The Cliff-Notes version:
I ran to support Anne and her fundraising efforts for Uniting Against Lung Cancer. Simultaneously, I was hoping to achieve a new 5K PR but I was wildly UNsuccessful.
Now, let's talk about the race in more detail.
- In the days leading up to the race and on race day, the weather in Chicago was very suddenly and very starkly fall-like. Race-time temps were in the 40s. I wore tights, a long-sleeve shirt, and gloves, and I had even been debating wearing a hat or something to cover my ears.
- The race had a very comfortable 9:00 AM start for the 5K (the 10K started at 8:30 AM).
- In accordance with this article and this article, I was up at 7:00 AM to do a one-mile shake-out run on the treadmill. This was in the hopes that it would enhance my race performance.
- I hit no traffic enroute to the race, had no trouble finding parking, and packet pickup was a breeze.
- As is typically the case for events focused towards a cause, the event organizers and lots of participants were commemorating loved ones who had been stricken by lung disease. It was touching to see the pictures and signs.
- There were about 500 participants in the 5K. Anne and Bob had advised me that if I wanted to attempt a PR, to line up near the front as a lot of participants were not serious runners. This was great advice and ended up being easy to execute.
- The post-race refreshments included mountains of Kind Bars! I love them, but I don't get them often since they are rather expensive. What a nice treat!
- Normally, the 40-degree temperatures would have been perfect for racing. However, I had recently gotten back from 10 days in Anaheim, where the sun was blazing and the temperatures were in the upper 80s/lower 90s every day. It would have been hard enough to acclimate my body to the sudden cold even had I been in Chicago the whole time. The contrast from Anaheim made it ten times worse.
- I had trouble getting my pacing right in the first mile. I was aiming for per-mile paces around 8:15 or 8:20. When I started out, my Garmin was showing a per-mile pace of 7:10! It sure didn't feel that fast to me, but my history definitely suggests that I do tend to start too quickly. I began slowing down but my Garmin still kept reading paces in the 7's. I kept slowing more and more to the point that it felt ridiculous. Then, all of a sudden my Garmin pace slipped to around 8:45. WTH? I tried to speed up again but by that point I had lost my rhythm.
- My first mile was done around 8:30 - so not the best of starts for my goal. I was struggling not to let my mental state slip into the vortex of negativity. But as per usual, the discomfort was hard to ignore, and I wasn't thrilled about having to fight an uphill battle to make up for the lost time.
- Somewhere in the latter half of Mile 2, I started getting a cramp in my side and part of my abdomen. It hurt like the dickens for the remainder of the race.
- There were times when I was fighting the urge to slow down to a walk. Even though I already knew that there would be no PR for me that day, I thought to myself that walking would sure make for an even more ruinous PR attempt. So I kept running. The pain was so bad that I was doing my best imitation of the Hunchback of Notre Dame while running. I am sure that I looked like hell. But I kept running.
|Great running form, eh? I probably embodied the green color and furrowed brow as well.|
- My second mile was done in around 8:45 or so. All things considered, that actually wasn't too bad. I knew my third mile was going to be a doozy, though, so I didn't even bother looking at my pace during the final mile.
- My Garmin ended up measuring the course at 3.24 miles. I talked to Anne afterwards and she said that she had also measured the course at about three and a quarter miles. I was happy she corroborated my measurement because I am starting to have Garmin trust issues. It's too much of a variance for a 5K, especially as I am militant about running course tangents.
- Too-long course included, my final time (28:06) was a personal wurst and worst for any 5K that I've attempted to run for time in recent years. Real nice, eh? (At least it was better than had I been hitting my paces throughout the whole race, only to realize a long course in the end.)
Here is the one and only picture that I have from the event. This is a post-race gathering of Team Take My Breath Away, led by Anne.
On a very positive note, Anne's team raised nearly $5,000 for the UALC, making us the fifth place team for fundraising. Anne herself was the second-place individual fundraiser, as well. Go Anne!
As for setting a new 5K PR, that goal still remains unachieved for me. One of these days I will crack the nemesis that is the 5K distance. One of these days...!
My next race: The Prairie State Half Marathon on October 11