The race-time weather forecast was calling for clear skies with temps in the mid- to upper 50s and rising. I had originally been planning to wear capris and a long-sleeved shirt, but decided at the last minute to switch to a short-sleeve shirt. Even with this change, I was fearing that I was overdressed. It's such a frequent challenge.
Erin and I hopped into my car and trekked up to Montrose Harbor. We arrived on site and met up with these fabulous ladies for a pre-race photo:
|From L to R: Erin, Marcia, Sara, Wendy, Zenaida, and me|
It was terrific to see everyone! It was especially great to meet Sara and Wendy in person for the first time - they are both such awesome women!
Zenaida and I were planning to run together as long as we could. My hope to was finish sub 1:40, as my 10-mile PR was 1:41:15. I mentioned to Zenaida that I wanted to try to run at a 10-minute pace for the first five miles, and then try to speed up in the second half.
Off to the starting line. After a recorded rendition of the national anthem that most of us couldn't hear, the runners took off.
My Garmin was indicating a 9:45 pace during most of the first mile. Since I do tend to start out too quickly, I tried to slow down a little. Zenaida and I ended up crossing the Mile 1 marker in 10:25. I was dismayed at the apparent inaccuracy of my Garmin, while also thinking that I might have already undermined my time goal. I told Zenaida that I wanted to speed up. She told me to go on ahead.
In the name of maintaining relatively even splits, I wanted to make up for the lost time on a gradual basis. Surprisingly, I hit the Mile 2 marker in about 9:35. This made me think that I had overcorrected and that yet again I was starting out too fast. Isn't it funny how quickly the mentality can change?
I decided to stop paying so much "real-time" attention to my Garmin and to run by feel instead.
The course went over the infamous Cricket Hill around Mile 3. By Chicago standards, this hill is a big deal. I'm also the biggest flatlander you'll ever find in the running hemisphere. However, the horrors of Calvert Hill in DC must have altered my perspective because for once, the hill didn't faze me. I charged right on up.
|Zenaida took this great picture of Cricket Hill.|
Doesn't it look so lush and green despite the terror it instills in Chicago runners?
The course went south on the lakefront path to Fullerton Avenue around Mile 6, then turned around and headed back north. As soon as I made the turnaround, I was hit by a veritable wall of wind. Holy cow! Where did that come from?
My hope was to run a negative split, but the wind was relentless. As I pushed through, my hands and arms got progressively colder and stiffer. My left hip flexor and piriformis were both aching, too. Not surprisingly, my splits for the next two miles rose to just over 10 minutes apiece. I was glad that I had some extra time banked up.
I hit Mile 9 at 1:28:20. I told myself that it would be great to finish with something starting with a 1:37. Doing some quick math in my head, this meant running the final mile in less than 9:40. Yes, I can do this!
A few minutes later, my Garmin was reading around 9.5 miles but course marshals were telling us, "Just a quarter-mile to go!" Really? Either they didn't have their facts straight or my Garmin was off. Both were possibilities, LOL. In this case, my Garmin ended up being pretty accurate.
Then, my favorite part of the race - seeing the finish line! I gleefully sprinted the final tenth of a mile. What a thrill it was to see a 1:37:XX on my Garmin after crossing!
My official finishing time was 1:37:43. This is a 3:32 improvement over my prior PR. WOO HOO!!!
After grabbing some post-race food, I met back up with Erin, Zenaida, Marcia, Sara, and Wendy. It was awesome to hang out and chat with everyone. Huge congrats and high fives to Erin, Wendy, and Sara, who also PR'd!!!
Here is our post-race photo:
Notice that almost all of us were wearing jackets here. The temperature felt like it had dropped about 20 degrees compared to the start! At that point, I was really glad to have the clothing that I did. Gotta love how temperamental Chicago weather is, eh?
Here's the finisher's medal:
The new PR was a huge momentum booster for me. There is no better feeling than seeing visible results from all of the training efforts. Suddenly I am super motivated to continue working hard so I can keep improving. Bring it on!!!
My next race: The Race to Wrigley 10K on Saturday, April 25.
Nice work! I'm so glad you got a PR, especially with those tough conditions for the last four miles. That wind was brutal! Glad you had such an awesome race, and I hope you're able to continue this momentum into next weekend :)ReplyDelete
Thanks Bethany!!! Bummer that I didn't get to see you out there on Saturday - I was looking for you! Erin said that she saw you at the PT tent - I think she said you were getting stretched out. Assuming so, that must have felt really good!Delete
Can't wait to read your recap of the race, too! BTW - I went onto the My Chicago Athlete website to look for race results and I saw a TON of the articles that you had written. GO BETHANY!!!
Great job! That wind was brutal! How the heck did that happen?ReplyDelete
It was so great meeting you. I can't wait until we race together again!
Thanks so much, Wendy! Great job to you too! Way to smash your previous PR, despite that crazy wind!!! The weather started out so nice early in the day, didn't it? It was so deceiving!Delete
It was so great meeting you, as well and I also can't wait until we race together again soon!!! Can't wait to hear how things go for you at the Great Western Half coming up!!!
A PR!! Awesome. I love the weatherman pie chart. SO TRUE. We had 100% chance of rain and it didn't rain a drop. It probably would have been better if it had. LOL. I'm sure it was so fun to meet up with other bloggers. Nice medal.ReplyDelete
Thanks HoHo!!! Isn't the weatherman pie chart hilarious? I only wish that I could have a job like that where I could be wrong so frequently but not experience any negative consequences from it. =D I agree that it's better for it to rain versus experiencing 100% humidity. Your race this weekend obviously had much tougher conditions than ours did. Way for you to push through!!!Delete
Awesome job! You kept with what felt good and persevered when the going got tough! I'm glad the weather was decent for you even with the wind! Keep up the great work!ReplyDelete
Thanks Lauren!!! I am excited to keep testing out this "run by feel" strategy in the future. It's funny that my Garmin being off-kilter actually resulted in me running a better race than I probably would have if it was completely accurate, LOL. Thanks again!!!Delete
Way to hang onto a PR with that wind in the back half! It was great seeing you again as always. I really like this race!ReplyDelete
Thanks Marcia! Way for you also to push through the crazy wind and all the other challenges, despite not having the endurance base you wanted. It was great to see you again as always, too! I can't wait for the next race we run together!!! BTW - keep me posted on the ASICS vs the Mizunos, too.Delete
Great race!!! I'm happy that your hard work is paying off. Looking forward to what else you can do this year :-)ReplyDelete
P.S. Thanks for driving!
Thanks Erin!!! Likewise, huge congrats to you too on your shiny new PR, plus placing so high in your AG. The field at this race is super competitive, so that really says a LOT about how strong your performance was! Not to mention that you've been focused so much more on strength-training recently versus running. You are really knocking things out of the park!Delete
It was my pleasure to drive!!! It is always nice to have the company. Please do keep me posted on whether you might want to run Wrigley or Cinco de Miler with me. =)
Congrats on the awesome PR! I am happy you decided to stop looking at the Garmin and just run by feel! It seems like that really helped!ReplyDelete
What the heck... do you always have to run on the grass at this race? How odd!
Thanks Kim! I've heard of a lot of folks experiencing great results when they stop looking at their Garmin so much. Up until this race, I have always been too terrified to attempt that, though. This is because often I feel like I am running faster than I actually am - and that makes me believe I need the Garmin to keep me on track. But I forget that it works the other way around, too!Delete
Cricket Hill was literally the only grassy portion of this race! The entire rest of the course is on pavement. Almost all of it takes place on the lakefront trail. =D
Congrats on the PR! You gotta love those Chicago "hills." I always chuckle to myself when I'm slowed by any sort of incline.ReplyDelete
Thanks Meghan! It's funny - my friends from Pittsburgh and other hilly areas laugh at us Midwesterners here. One once told me she thought our terrain was so boring. I told her that I liked boring. Boring is good!!! =DDelete
Congrats on the PR! So amazing you did so well in those crap conditions- definitely shows you are getting much stronger as a runner :) and probably better you stopped looking at the garmin and ran by feel. The pace or distance displayed can definitely have a negative impact on your mental game during a race. Just lock into your pace and gooooooooo! :)ReplyDelete
Thanks so much Xaar! Incidentally - I went with your suggestion earlier this week about doing longer speed intervals to get more bang for your buck. You weren't kidding! The ratio of 3:30 tempo to 1:30 recovery is quite a workout!!! I only did 4 intervals to start but am looking forward to working upwards in the coming weeks. =)Delete
3:32 is a huge PR! Congrats! And no joke - that hill looks pretty nasty to me. (I might give you a run for your money on the title of Biggest Flatlander! LOL!) I'm so happy for you! I just know how good a PR feels and especially one as big as that! This is only adding fuel to my fire for wanting to get out and race more!ReplyDelete
Thank you so much, Amy! And I completely disagree on you challenging me for my title - I've SEEN some of the hills that you've run and you've got me beat by a longshot. =) I am super excited to see how awesome you are going to do with your training and your goals this year, too! YAY for Twin Cities!!!Delete