2012 Chicago’s Perfect 10 Run Recap

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.

Mile 1
9:48 min/mile
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.

Mile 2
9:27 min/mile
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!

Mile 3
9:19 min/mile
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!

Mile 4
9:16 min/mile
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.

Mile 5
9:04 min/mile
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.

Mile 6
8:49 min/mile
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)
Place: 407/1382
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?

♥ Irina


  1. November 13, 2012 / 6:13 am

    Thanks for this great recap! I don’t like the 10k distance and tend to start out too fast. Maybe I need to give it another go thorough because I PRed my 10k at the split during the Hot Chocolate 15k.

    Sounds like you ran a nice speedy race! Congrats!!

    • November 14, 2012 / 10:04 pm

      Yea the 10K distance is tricky because you never know how fast (or slow) to start out. I feel like that with the 8K distance!

  2. November 13, 2012 / 6:32 am

    Looks like you ran an awesome race! Congrats! I, too, get annoyed at the crowed lakefront path, especially during the race. Plus, you have to fight all of the non-racers who just run along with you. It sounds like it was a positive experience overall, though!

    • November 14, 2012 / 10:05 pm

      Thanks! This was actually the first time that I had to battle against other runners and bikers on the path but most tended to move out the way once they saw the massive crowd on the path! I really liked the race anyway though 🙂

  3. November 13, 2012 / 7:16 am

    I saw the delay from people on twitter and whatnot… which is kind of annoying. However, the weather you guys got is amazing! Registering for races at this time of the year is always such a crapshoot…

    Nice work, friend! 🙂

    • November 14, 2012 / 10:07 pm

      Thanks! The delay was definitely annoying but I honestly didn’t mind it too much because we got to wait inside and I got to walk around the Expo!

  4. November 13, 2012 / 7:40 am

    Aww I’m sorry about the delay and disorganization, but you did AWESOME!!! I’m so proud of you, you should be so pumped! 🙂

    • November 14, 2012 / 10:08 pm

      Thank you! The delay honestly wasn’t too bad because we got to wait inside!

  5. November 13, 2012 / 8:59 am

    Way to go! It sounds like a pretty good race, despite the delay!

    • November 14, 2012 / 10:09 pm

      Thank you!

  6. November 13, 2012 / 9:15 am

    So I do not know how you decide what to wear running! Maybe that’s why I don’t run? haha. I love your pre-race tradition of the bagel I have a pre-test tradition of a sweet potato in a jar 😉

    • November 14, 2012 / 10:12 pm

      Oh my gosh it’s still such a challenge for me. I never know what to wear but I’m finally starting to learn.

      What is this amazingness that is a sweet potato in a jar? Please share recipe 🙂

      • November 15, 2012 / 7:38 am

        OMG I get to introduce you to a sweet potato in a jar!!! I thought when Kailey showed me for the first time I was the only one who had never done it! Be prepared to love all things jar! I will put it up after I have it for my next metabolic exam!

  7. November 13, 2012 / 11:00 am

    Congrats! Looks like a great day for running.

    • November 14, 2012 / 10:12 pm

      Thanks! Yes the weather was perfect but of course I overdressed and overheated :/

  8. November 13, 2012 / 11:14 am

    Good for you but honestly I would not have been thrilled about delaying the start. I actually think I would have been super pissy about it but then again, I’m that obnoxious LOL. Great work girl!

    • November 14, 2012 / 10:13 pm

      Haha no I completely understand…it made me really antsy and anxious. I just wanted to run!

  9. November 13, 2012 / 11:47 am

    Great job with the PR!!!

    I don’t know what it is with the womens tech shirts and their fit. They always fit differently and never fit quite right!

    • November 14, 2012 / 10:14 pm

      Thank you! It was an automatic PR because it was my first 10K but it still makes me happy 🙂

  10. November 13, 2012 / 11:51 am

    You look so collected at the end of the race! I always look like a hot mess. And I love that shirt.

    The last 10K I did was in Wheaton, and a fairly large race. My time never recorded and the timing company said it wasn’t their fault. I didn’t get my money back or a discount on a future race. Needless to say, I am not happy about it.

    My favorite running store is Dick Pond Athletics. They have a rewards program that gives you a $15 voucher for every $200 you spend. It’s amazing how quickly it adds up.

    • November 14, 2012 / 10:17 pm

      Oh I was definitely a hot mess…I overdressed and completely overheated! But thank you anyway 🙂

      I totally understand your pain with the defective timing chip. It happened to me this past summer and the organizers couldn’t do anything about it. I think it happens often (I heard it happened to many runners during the Hot Chocolate Race) and you would think something could be done about it by now!

  11. November 13, 2012 / 12:17 pm

    Great job on the race! I love Road Runner, i can’t go in there though, i always end up buying stuff i don’t need, haha.

    • November 14, 2012 / 10:19 pm

      Thanks! And Road Runner is such a dangerous store. I can’t believe it’s so close to my house…I’m scared for my bank account…

  12. November 13, 2012 / 2:19 pm

    Great job! I’ve never been to a Road Runner sports, but the closets ones to me are in Naperville or the city, so either way it would take me an hour to get there. I’m jealous that your shirts were black, versus the ugly light gray for the 10 mile. Also, I love the 10 mile and the 10K distance. There are soooo many 5K’s and half marathons, I wish some of the would switch to 10mi or 10K. Or 15K.

    • November 14, 2012 / 10:23 pm

      Thank you! Road Runner is a great alternative to stores like Fleet Feet but as long as you’re close to one of those running specialty stores you’re good to go. I agree about the 10 mile and 10K distance – there need to be more races with these “unusual” distances. It keeps things interesting!

  13. November 13, 2012 / 5:55 pm

    Congrats on majorly surpassing your goal! Way cool medals and shirts too! That is so weird that there was not good direction on where to go on the bridge – annoying!

    • November 14, 2012 / 10:24 pm

      Thank you! The medals were great! The center was a spinny thing (if that makes sense) – very unique.

  14. November 13, 2012 / 8:04 pm

    Great job on the race, girl! You must be super happy with it 😀 That sucks about the delayed start, but at least the overall atmosphere was a good one! I love being around people who are super excited to do something… their energy definitely rubs off on me 😀

    • November 14, 2012 / 10:25 pm

      Thanks girl! I love seeing what my body is capable of, which is why running makes me so happy 🙂

  15. Emily
    November 13, 2012 / 8:12 pm

    YAY! Congrats on such an amazing run! I always look forward to reading your race recap posts because your love for running is always so inspiring. I drastically cut back on my running for a while to let my body rest and get back to it’s healthiest state but I miss it like crazy.
    I’m definitely planning to start upping my mileage and sign up for a few 5Ks and 10Ks to ease myself back into it.

    I hope all is going well, pretty lady! <3

    • November 14, 2012 / 10:28 pm

      Thanks girl! Your comment made me smile 🙂 Running is something that makes me very happy and I’m glad I let the world know it!

      I hope everything is ok with you! Sometimes our bodies need a break from anything extreme (I took months off before) and you’re doing the smart thing by listening to its needs. Get better soon…sending good, healthy vibes your way <3

  16. November 13, 2012 / 10:39 pm

    That’s great that you made your time goal! I just started getting into doing 6 milers (this past weekend actually!!) and yes, my thighs hate me right now, but I felt sooo accomplished! I averaged about a 1:04 on my 6 milers, so your 57:23 is AMAZING! 🙂

    • November 14, 2012 / 10:30 pm

      Thanks! Before this race my fastest 6 miler was somewhere around 1:06. The competitive race atmosphere speeds you up, trust me. Keep up the great work!

  17. November 14, 2012 / 5:18 pm

    CONGRATULATIONS on an amazing race!!!!! It is so inspiring to read about how you keep improving so much with every race that you do! Sorry to hear about the logistical issues, that is so frustrating. Hopefully they get their act together next year with those. But the medal is beautiful!!!!!

    • November 14, 2012 / 11:15 pm

      Thank you Emily! It’s truly amazing what the human body can be trained to do, right? You know that much better than me though, of course, considering you ran a freaking marathon!!! Maybe we really are limitless 🙂

  18. November 15, 2012 / 4:56 am

    Congrats on another awesome race!! I’ve only done one 10K before; I really like the distance since it’s slower than a 5K, but quicker than a 1/2 Marathon! What’s next on the racing agenda? Are you doing any Christmas races? I hear they’re really fun!

    • November 15, 2012 / 9:54 pm

      Thank you! The distance was perfectly challenging although I worried about it at first. My last race of the year is a Santa Hustle on Dec. 1st (we get to wear beards and santa clothes!), but next year’s schedule is still wide open!