Hope everyone had a glorious Memorial Day Weekend! I know I did, being back at work has been a struggle.
Over the weekend I participated in the Soldier Field 10 Miler in Chicago – at …you guessed it – Soldier Field (where the Chicago Bears play).
This is a race I have always wanted to do since I moved here, but it gets really expensive, really fast – well last year I had a coupon from the Chicago Marathon, so once registration opened I got a really good deal on registering for this (yep, I registered for this race in October 2014….to get a better deal).
The race was your typical big Fleet Feet Production – organized packet pick up at a Fleet Feet Store. It’s a pretty big event, so they did a great job of doing corrals, and bib assignments etc to keep people organized. It was a huge event- but it was well managed. The course was typical for that of Chicago, a few miles on Lakeshore Drive, then loop back on the trail – I love it when races do this – because it really gives the crowd a chance to thin out prior to getting back on the trail – which much more narrow.
The post race party was really good- they had a lot of vendors there- there were massages/stretching areas, lot’s of coupons for upcoming races, beer, water, chocolate milk, snacks – I was a happy girl. I love a good post race party. Seriously the sooner you give me snacks and drinks after a long run – the happier I am.
Because it is a Soldier Field event, and because it was Memorial Day weekend, they paid tribute to those currently serving, have served, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice. It was very nice, and something that is really cool the overall male and female winners received a flag that actually flew over Solider Field – pretty unique (and cool) prize.
It was a good event – I would do it again in the future – but I still really love the Lakefront 10 miler. I appreciate that event because it does have a smaller crowd, but the prices are better, the course is still flat and fun, and they always have nice post race party.
In terms of little ol’ me. It was not my best day. I genuinely don’t know why – but I knew right out of the gate that it was not a pr day – even though I knew I had wanted it to be. I wanted this to be my redemption of the Lakefront 10 in April when I was dealing with 15 mph headwinds.
I know every race will not be a pr. But again, I had specific expectations for this race, and I don’t like it when things do not go as planned.
Here are a few things I think that all muddled together led to a remedial time:
-It was more humid than I anticipated
-The stressful Jenga match Casey and I were in the night before (or the beer I drank while getting my Jenga on)
-I did not carry a water bottle
-I was and had been dealing with some really nasty side stitches on training runs before this, and the day of- any time I tried to push my pace down, I felt that familiar twang of that runners side stitch
-I ate breakfast closer to race time than I normally do (high fiber toast and butter….meh).
So it was like 67 degrees and 90% humidity – I am good in dry heat. Humidity screws my life up – because I was anticipating mid 60 temps – I didn’t feel it necessary to carry a handheld. I was mistaken.
Right out of the gate, the corral I was in stayed super congesty, so I was moving at a slower than ideal pace, so once it broke up a bit – I tried to hammer my pace to 9:00-9:10, and then my side started seizing up, and then my tum started rumbling.
So I stayed at my 9:30 pace thinking I’d focus on breathing, stay at this pace, and once the side stitch passed I’d hammer my pace down – I mean it’s a 10 miler no need to freak out before mile 2. This cycle repeated itself continuously throughout the entire race. At one point I even took my headphones out to focus on my breathing and cadence to try to hammer out the last 30% of the race- yeah just didn’t work.
At the end of the day my performance was not by best, but also not my worst.
Here’s the thing- when you’re having a bad race day, and you KNOW you’re having a bad race day, it’s so important to attempt to stay in a good and smart head space.
One thing I have started doing overall – both with races and long runs – is breaking them up. So what I did was I only thought about the race in 2 1/2 mile increments, and I only think about the increment I am in at that time. This kept me from getting in the mentality of just saying “eff it”, and it also kept me running as smart as I could under the circumstances. This sort of mental exercise has helped me perform better (Kalamazoo), and has helped me from utterly crashing and burning (Soldier Field).
So overall it was a cool event, I’m not sure I would necessarily do it again- NOT because there was anything wrong with it, but there is already a 10 miler I enjoy doing, and really I don’t “GET” the point of a 10 miler. Like just be a half marathon.