Saturday, May 28, 2011
Soldier Field 10
First comment: What a great race.
Never having ran this race which was now in it's 8th year I wanted to do it. Thanks to Clif Bar I was signed up. For me it started on Tuesday when I went to Fleet Feet and picked up my race packet along with four friends. It was one of the smoothest well planned race packet pick ups I've attended in and out in minutes with 5 race bibs, 5 T shirts in varying sizes.
Race morning my friend Danielle picked me up just before 5am and we drove over to a meeting point to collect four Windrunner club members and was headed to Chicago by 5:15am. Easy drive in and smooth parking around 5:40. This is one race it is best to get there early for. Danielle had some race flyers for CARA, I had to go to Clif Bar booth to get a Clif Bar running cap to wear during the race and the others had race packets to get. Back to the car to get ready, no gear check required. Danielle introduced me to more friends, boy is she well known!! We walked over to our race corral. There was six (AA, A, B, C, Open 1, open 2). I had been assigned to A down with the fast guys. I think that was due to Clif Bar. I felt sort of strange at the front so once the gun went off I ran to the side of the road.
The race started on time. First we headed south on either Lake Shore Drive or the frontage roads along side it for almost five miles then back north on the bike and running path. It was a good course even with the marina construction around 31st St.
I am one of those slow runners. I had speed at one time but after getting burned out on running then some medical and injury issues I've not yet got any speed back, distance yes speed no. I thought I could go 2:10 at this race (said I am slow) but deep down wanted to hit 2:00.
Due to being in corral A I hit the first mile in around 9 minutes, too fast. As the course went by my miles got slower. First four averaged just over 10s and I knew I'd slow down. I did but not by that much. I was excited to make the turn around at the big Clif Bar structure and head for home. This is generally one of the best city views you can get and only gets better has you get closer. Not today though as the city was covered in low clouds or fog. It reminded me of of when I got married at Navy Pier 21 years and 2 days ago (May 26) when it was also foggy. Oh well. Around mile 7 my friend Sarah passed me. I coached her to her first marathon many years ago via CARA. Sarah still calls me Coach and did today, love it. Finally I hit McCormick Place at mile nine. Checked my watch. WOW (for me) could I break 1:50. Along the bike path and make the turn on to the start line road along side Soldier Field. We had to head north and into the stadium via the service entrance, through a players tunnel and out onto the field. Fans are in the stands cheering us on, a camera crew is showing us on the jumbtron (nay didn't see myself) and I head across the grass and over the finish line on the half way line. I was done and yes broke 1:50 with a posted finish off 1:49:15. I was pleased with that.
Get a bottle of water. Walk around to soak it in especially as the finish run had gone by so fast. Left the playing field and got a nice medal, food bag and a souvenir blanket.
Easily found Danielle and gang. I was the slowest of the six so they had to wait for me join them, thanks guys. We all had good races. Drive back to western burbs was full of race talk and where to go for breakfast. Hmmm those pancakes and coffee hit the spot.
Soldier Field 10 is a great event. Everything from race sign up to packet pick up to race day organization to the shirts, medals and blankets. Kudos to Fleet Feet.
A big thanks to Clif Bar for my race number and being a race sponsor.
Another big thanks to Danielle for driving us all to the race.
I'll be back but first I have to run some trails just like my blog name.