Last year I was invited to join a running group that competes on the CARA circuit. I knew I wasn't going to score any real points for the team with age group wins, but I could still get participation points so I signed up for a bunch of races on the circuit. It helps that I'm also a race addict. The first race on the circuit this year was the Live Grit Lakefront 10 Miler.
As tends to be the case I woke up race morning after going to bed too late the night before. I got myself together and hydrated and ate a Kashi bar before taking the bus towards Montrose Harbor. I made it to the race site without having to run to the start this time. I found Mo at the Ragnar tent and Pete strolled up a few minutes later. We discussed goals and I basically said finish and PR since I've actually run 14 marathons since my last 10 mile race which was Soldier Field in 2014. Wrap your minds around that.
I didn't have a whole lot of time before I got myself together and dropped off my stuff at gear check before heading to the start corrals. I opted for shorts and tshirt on this chilly day with arm warmers and gloves. I'm like a furnace when I run so I knew I wouldn't be cold for long, but it always seems like forever when in the corrals. After an acapella version of the national anthem we were off and running.
I quickly realized that I started myself too far back and that I was running pretty fast at the start. I also felt that maybe I hadn't hydrated as well as I should have before the race. Oops. The first mile ticked off in 7:01. The next few were around the 7:05 range and this included slowing to actually drink water at the aid stations and climbing over Cricket Hill. I had been finally getting over whatever funk had been plaguing me for months at it was starting to show.
As the course wound down and around Diversey Harbor my legs began to become uncooperative and heavy. It's been so long since I've run this fast and for this long. I began to focus on re-gathering myself and trying to optimize my strides. My pace fell off a bit, but I held on to sub-8:00. I also think I mentally caused myself to slow down on the way back to Montrose to conserve energy for the 2nd trip over the hill. This 2nd climb was definitely more of a trudge, but once it was over I gathered myself on the downhill and made a strong push to the finish with a 7:18 mile while hovering around a 6:45 pace for the last 1/4 mile.
I wound up finishing in 1:13:11 for a 7:19 min/mile pace and a new PR by 12 1/2 minutes to boot! I got my medal, gatorade, water, and part of a bagel and wandered over to get my gear and then back to the Ragnar tent. After catching up with people, me and Pete decided to head to the beer garden to celebrate our PRs. We stood near the back rope and had a few people slip us extra tickets which added to our cause. We had more than we can drink so we gave a ticket to a girl that was there and talked to her a bit. After she left Pete gave me a hard time for not getting her number. What can I say? I'm not smooth at all.