didn't care. For my entree I had the frittata with a side of fruit instead of potatoes. It came with a delicious salad and a biscuit and both were absolutely spot-on fantastic. I also ordered a pint of Eugene Porter which might be my favorite porter of all time.
All in all the weekend was a ton of fun. However, with the long wait times to pick up packets and actually start the race I'm not sure I'd do this one again. I think I'd prefer to do smaller local races... but who knows?!
Who else raced this weekend? Good times?