Spoiler:  I RAN 10 MILES! PAIN-FREE!

My goal this spring has been to run 10 miles. I always had the idea of running the Soldier Field 10, but didn’t want to commit to it just in case my knee wasn’t on board. My long runs were going well, but I also questioned if I wanted to do a race when I wasn’t running my old “race” paces.

But at the end of the day … I wanted a medal. I wanted something to show my knee who is boss. (My ass, apparently, since strong glutes are the key to avoiding knee pain.) Plus the weather looked good, and I figured a supported run would be nicer than running solo. So I got a bib last minute.

The weather was ideal. It rained overnight, but cleared up by morning. It was 60 and sunny at race time. I got out of bed around 5:20 and had some coffee and my usual smoothie (almond milk, banana, strawberry, oats, Vega One chocolate) and was out the door around 6:10. Since the race offers free parking at Soldier Field, I drove over. There were some traffic backups from about Roosevelt & Michigan all the way into the garage, but I live 2 miles away, so I rolled into the parking garage shortly after 6:30. By the time I got to the entrance of Soldier Field, the Red corrals were close to closing, so I timed things well.

This year, the race started on the field, which was nice. Everyone could see the pre-race ceremony on the jumbotron. I had a bib for corral C, but saw pacers for 10:30-11:30 in corrarl G, so I opted to start with that group. We got going shortly after 7am.

The first couple miles were crowded. I’m not sure what the logic was for the corrals, because there were 8:30 and 9:00 pace groups that came up behind me … after the 11:30 pace group. Weird. We ran through the McCormick Place tunnel and then ended up on the northbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive for a few miles before turning onto the Lakefront Path about halfway through to head back to Soldier Field.

I dug out my old Garmin watch for this race. (And my I ❤ Fast Women top, which got a few compliments.) I wasn’t sure if my old watch could hold a charge (it did) and it took me until mile 3 to realize that the HR strap needs a new battery and that any HR it was registering wasn’t mine. I tried to lap myself every time I passed a mile marker, but some of them were really off. I know I didn’t go from a 13:00 pace to an 8:00 pace from one mile to the next.

After we passed mile 7, I was feeling good and started picking up the pace. My average pace for the first 7 miles was 11:11 (that includes pee and selfie breaks – two separate breaks), and my last 3 miles were 9:54, 9:39 and 9:02.

It was fun to run back onto Soldier Field and finish. I felt good, and got a medal from a cute sailor. Not my sailor, but same uniform 🙂

Even though my only goal today was to finish 10 miles, I also kind of wanted to beat my time from the last time I ran the Soldier Field 10 in 2011 – 1:48:42. And I did!

SF10-official-splits

By 32 seconds! Ha! I’ll take it!

Overall, I’m feeling good … and so is my knee. I want to keep building up my mileage (I have yet to crack 20 miles in one week) and see what happens, and still focusing on strength building and yoga.

Did you do the SF10 today? How was it?