A decent amount of snow fell the day before my seventh Lincolnwood Turkey Trot. Then an arctic chill set over Chicagoland on race morning making the roads slick with ice. Temps were 15º - conditions which were quite different from last year's race. For the first race in awhile, I wore long running pants to cover my legs and three layers for my upper body. It would probably end up costing me a few seconds to be weighted down and less aerodynamic, but the trade-off would be worth it just in case I hit the wall during the race and had to walk two or three miles back to the finish line. This is the race that had always featured groovy turkey trophies for the AG winners, however this year they did away with the turkey trophies and replaced them with run-of-the-mill medals. Talk about a let down! Anyway, instead of a PR, I was shooting for a 2nd best PR, which would be any time under 39:06.
Luckily, I had picked up my bib on my way home from work on Friday, so I didn't need to get to the race early for packet pickup. I left the house at 8:15am for the 8:45am start. 15 minutes after leaving home, I scored a street spot, then waited in my heated car for a few minutes. Then with about five minutes left, I sprinted across the icy sidewalks over to the start line. Once in the start corral I talked with John B who was running the 5k. Over the PA system, the mayor of Lincolnwood announced that the roads were clear of ice and that the race would commence on the sound of the air-horn since the starting cowbell was frozen solid. However, someone rang the magically-thawed-out cowbell and suddenly we were off!
|Pre-race in Lincolnwood|
Mile 1: Unwisely, I started just a few rows from the front, and got caught up trying to hang with the 5kers. Big mistake - as some were really flying. About a half a mile into the race a few of them started to get gassed and slowed way down, creating a wall of rapidly slowing runners that I was stuck behind. This ticked me off, so I swerved way to the outside and then gunned it in order to pass them. I knew that was also a mistake as I had wasted a bunch of energy surging. My lungs were struggling to handle the speed combined with the dry arctic air that they were not yet acclimated to. It was the fastest mile of the day, but it should have been my slowest. 6:04/mile.
Mile 2: I knew I needed to slow down, so I did but was immediately passed by about six runners. This was demoralizing. Daniel K passed me like I was standing still. He probably got to the race late and was just running his normal race pace as he finished third overall. 6:15/mile.
Mile 3: Things started to settle down as everyone (including myself) settled into their race paces. 6:15/mile.
Mile 4: I made my way up to Pratt Avenue, where I was briefly joined by the 5k walkers. One walker looked at me and said "that guy must be running a seven minute mile!" He was only off by 45 seconds. 6:15/mile.
Mile 5: My breathing was labored and my lungs were burning in the dry air. I didn't know how I would fare over the last 2.2 miles so I started to pull back ever so slightly on my pace to make sure I had enough juice for the homestretch. 6:19/mile.
Mile 6: There was good news and bad news. The good news is that I was almost done. The bad news is that the last 1.2 miles is always wall-to-wall with 5k walkers and today was no exception. Many of them walked three abreast and there was no separate lane for the 10k runners who were barreling through. I gently brushed passed a few walkers, and had to weave around a few more. It was like an obstacle course with oblivious walkers taking up the road as our fast race was going on around them. 6:15/mile.
|Turn at mile 5.5|
Mile 6.29: Down the homestretch I was really gasping for air. I felt like I was slowing down as I had to swerve around regular walkers and those who were magically turning into runners near the end. Luckily the end was in sight and I barreled over the finish line and was done! 5:50/mile.
|Post race with finisher turkey medal|
I picked up my finisher medal (new this year) then had some hot soup in the heated tent. I went back outside and spotted Erin in the finisher's chute and we said hi.
I'm happy to have tied my 2nd fastest 10k ever, but I know I could have finished faster. If I had not been wearing all of the layers and running pants, maybe I could have broken 39:00. However, my major error was starting too fast - something I will definitely try to avoid at my next race.
Schaumburg Half Turkey Trot on Saturday!