I ran this race last year and found it to be very well-organized, not to mention very affordable. The best races, I think, are ones that are organized by runners themselves. And this race definitely takes the cake in that aspect.
Going into this race, I did not have as strong of a training base as I would have liked. Up until this past week, I have only been running twice a week - one 3-mile speed session during the week and then a long run on the weekends. Even with this, I've still taken several more stepback weeks and rest days than I normally would. This is due to concern over my left ankle, which is starting to get wonky. So I wasn't sure how this race would go but I was just hoping to get to the finish smoothly.
Erin was using the race as her last training run before the Illinois Marathon next weekend, so she offered to run with me. She and Jason came by to pick me up enroute to the race. As we pulled into the parking lot, we were greeted by this:
|(All race photos courtesy of Jason and Erin unless otherwise noted)|
Yes, folks, that was the biggest pothole I've ever seen in my life, big enough to swallow a garbage bin. At what point does a pothole stop being a pothole and start turning into a sinkhole? After seeing this video chronicling the attack of the giant sinkhole, we decided to avoid parking or lingering near the scene.
Here are some pictures of Erin and me pre-race.
The race weather forecast called for temperatures in the low- to mid-30s. It had also snowed the night before, as you can see. Maybe someday spring will really get here.
The race itself was pretty uneventful - no unusual runners/spectators and no unusual observations. Erin let me set the pace with a 9:1 run/walk ratio, while walking through all of the aid stations.
Here is a picture of us that I think was taken close to mile 2:
Around mile 2.5 was the infamous Cricket Hill. Here's a picture of us coming down it:
I was nervous about how my ankle would hold up. I did roll it a couple of times along the course, but it didn't bother me too much. Instead, my conditioning ended up being more of the limiting reagent. I started getting tired during mile 7.
I was trying not to think about it, but I started getting that feeling of dread for what the last few miles had in store for me. Erin helped pull me through it. She did a great job keeping our conversation going, even though I was having some difficulty talking. It helped distract me from the fatigue.
Despite not being able to see the finish line until we were nearly upon it, I did manage to pick up some speed in the final mile. My official finishing time was 1:46:32.
Picture from CARA's Facebook page
Here are our splits. I thought for sure that we'd end up with a majorly positive split, but in the end it actually ended up being pretty even.
Mile 1: 10:45
Mile 2: 10:50
Mile 3: 10:50 <---- Cricket Hill
Mile 4: 10:31
Mile 5: 10:26
Mile 6: 10:40 <---- GU
Mile 7: 11:00 <---- Fatigue
Mile 8: 10:52
Mile 9: 10:34
Mile 10: 10:01
It was nice to shave off about 2 minutes from last year's time. Admittedly, I did think that my recent 8 weeks of speedwork would make a more visible difference. But no complaints. I enjoyed the festivities and the energy of my fellow runners, and it felt good to get the first race of 2013 under my belt. Many thanks to Erin for running with me and keeping me going during those tough miles.
My next race: the Wisconsin Half Marathon on May 4.
Good job finishing! I saw the setup when I went out for the morning run! I hope the path wasn't as icey once the sun came up! Keep it up!ReplyDelete
Thank you so much! Gosh, yes, there were indeed portions of the path that felt like skating rinks - but thankfully the volunteers were great about cautioning us and salting the course. I hope you had a great morning run, other than the ice it was gorgeous out!Delete
Congrats on shaving 2 minutes off of last year's time. I did not realize the race took you over Cricket Hill. That's tough, yet very cool. Looks like you ran some nice, even splits.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Pete! Yes, due to some construction on Fullerton last year, CARA changed the course to go over Cricket Hill and then started marketing the race as "the hilliest in Chicago." =) Even though that construction is now complete, they kept the same course this year (I think it is a marketing ploy!) We were saying that it's good that the hill is early in the race, instead of towards the end when we're all dying!Delete
Yes, it's good they kept the hill for the early stages! However, it still makes it harder to get a 10 Mile PR in this race! :)Delete
It sure is! CARA always wants to keep us flatlanders on our toes, literally and figuratively. =DDelete
Congrats! So awesome you took 2ReplyDelete
Minutes off of last years time. I'm also happy your ankle held up :) nice job on the even splits and picking it up near the finish!
Why is there a hill in the middle of this!?! Haha
Spring, where are you? Please come soon. Xoxo
Thanks, Xaar! It was indeed a huge relief that the ankle held up - I think the shoes make a big difference, too (I wore my Asics, which are now becoming my favorite running shoes). I really think that CARA is utilizing Cricket Hill as a marketing ploy for this race, LOL. Clearly they don't realize that flatlanders such as me are not targetable by that kind of marketing!Delete
Seriously, where is spring!?!?!? I feel the need to put on an SOS and a search committee for spring. It's crazy to have snow in the middle of April!!! =(
I can't believe how cold and snowy it was just yesterday! I was just down at the lake, and it at least looks like spring now :)ReplyDelete
Great job on such a consistent pace, especially as you were getting tired, and congrats on getting your first race of the year out of the way! This looks fun, maybe I'll join you and Erin next year when 10 miles is (hopefully!) no longer a big, scary distance for me :)
Thanks, Anne! I was just thinking about you coming back from Hawaii - the cold and snow must have been such a rude homecoming. =( Regardless, glad to have you back home and it looks you had a great vacation! Can't wait to hear more about it!Delete
The CARA Lakefront 10 is a fantastic race and I think you'd really enjoy it! It'd be great to have you there next year - and by the time you nail your first half marathon, the 10 miles will be cake for you! =D
Thankfully we didn't actually SEE any snow :) But it was a little bit of a shock walking out of O'hare in shorts and sandals! We took a ton of pictures, so once I can get those kind of organized, I'll be sharing more :) I already want to go back, so I can see why you love Hawaii so much!Delete
This reminds me that I'm signed up for the Soldier Field 10 mile in May, so I'm sure once I have that under my belt 10 miles will be no problem!
Oooh, I can't wait to see all of the rest of your pictures! Everyone else must have been so envious of you when you stepped off the plane since it was obvious you had come from somewhere tropical.Delete
I have heard such great things about the Soldier Field 10! I've never run it myself but it's a favorite of many so I am sure you'll have a blast!
Great job yesterday! I couldn't believe the snow when I woke up yesterday. I'll see you in Kenosha for the Wisconsin Half :)ReplyDelete
Thanks, Mo! I was bummed when I realized we didn't have a blogger meetup scheduled yesterday. But weren't those icy pathways crazy along the course? I am glad to hear you are running Wisconsin - can't wait to see you there! And hopefully by then spring will finally truly be here. =)Delete
Congrats on your finish and beating last year's time. I can't believe you had snow! Actually, we had a dusting of snow down here yesterday morning too. UGH. So ready for spring to REALLY get here.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Maggie! I am still in disbelief at the snow, too. I was talking to Erin about how the course and conditions must have been a little reminiscent of the F^3 half that y'all ran! Total craziness. Spring truly can't get here soon enough!!!Delete
Great job Emily! Glad that the ankle held up. My training has not been going as well I would like either lately, but oh well. Can't wait til Wisconsin! :) I am so ready for spring, but I always hear about how it is worse in MN so I feel a little better about the weather here. MN has had 2 snowstorms in the last week or so. One of those storms gave my cousin 15 inches of snow! YIKES! Hopefully spring will be here soon!!!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Kayla! I can imagine that you've been extraordinarily busy with work and preparing for graduation, so it's completely understandable that you wouldn't have a lot of time to train. But we'll just have fun at Wisconsin - I am excited to catch up with you there! 15 inches of snow in MN!?!?!? Now I feel bad for complaining about the quarter-inch of snow we got over the weekend!!! =PDelete
Yep Wisconsin is going to be purely for fun! :) I'm excited!Delete
When are you heading up? We should plan a brunch for afterwards!Delete
I've been living in El Paso too long; as soon as I saw the snow, I assumed it was dust/dirt like we have. Haha! Guess it's still on the chilly side in Chi Town.ReplyDelete
Good job on those splits! Maybe it didn't feel like your strongest race ever, but you put forth a good effort. And I love the square race medal. Bling bling!
Thanks, Amy! Appreciate the pep talk! You are right that it definitely did NOT feel like a good race, but I know that sadly they can't all be PR-efforts. And this just makes us appreciate our good races even more, right?Delete
Ahhh, very interesting regarding the snow! I could definitely see how it could look like dirt/dust at first glance. It must have been quite a change for you to go from the cold and snow in Germany to the desert of El Paso!
Woo! Thanks for keeping ME company! I'm glad I could help you stay distracted for those last three miles. And you totally found some speed in that last mile. I guess your body wanted to be done!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Erin! I would have taken a lot more walking breaks had you not been there, that's for sure. I don't know about you, but my quads are still sore from the race, yikes! (See, this is the huge benefit of all your marathon training. 10 miles feels like a challenge to me now, but to you I know it's a walk in the park right now. =) )Delete
I can't believe how snowy the ground was! I saw snow on the cars that morning, but it was minimal (we used credit cards to scrape off). You battled a "winter race" on April 20!!!! Looks like you're in good shape for Wisconsin!!ReplyDelete
Credit cards are FANTASTIC snow scrapers in a pinch. =D The ways we learn to adapt on the fly to unexpected winter, eh? I am super excited for Wisconsin - can't wait to catch up with you there!!!Delete