Race Report: Chicago’s Perfect 10

I was fully expecting that by November 10, I would be racing in fall clothes. Which I was looking forward to, I’m kind of over shorts and body glide. Instead we got unseasonably warm temps today (low-to-mid 50s). But you can’t really complain about temps like that (although the local Lite FM station is already playing Christmas music, which is weird when it’s so warm out). The weather this morning was perfect. (For the Perfect 10, haha.)

Kim, Melissa, Amanda, me. Check out my “arm warners” – Target knee socks strike again.

I carpooled up to the race with some ladies from my running club. We opted to just park at Navy Pier and split the $19 parking. Around 7:15 (race time was 7:30), they announced that the start of both races (10 miles and 10K) would be delayed 30 minutes. According to their Facebook page, that was because one of their vendors was a no show. Since we could wait indoors, we didn’t really care. Actually, this was better because by this time the lines at the bathrooms closest to the race “expo” area were loooong, so we had time to head back down the pier (toward the city) and find a reasonable bathroom line.

I posted yesterday that my easy goal was to PR, but my actual goal was to finish in 1:30. My “hard” goal (that I wasn’t going to try to chase since I haven’t run all week due to this hip/groin stiffness) was to beat my pace from my PR half marathon (8:41 pace). But, as always, my plan was just to run by heart rate and go with that. I figured I would target a range between my half marathon and 10K heart rates. I lined up in the 9:00 corral.

The course started on Navy Pier, went south on the Lakefront Path, at 5 miles we turned around and come back. We went past downtown, Buckingham Fountain, the museum campus, Soldier Field, McCormick Place – all very pretty, but the Lakefront Path isn’t closed to the public during races, so there were still other runners and cyclists out, and it’s kind of a narrow path for a race. But it wasn’t unbearable, and it didn’t slow me down. They had the 10 mile race start first, the 10K was supposed to start 15 minutes after, but it was actually 8 minutes after according to a friend who ran the 10K. Both races ran along the same course, and the 10K turned back sooner.

Around mile 7, after we joined back up with the 10K runners, which was a little awkward because we were at such different paces. I did have to weave a little bit, but I never got stuck and it didn’t slow me down.

My splits were 9:03, 8:50, 9:26, 9:05, 8:52, 8:57, 8:59, 8:50, 8:12, 7:31. I left my Garmin on auto-lap and would lap myself again if the mile marker sign was off from when my watch beeped, so these splits aren’t perfect. I’ll admit that I really picked up my pace during the last .2, when I thought a guy was going to pass me. I don’t know why I do that, these races are chip-timed, but I’ll take whatever works to push me to go faster.

My heart rate strategy was keep it at the high end of what I target for a half marathon for the first few miles, then let it creep up into my 10K zone in the middle, then creep into my 5K zone for the last 3 miles. I’m no expert, so I don’t know if that’s ideal. Given how fast my last two miles were, I probably could have started a little bit faster, and aimed for just under my 10K zone. But, I’d rather start conservative and finish strong than struggle at the end.

My time was 1:27:51, and overall pace of 8:48. So I hit my sub-1:30 goal, but I was 7 seconds slower than my half marathon PR pace. Considering how little speedwork I’ve done recently, I’m pretty happy with my time today.

As for my left hip/groin, it was feeling a little stiff during the race, and my left hamstring felt stiff after I finished. I stretched it out a little and that helped. The true test will be how it feels when I wake up tomorrow. That is when I feel it the most.

Afterwards I met back up with my carpoolers and was also able to meet fellow blogger Luz.

Me, Luz, and her friend whose name I forgot
Amanda, Melissa, Me, Kayla, Kim

I thought this race was pretty well done, but given how many races I’ve done on the Lakefront Path (and the fact that anyone can run there for free), I don’t know if I would do it again. I did appreciate that the pre- and post-race areas were indoors. Pre-race, there could have been more signs directing people to other bathrooms (I’ve been to Navy Pier many times and knew where to look for additional bathrooms), or a few port-o-potties would have been helpful. Post race, they had cups of water, bagels and bananas that were much more overripe than I prefer, and PowerAde, which I don’t drink. Zico was there handing out coconut water, which I love, so I appreciated that. But cups of water instead of water bottles, especially for longer races, is a pet peeve of mine.

I really liked the medal though:

Chicago's Perfect 10


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18 Comments on “Race Report: Chicago’s Perfect 10”

    1. I saw you when you were on your way back after the turn around, I assume you were pacing a friend. By the time it registered to me that it was you, it was too late to yell out. Looked like you gals were doing awesome!

  1. I was one of the people out for a run on the lakefront during this race. I made it a point to stay off to the side to not disturb the racers. I looked for you, but didnt see you. I did see one of your friends in the yellow shirts. I also have a hard time paying to race on the lakefront when I run out by the Shedd any day that I care to for free. Really stinks they delayed the start by 30 minutes…

    Congrats on achieving your goal time. Thats a sweet medal too 🙂

  2. I agree that it was annoying that some people decided to run into the race the day of the race. I had this one idiot who i almost ran into on his bike. Congrats on your PR :). Thats awesome. Also another thing that made me upset was that when I was running the last .2 of the race a guy was casually walking with a starbucks cup in his hand. I screamed at him saying “MOVE OUT OF THE WAY”. He gave me the middle finger. I almost ran into him and I wanted to punch him after that. haha.

  3. Sounds like you had a great race! Were the shirts any better this year? I had a temper tantrum last year because Matt did the 10k and got an awesome shirt, and i did the 10 mile and my shirt was the color of baby puke, haha. I suppose the medal makes up for it though!

  4. Congratulations on completing another great race! I’m really bummed I didn’t find you and everyone else, the morning felt so hectic and post-race felt even more hectic. I agree that it was annoying when other non-racers were on the path – bikers who honked were even worse. Other than that, I’m glad we at least got medals 🙂

  5. Congrats on a great race! I am always hesitant to sign up for races on open trails, for crowding reasons. Did the 10 Mliers have the signage issues on course like the 10Kers did? (I read about that on Irina’s blog)

    1. There could have been more signs. We shared the same course, so I know the part where she got caught having to go over a wall. I ran on the street, and going over the bridge (over the river) was awkward because it’s grates, and I wished I was on the sidewalk, but then when I saw the folks on the sidewalk climbing over the wall, i was glad I stayed on the street.

  6. CONGRATULATIONS on another fantastic race!!! Gorgeous medal!!! Sorry to hear about the logistical issues that you experienced, what a bummer. But way to smash your PR!!!

    Sorry also to hear about the groin stiffness, too. You may recall that I was hit with nagging groin pain during the month leading up to the Chicago Marathon, and ran the marathon with it. It’s not pleasant, to say the least. (For me, the biggest culprit has been weak hip muscles – which I am still working on rehabbing.) I wish you a speedy recovery!!!

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