This past weekend, November 10th, I ran Chicago’s Perfect 10 along the shores of Lake Michigan. There were two options – a 10 miler or a 10K. I opted for the 10K, and those 6.2 miles would be the farthest I’ve run since my half marathon in July. Because of this, I decided to skip all the goal-making and treat the race as a long run. If anything, my “goal” was to finish under an hour, which would be slightly faster than a 10 min/mile pace.
I picked up my race gear at Road Runner Sports on Thursday and discovered the amaziness that is this store in the process.
I can’t believe I didn’t know about this store before! Not only is it very close to my house (much closer than Fleet Feet), but it’s a lot bigger than Fleet Feet and has all the same products (and more!). For example, there was an entire aisle of Injinji socks! Amazing.
There wasn’t a line and I was able to pick up my packet with ease. The only negative was that they only had extra-small or extra-large race shirts left and I would have to exchange the shirt on race day.
Inside the swag bag: long-sleeved tech tee, race bib, and a deodorant sample that smells amazing
Given the longer distance, I spent much of Friday carb-loading. Do seven slices of whole wheat bread (freshly baked from Whole Foods…my favorite ever) count? I also ate plenty of chocolate and rice crispy treats (homemade), the ultimate runner’s fuel!
(pardon the fugly nails…)
Here is where things got a bit tricky. The weather report indicated that the weekend would be surprisingly warm, but I’m a sucker when it comes to the cold and I knew that the morning would be chilly regardless. I awoke at 5:30am without any ideas of what to wear.
I began my pre-race tradition with 1/2 a sprouted cinnamon raisin bagel topped with peanut butter and banana slices, coffee with frothy almond milk, and foam rolling.
I finally dressed in capris and a long-sleeved shirt and headed out the door around 6:40am with my biggest supporter (AKA my mom). Being the paranoid person that I am, I brought along a bag of clothes in case I decided to change into something else. Lo and behold, I ended up changing into my Lulu pullover right before getting out of the car. We arrived at Navy Pier around 7:10am and I ran in to change shirt sizes before race start.
The gear check and pre-race expo were both held indoors, which was a major perk considering the cold morning and threat of rain.
An announcement was made that the race (both the 10 mile and 10K) would be delayed by 30 minutes. I took the extra time for a quick bathroom break, which wasn’t actually quick given the long line. Eventually, I made my way outside. It was an overcast day and slightly chilly – perfect racing weather!
I lined up next to the 10 min/mile flag after the 10-mile runners began and waited for the gun to go off.
It was cold and I was glad (for the time being) that I changed into my Lulu pullover.
And then we were off! I ran past my mom as she waved me on and wished me luck.
I was immediately glad to discover that my legs felt great! I thought the course was a bit over-packed and I weaved between people for about half a mile before catching my groove. I ran faster than expected and decided that I would try and maintain my pace through the entire run.
This was probably the most messed up mile I had the entire race. At one point, the course split and half of us continued running on the bridge while others followed the sidewalk. I continued onto the sidewalk and all of a sudden I saw confusion up ahead – many runners were jumping over the railing onto the bridge while others were turning around and running back. Apparently, no one told us that we should’ve stayed on the bridge and no one told us that the sidewalk eventually connected back to the main route. I ended up climbing the railing (scary) and lost at least 30 seconds because of this. Annoying!
I drank water at the waterstop at mile 2.5, which was much-needed. Not much else happened here, I just ran and enjoyed the views along the lake. The path was a bit crowded but it didn’t bother me too much. One of my favorite parts of the course was when we ran around the Shedd Aquarium – it was beautiful!
We reached the turnaround point at mile 3.1, right around the time Soldier Field came into view. There were some small hills that raised my heart rate quite a bit, but nothing too painful.
I took half of a Citrus Clif Gel Shot after passing the 4 mile marker and chased it down with some water at the waterstop. My legs were starting to feel the quickened pace but as I approached the 5 mile marker I felt a surge of energy (probably thanks to the gel shot) and continued on even faster.
The final 1.2 miles were near and inside Navy Pier. As we approached the final stretch, I saw finishers walking with their medals and felt an extra boost of energy. I sprinted the last 0.2 miles but kept a lookout for my mom. She was near the finish line and almost missed me! I finally crossed the finish line with a smile on my face.
I immediately received my medal and picked up some bagels, bananas, and coconut water after chugging two cups of water. My mom greeted me with a congratulatory hug and kiss after we reunited (aww)!
Final Time: 57:23 (9:15 min/mile pace)
Age Division: 19/76
(race medal…and negative splits!)
And as quickly as it started, the entire race was over. My mom and I walked back to our car and made the drive back home. I refueled both physically and mentally:
(Runner’s World magazine, coconut water, and a rice crispy treat)
– Indoor waiting area (gear check, expo, restrooms, etc.)
– Long-sleeve tech tee: it ran a bit small (I ended up with a size medium), but I am always in need of good quality long sleeved running tops
– Packet pick-up: there were four days for packet pick-up both in the suburbs and in the city
– Race route: the course weaved along the lake and we passed Buckingham Fountain, the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum, and Soldier Field
– Post-race snacks: bagels, coconut water, bananas, and Powerade were all handed out
– Refund policy: I truly appreciate when races offer a refund policy because it makes registering for the race much less stressful!
– Medals! Need I say more?
– Not enough direction on the race route: just the fact that I, along with many other runners, had to climb the railing or run back because we weren’t told which direction to run was very disappointing and unprofessional
– Race delay: the 30-minute delay was slightly annoying because my mom’s parking spot had a two-hour limit, but at least the runners could wait indoors
– Long bathroom lines: I was in line for almost 20 minutes…there were only three bathroom stalls! I heard there were other bathrooms in the building, but they were far away and I had no idea where they were located.
– Crowded path: the race route along the lake was fairly crowded the entire run, and I spent a lot of time weaving around and passing other runners. It wasn’t anything that was intolerable, but the path was also open to the public which only added to the crowdedness.
Overall, I really enjoyed this race! I loved the course and the liveliness at the race start/finish – music was blasting and people were excited to run! This race is definitely on my radar for next year.
Have you ever run a 10K or 10-mile race before?