Paws Chicago 8k - September 2011

I can't believe today's race was my first since the Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon August 14. I really missed racing. I definitely had those butterflies in my stomach while I was standing at the start line ... and I loved it. My wife wasn't able to run today because of her ankle/being sick, but she still came out to support me/take pictures (you can catch her awesome slideshow at the end of this post). My friend Ellie was sick all week, but thankfully was feeling good enough today to still participate in the run. We have a pretty similar pace so I was stoked to actually have a running buddy (usually I run all races solo).

There didn't seem to be that many runners so I was confident we would be able to get into a good rhythm. They also had us run along the Lakefront, which I used all the time for my Half Marathon training so I knew the course well.

We started out together and strong and didn't look back! We hit the first mile in 9:45. I looked at El and she agreed that we were at a good pace. But, as we bobbed and weaved throughout the crowd, our pace sped up! When we hit Mile Two, I think we were at a 9:12 pace. Wow! I was proud of us, but was really hoping I wasn't going to burn out too early.

My body felt strong as we hit the turnaround mark at Mile 2.5 ... then the rain hit. I knew there was a possibility it was going to rain, but was really hoping it would hold off. Nope! It started at the turnaround point, but thankfully hit our backs as we turned and headed to the finish. When we got to about mile 3.5, I decided to tail it back a little so I could really break out during the final mile. Since at that time, I realized we were going at about a 9:04 min/mile.

I was hoping to finish in less than 50 min (since that would be 10 min/mile pace), but when I saw that a sub-45 min time was in my reach, I knew I had to go all out. As we hit Mile 4, we took it to a new level. I just went off. Thankfully a good song came on the iPod, which helped. I turned at Mile 4 and BAM! Hill. Ok people, who puts a hill in the last mile of a race :P But, I powered up it. I felt good. As I made it up over the hill, the rain started coming down even harder, which pushed me to keep going.

I was adjusting my iPhone so I could turn off my Runkeeper as I passed the finish line, but somehow turned it off. All of a sudden I heard "you completed a 4.72 mi run." Nooooo I yelled (literally out loud). I was bumming. But, that told me I was at a 8:58 min/mile pace. So I had to power on. I just told myself to run as fast as I could.

I crossed the line and the board said 44:15. I knew I started about 30 seconds after the clock started so that took me to an unofficial 43:45. Then came the waiting for the official results...

I finally got them! 43:43, good for a pace of 8:48 min/mile. DAMN! I have never run that fast. Wow I was proud of myself. Ellie finished just 16 seconds behind me. We rocked it!

I felt awesome the entire run. No back/hip/knee/foot problems to report. Now I cannot wait 'til my next run ... Bucktown 5k October 2! :)

Check out my wife's awesome slideshow from today...