I’ll be honest, I signed up for the Run Mag Mile 10K mainly because of the name, and because the race swag (hoodies, medals) said “Run Mag Mile” and that is pretty close to my blog name. But, I’ll run the race again because it’s pretty well done!

A little bit of a backstory. Back when I was doing a lot of races, I really enjoyed Fleet Feet races, but not so much RAM Racing. RAM didn’t have a great reputation for the execution of the Hot Chocolate races. Last year, RAM and Fleet Feet combined their races and now RAM organizes all of them. Luckily, so far in my experience (Soldier Field 10, and now this race, which used to be the Chicago Women’s Half), the races are still done as well as I remember Fleet Feet doing them.

Anyway. My husband also signed up for the Run Mag Mile 5K, and since he never wears his race shirt, I was able to get both the women’s hoodie (in blue) and the men’s hoodie (in gray) in my size. Double the “Run Mag Mile” swag for me.

Packet pickup was at Fleet Feet in Old Town. I rode a Divvy up from home, about 5 miles, and I totally took the wrong route, and it was a pretty frustrating ride. However, the actual packet pick-up was very fast and easy, and I was back on the Divvy heading home (via a different route) in no time.

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Race time was 7am, so I rolled out of bed around 5am, had some coffee and oatmeal (oats + almond butter + dried cranberries) and then Robert and I hopped in an Uber shortly after 6am for the short ride to Grant Park. (If I was doing the race alone, I probably would have taken a Divvy.) We got to the race site around 6:20 or so, checked a bag, used the port-o-potties and got into the the corrals around 6:45. I was in corral D and he was in corral E (based on our expected finish times).

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You can see the gray and blue race hoodies in this pic. Also, I was amazed how many runners were wearing tights and long sleeves. It was in the low 60s and sunny! I can only assume they were overheating when we got to the sunny Lakefront Trail. 

I crossed the start line around 7:06am. The 5K and 10K runners started together, there were just over 3,000 runners total. I’m kind surprised such a small race could close down city streets now that I think of it … wonder if they had a lot more runners sign up but not run? They said the race was sold out.

Anyway, we ran south on Columbus from Jackson, turned west on Congress and then north on Michigan, all the way up to Chicago before doing a hairpin turn to come back south. So we got a nice long run on (most of) the Magnificent Mile (technically it’s from the River to Oak St). Once we got back to Randolph, the course turned east, and the 5K course turned south at Columbus to finish, and the 10K course kept going to the Lakefront Trail for an out-and-back back to Randolph, and then south on Columbus to finish.

Cheers for free race photos

The course was never too crowded. I did do some weaving, but nothing that was frustrating. Maybe I was too conservative with my expected finish time. Also, this was the first time in a long time that I paced myself with my heart rate. I’m still using the heart rate chart that I created over 5 years ago since you can adjust for your age.  My goal for this race was an average HR of 170. I used the first mile as a warmup and ignored my HR, ran at 160 miles 2-3, tried to push to 170 for miles 4-5 and 175 for the last mile. I had a hard time pushing my heart rate and keeping it where I wanted, especially in the later miles. I would hit my HR but then it would creep back down. My average HR ended up being 161, but it takes awhile to get used to this kind of pacing, so I didn’t expect to nail it for my first attempt in 3+ years. Plus I haven’t been doing any speedwork lately, so my body isn’t used to hitting those higher heart rates. My finish time was 55:03, which was an 8:52 pace, which I’m happy with.

Post-race was great. Right after crossing the finish, we got medals, Nuun (which was on the course and I skipped), water and some Luna bars. We had tickets on our bib for one drink (Revolution Brewery beer or a Moscow Mule) and brunch (eggs, sausage, bagel + jelly, fruit, cookies, rice cake).

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The sausage was really good (they were by local brand Amylu), and I always appreciate a better beer than Michelob Ultra, but the rest of the breakfast was nothing to write home about, however, it’s always nice to be able to refuel for real.

Did you run the Run Mag Mile 5K/10K? What did you think?
Have you done a RAM Racing event since they merged with Fleet Feet? Have you noticed a difference?