Monday, June 2, 2014

2014 Run For the Zoo 10K

The United Run for the Zoo 10K is one of Jennifer's favorite races.  It's in the neighborhood and easy to get to.  This means I'm pretty much obligated to sign up for the race.  The 2014 edition was my 3rd time running this race as well as the 3rd different route for the course.  Various construction projects over the last few years have meant that the course has not stayed consistent.

I opted to pick up my packet on Friday evening.  I altered my usual running route to finish at the zoo and was able to pick up the packet early Friday evening.  As I left the cafe with my packet I noticed that the African Wild Dogs were going nuts.  They were running around their enclosure like crazy.  I soon figured out why when they suddenly disappeared - it was dinner time.  I then proceeded to enjoy a leisurely stroll the remaining 3/4 of a mile home.

Moved too fast to get a front shot.

On race day I awoke to find that things were already getting warm.  I walked down to the zoo and found Jennifer near gear check and waited for Chris.  Soon we headed to the starting line.  It was already warm, sunny, and humid.  I broke a sweat just waiting to start the race.  I never really had any intention to run for time.  I'm not in any sort of conditioning to go all out for a 10K.  I figured I'd do a tempo run and use it to help re-build my speed conditioning.  Soon we were off and running and of course I started too fast.

The first part of the course ran up Cannon drive to Diversey which was wide enough to accommodate the early race crowds.  We soon went under the path at Diversey Harbor and onto the Lakefront Path.  This underpass was narrow and not conducive to racing, but I didn't experience any full stops like Jennifer did.  We ran north along the harbor to just shy of the Waveland tennis courts before turning back south along the main path.  We then came back through the other side of the Diversey Harbor underpass and ran along the inner trails back down to Fullerton and down south to the baseball fields before curling back into the zoo for the final stretch.  There were quite a few turns in the race and it seems like they made the effort to incorporate what little hills we do have along the lakefront into the course.

The race went relatively according to plan for me.  I did start a bit fast and briefly flirted with the idea of actually running for time, but then remembered that it was a bit toasty out and backed off the pace.  I kept my split times relatively close in the low 8s the rest of the way.  I did have a slow last mile because I had tried to take water on the run, and I'm not very good at it yet, and wound up choking when the water went down the wrong pipe.  I wound up stopping and gagging before gathering my composure and continuing on with the race.  My body was a little out of sync for the next half mile before I recovered and finished strong.

I wound up finishing with my 4th best 10K time ever.  This should be taken with a grain of salt since I've only ever run 7 total 10K races.  It was 4 minutes slower than my PR, but that was on a rainy mid 50s day and not a sunny 80s day like this race was.  I'm happy with the result and it gives me something to build on as I slowly return to racing form.

Next up:  Ragnar Madison to Chicago!

1 comment:

  1. Way to go Eric! I've never done this race. I've done races in that area but don't like it because of parking. I prefer races downtown because it is so easy for me to get there on the train.