With a name like “Quarryman Challenge” you are in for a serious race. Especially if have you Midwestern legs that are used to flaaaat roads. This race was tough. And it attracts a lot of local fasties, which is fun, but also makes me feel a tad slow in comparison. But, I wasn’t racing this one. I just wanted to use it to get in a good, hard training run, and see where I am before the First Midwest Half in three weeks. But, you know, a PR is always nice, and the pace Coach Vera said I could do (8:00-8:45) would be a PR.

However, it was COLD. WTF, spring? Mid-30s? Overcast? Double-digit wind speeds? And SNOW? It was light, but it definitely snowed during the race. (Sidenote: This week’s Runner Photo Challenge is “rain” but I will also accept “snow.”)

But, I had my buddy with me! About a month ago, my husband said “I’d like to do a 5K in a month.” You better believe my ears perked up when he said that. Luckily, I was already signed up for the 10mile, and there was a 5K at the same time. I warned him it would be hilly, but he was on board.

I spent a lot of time mulling over what to wear, looking up past runs in my Garmin log. (Now that Garmin includes the weather, I’ve started logging what I wore for each run.) I went with lined tights, a mock neck, a zip up top, a bondi band under a hat, and gloves. I was worried I would overheat, but I never did. Even barreling up those giant hills.

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Before the race we were able to meet up with some F’N Runners and one F’N dog 🙂 Can’t wait to read Pepper’s first race report! Some of our club members even came to spectate!

So, no surprise because I had looked at the elevation profile many times, the course was hilly. Three hills over 100 feet, and some rolling hills. Plus some steep downhills. If you’ve ran Fort2Base, think Hero Hill … times three.

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I planned to run by effort, monitoring my heart rate, and aim for what I would do during the first 10 miles of a half marathon, to see where my pace is, knowing that the hills would slow me down. My Garmin wasn’t registering my HR during the first mile and a half, and thought my BPM at the top of the first hill was around 80. Um, maybe 180. Eventually it started giving me a more reasonable reading so I went by that. Because my Garmin was also off from the mile markers, so I started manually lapping myself too. Oh technology. But between the wonky Garmin, and the varying splits due to hills, I wasn’t sure what my pace was. I was pretty sure I would PR though.

As we were coming back into downtown Lemont, where the race started and finished, a guy I had been leap frogging with said something like “let’s go purple!” (referring to my top, I assume). That motivated me to pick up the pace and pass a bunch of people, so thanks random dude! Hope you had a good race.

Erica was there (and did awesome!) and snapped this great pic of me “sprinting” to the finish:

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Look at that, not heel striking. Long ass stride. Thanks, Erica!

My fellow F’N Runner April snapped this pic of me winning the race, er, crossing the finish line:

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It was a small race (just over 300 finishers) so you could get a print up of your results right away. And I did PR! 1:24:53, 8:30 pace.

After the race they had bottled water, bananas, apple juice, delicious pizza (including veggie pizza, yum) and BEER! And not Michelob Ultra! A local watering hole was giving out Summer Shandy. Definitely appreciated. I found my husband, Kelly, our other club friends, and Erica, and also briefly ran into a co-worker / coach of the local fast club.

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Blogger fail … we didn’t get a group shot. 

By the time I got done mowing down two pieces of pizza and the beer, we were freezing – my husband especially because he had probably been waiting around for me for about 45 minutes, so we headed back to the car. I was so happy to get in the car and turn up the heat. #SpringYoureDoingItWrong

Overall, after last year’s rain out, I’m glad I was able to run the Quarryman Challenge. It was a great race, they offer race day packet pick-up, the course is well marked and manned with volunteers, I think there were 4 aid stations with water and Gatorade (although one aid station was less than a mile from the finish, weird). If you’re looking for something hilly, this definitely fits the bill. And I wish there were more 10 mile races, I think it is a really great distance.

Have you ever done a 10 mile race? Do you wish there were more races in that sub-half range? (15K, 10mi, 10 nautical mile, 20K)