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