Luckily, I had picked up our bibs yesterday, so it was a perfect setup for us to arrive just before the race start and wait in the car with the heat blasting. No need to park far away, wait in line to get the packets, and then run all the way back to the car to put on the bibs and drop off our stuff. So, after parking and waiting on a residential street a few blocks from the start, we made our way to the start line at about 8:40 for the 8:45 start. After stopping at a porta-potty, I ducked into the start corral. The mayor of Lincolnwood gave a speech and then without a countdown, blasted the horn to begin the race. NO. ONE. MOVED. He kept yelling for people to go, yet no one did. He then said that people weren't paying attention, but maybe everyone had dozed off during his speech?! Anyway, after some yelling from runners in the back, the people up front finally heard that the race was underway and we were off!
Mile 1: As per usual, the 5k and 10k started at the same time, so as I did last year, I spent the first part of the first mile weaving in and around 5k runners who had darted out in front of me and who got gassed early and had to slow way down. These runners seem to be a majority of headphone wearing kids who can't hear how hard they are breathing and don't realize that a 5k is actually not won in the first mile! Oh well, it's not the Olympics. Anyway, I was trying to hold back, but it was tough when you start with 5kers. Pace 6:37/mile.
Mile 2: We wended our way into the suburban houses of Lincolnwood. This is also where we 10kers split from the 5kers (at least until mile 6). I was still telling myself to hold back: 6:38/mile.
Mile 3: It was about this point that I realize that despite holding back early, my course PR was not attainable. It's not like I was struggling to keep the pace, but I was not feeling like I could ramp up too much either. I blame my lack of mileage since the Chicago Marathon (i.e. my endurance is low). 6:32/mile.
Mile 4: Since I knew I wouldn't be putting on a speed clinic today, I stopped looking at my Garmin completely and I started to play the "reel-em-in" game. That is, I started spotting runners ahead of me and tried to reel them in. There was a hairpin turnaround which made it nice so I could see who was ahead of me and who was lurking behind me. I passed about five runners this mile. 6:29/mile.
Mile 5: As a side-note, sometimes during the early miles of a race, I see runners way out ahead of me and then eventually some (not all) come back to me as I accelerate and they fade. Sometimes early in a race I catch myself saying "Look at the guy/gal, they have awesome form, they look more athletic/stronger than me and they are so far in front, I will never catch them by the end of the race." The fact that they are way ahead of me, gives them some kind of aura of awesomeness. Then, sure enough, a mile or two later, I pass them. However, even when I pass them, I brace myself mentally for a "duel" as I think I am going to piss off this "super athlete" so much they will accelerate. However, this "duel" hardly ever happens. Most of the time they are fading ever so slightly as they are gassed. They don't have the energy to stage a comeback. Note to self: I need to relax a little more when I pass people - there likely won't be a speed fight! Anyway, I pass a few more runners. 6:34/mile.
Mile 6: I know that if I have any reserves, I need to use them here. The only problem is, is that we rejoined the 5k walkers. Many of them walk three abreast and don't create a lane for the 10k runners who are barreling through. Also, the aid station had ice in front of it, as water that hit the ground was freezing. I nearly slipped and fell on an ice patch of spilled water. I pass a few more runners. As we near the 6 mile marker, I start running on fumes. 6:09/mile.
Mile 6.27: Near the end, I saw a guy ahead of me who looked like he would be in my age group, (turns out he was), so my final "reel-em-in" mission was to pass him and hope that I would finish 3rd in my age group and snag a turkey trophy. After weaving around a few more walkers, I passed him in the last 200 yards and sprinted past the finish line while my dad cheered me on. Coincidentally, this is the same exact pace I ran the same last split last year. 5:49/mile.
My dad and I went over to the finish line and found Anne and Kim waiting for Bob and Erin to finish. Erin's husband (the unofficial course photographer) took this pic of the group:
|Bloggers and Runners (src: Erin's husband)|
Not as fast as last year, but a solid, steady pace with negative splits. I'll take it considering how few miles I've put in since the Chicago Marathon and the extra chilly race temps. The race proved to me that I have a little bit of leg speed and combining this with being injury free, I am in a good spot heading into spring marathon training.
Possibly another 10k in December if I get the itch to go sub-40 before my spring marathon training starts in earnest.