Ha, well I not only survived this race but I ran a PR.
First let’s go back, there were personally some obstacles going into this race that made me very nervous
1) I was on a serious time crunch
2) I had a formal event to go to the night before, in which I did plan on drinking at
3) The CTA almost prevented me from getting to this race.
So I’ll start from the beginning- I signed up for this race sometime ago- because you will usually get a better price the earlier you sign up versus the closer to the race date. However I had it stuck in my head that the race date was April 27. Meanwhile my boyfriend bought us ticket’s for his Law School’s Barristers Ball (it’s like a Law Prom) which was at Soldier Field. It wasn’t until about 2 weeks ago that I put everything together and realized this formal was the night before my race.
Then came the questions- should I drink? What should I eat? What should I wear on my feet? I wasn’t feeling like it was a great idea to wear heels the night before a race- not only for comfort but to prevent the likelihood of unfriendly blisters. So I went with a longer dress and sandals… best.choice.ever.
In terms of drinks and food. I knew there would be hors d’oeuvres, but I did not know what type or how much. Now any race that’s a distance over 6 miles I take pre-race fueling really seriously. And hors d’oeuvres….well I didn’t really think of that as being serious pre-race fuel. So before we left I stopped by Noodles and Company (who was actually a sponsor to the race) and got my “lucky pre-race meal” 🙂 their whole grain Tuscan Linguine with either the Parmesan chicken or shrimp… It’s either this or the pasta fresca. For me personally it’s the right portion, and I know know that I can “tolerate” it. So I gobbled that down, got ready and we went. The other concerns were sleep and drinking. I decided right from the get go- 1 cocktail, and no more than 2 light beers. I stuck to that. I had a baby-buzz on but that was it. We were back by 12:30, and I was in bed by 12:45 (I had already laid out my gear for the race- again best.choice.ever).
I had also already looked up how I was going to get to the start of the race that morning as well, and about how much time it was going to take. I also set out my pre-race nosh (A Blueberry Bliss Clif Bar). So I could get up and move on out.
Always give yourself extra time in the morning before a race. This is the time that if anything is going to go wrong- it will. Specifically the night before I am still certain that I cracked a filling…. so chewing on one side of my mouth is impossible- and hot/cold beverages feel like someone is stabbing me in the tooth.
Besides that I got up, and my sweetie left me a note of encouragement next to my phone and aspirin, drank my water, and got on the bus. Yeah here’s the perfect example of how things that CAN go wrong WILL go wrong. Apparently I drew the luck of getting on the broke down CTA bus…. the back door apparently wasn’t working, and at one point the driver completely stopped the bus turned it off, and my stomach dropped down to my toes.
Fortunately there was another racer on the bus (our bibs are kind of giveaways), and we both kind of looked at each other like “WTF”. If looks could kill our bus driver would have been reduced to a pile of ash. Fortunately the driver decided the issue was not going to be resolved easily and continued on. And I made it to the race in time- checked my gear- and thank GOD there was Clif Rep there hand out gel shots….as I left mine at home. I was even able to get in a stretch, and get in line and fine my pace area.
Overall the race went really well, the weather was cool but sunny, and I was wide awake, the Clif gel was a help. I was using my Nike Sport Watch and my Nike running app, and at first they weren’t completely matching up with course markers in the first 2 miles. But After that my app was really on point, and my watch was a little ahead, so I didn’t know how accurately I was pacing. Fortunately there were digital timers at each mile marker… although I will disclose that by mile 7-8 I can really do simple addition anymore….and was a little brain dead.
I felt really good when I was running CARA (Chicago Area Runners Association), had a lot of aid/hydration stops, so I was able to get sips of water frequently and I only needed to take 2 shot bloks during the race.
Miles 6-7 were my worst miles, and I picked up the pace again in mile 8, and even more so in mile 9. Last year during the hot chocolate I was at the height of my training, and my overall pace per mile for 9.3 miles was 11:00. It was my goal to beat that. And I did. I did a 10:53 PPM. So I am excited thinking ahead to my upcoming half marathons to how my pace will hopefully continue to improve.
This is also a fantastic race that I would do again. It was well organized, from everything to packet pickup (thank-you Universal Sole), to the race itself and post party. The volunteers were excellent, as was the post race party, traffic control was fantastic, and it’s always nice when there are a lot of volunteers to guide you while on the course. Thanks again CARA for a great race experience!