Chicago's Perfect 10 10k - November 2011

I cannot believe I have finally completed my four-straight weekends with road races. :) It has definitely been fun though. Yesterday, I actually completed my first 10k race in years. I have been really sticking with 5ks since my back surgery besides the Half Marathon in August. Yesterday marked our one-year wedding anniversary and what better way to celebrate than making the wife get up at 5am to run a 10k at 7am :) Doesn't she look happy. :P

The race was supposed to start at 8am, but because of scheduling conflicts with another 5k in Chicago that day ours was bumped up to 7am. Thankfully my friend Miguel was running the 10 miler that day (it was Chicago's Perfect 10 miler or 10k run) so he was actually able to give us a ride, which saved us a lot of time in the AM.

We got to Navy Pier, one of the biggest tourist stops in Chicago, and got settled. This was actually the first year of the run so it was a kind of lackluster pre-race scene. I also wasn't sure whether the runs had separate starts or if everyone was starting at once. Well I walked up and down the Pier until I finally found someone to ask - the photog. He was able to ask someone else and determine we all started together. Nothing like finding that out about 10 minutes before the run started.

We went back to our corrals. I was in the 9 min/mile group and Miguel/Tori went to the 10 min/mile area. I couldn't really hear anything from where I was, but finally figured out we were started when I heard a random horn. :P

The run was to take place along the Lakefront, which I have run a lot so I sort of knew what to expect ... or not at all.

We started heading South and I was around an 8 min/mile pace. I wanted to make sure I didn't get swept up in my new 5k speed so I made sure I wasn't pushing too hard since I had an extra 3.1 miles to run.

As we embarked on Mile Two, I saw the aquarium ahead. Damn! I was not happy. There isn't a lot of running space around the aquarium. It was actually a problem the Hot Chocolate 5k run used to have before they changed their course this year. Thankfully it didn't bottleneck too much, but it was still a tight portion of the course and slowed everyone up in my group.

Once we got by the Aquarium, we encountered a hill. I did NOT expect that. But, I just powered up it. I really think my Spinning classes helped me with that extra push to get over the hill. After the hill, you either continued straight for the 10 mile run or turned around (at 3.1 miles) for the 10k. This was perfect. Now my big running group thinned out.

I was finally able to get into a groove now that I wasn't running on top of people. But, just as you turned around you had to climb back up the hill. :P Thankfully once again Spinning helped me and I just dug in.

As I hit the Mile 4 marker, I looked at my Runkeepr and it said 4.1 miles. Not sure if they measured wrong or if my GPS was slightly off. Either way I hit that spot still on a sub-9 min/mile pace. Wow! I was super proud of myself.

I just kept telling myself to keep going. Even when at Mile 5, I had to take off my hat, undo my braid and put my hair back in a bun - all while continuing at my current pace. I was sure I would wipe out, but thankfully I survived.

It was finally time to head back down the Pier. It felt like I was running in place. I never thought the finish line would come. Finally, I saw the Mile 6 marker and I just gave it everything I had. I really wanted to finish in under 55 minutes (even though my original goal was to finish under 60 minutes).

Crossing the finish line was an amazing feeling. I grabbed water and a banana before getting my medal. I heart medals!!

I chatted with a couple girls while I waited for Tori to finish/find her amongst all the runners.

It took awhile to find the results online, but I officially finished in 54:30 (8:48 min/mile). I was 175th overall out of 952 and 27th out of 184 in my division.

It was my first 10k in years and it was a blast. I felt good the whole run. I didn't have any of the wardrobe or technological setbacks that I had last week. The weather was amazing. Overall, it was a great way to kick off the day!



We are off to Hawaii November 18-25 so my next race is the Santa Hustle 5k on December 3.