Monday, November 22, 2021

Lincolnwood Turkey Trot 2021 10k Race Recap

After a hiatus of a few years, I was once again running the Lincolnwood Turkey Trot. My training comprised of thrice weekly runs and seven times a week (2x day) long dog walks.

I've run this race eight times before, so it was an annual tradition of yore that I'm restarting. The itch to race is too great despite the lack of training. I enjoy strategizing pace, racing, and ultimately trying my best at a race regardless of how much or little training I put into it. Part of the fun for me is determining where my fitness is at the moment and then come up with a pace per mile that corresponds to that fitness so I don't leave time on the table by running too slowly. Conversely, I don't want to overdo it and run some "painful" positive splits. As for a race plan, my only fitness marker was 7:45 mile splits for my 5k over a month ago. So, I figured an 8:00/mile pace would probably be doable for a 10k. However, I hadn't run a solid 6.2 miles in a row in over 14 months, so that was a wildcard going into the race.

The weather wouldn't really be a factor however. Sometimes the temps for this race are in the teens. Luckily it was in the 40s for this one with a light drizzle before the race. For the first race since last year I wore a long sleeve technical shirt instead of a singlet. It would probably end up costing me a few seconds but since I was running this race for fun and not a PR, I was hardly concerned about the aerodynamics of my outfit.  My strategy for the race can best be summarized in my goals/checklist.

I hadn't picked up my bib during the week, so I needed to get to the race a few minutes for packet pickup. I left the house at 7:50am for the 8:45am start. 15 minutes after leaving home, and after a slight detour because of street closures, I scored a street spot. With about thirty minutes left, I slow jogged over to the bib pick-up line. I got my bib and shirt and made my way back to the car. Erica and I spotted each other and we said hi to each other. She was headed towards the race and I was headed back to the car. Once I made it back at the car, I pinned on my bib and sat in the warm car for a few more minutes. Then it was off to the porta-potties then the start line. The national anthem was sung and we were off!

Start of the race from a bygone year (src)

The Race
Mile 1: I lined up in the 8:00/mile section of the corral and we headed out. I spotted Erica ahead, and I wanted to catch up to her but she was too speedy and I was trying to keep my first few miles slow. Eventually, I joined up with the 8:00/mile pace group. Yes they had pacers for the 10k!  8:01/mile.

Mile 2: The only notable part of this stretch was that a guy wearing underwear (and nothing else) ran by me. I think he was doing the 5k, and I'm pretty sure I've seen him before. I believe he runs by his house and embarrasses his kids who are out in front of his house cheering him on. 8:06/mile.

Mile 3: Other runners in the 8:00/mile group were breathing kinda hard for it only being mile 3. I think the pacer was winded as well. They seemed to be slowing and running a 8:15/mile pace, so I separated from them and went out ahead. 7:51/mile.

Mile 4: We were briefly joined by the 5k walkers. This is the perennial problem with the LWTT: The 5k walkers and 10k runners meet up a few times during the race. Oh well, what can you do? 7:40/mile.

Mile 5: I eventually spotted Erica ahead and was slowly gaining on her. At an out-and-back section she saw me and we shouted encouragement to each other. I had been biding my time until mile six to really turn on the jets since my goal was to make mile six my fastest. Almost there. 7:27/mile.

Mile 6: I hit the jets, just as I hit the five mile marker, and started my dash to the finish. This is the best part of any race for me. Still having gas in the tank and feeling strong. Started picking off runners as I weaved through the 5k walkers. 7:16/mile.

Mile 6.29: My legs were holding up remarkably well and I gave it all I had, albeit without a ton of training, my jets were slower than normal. I hit the finish line with my hands overhead and I was done!  7:02/mile.

Race Summary: 
  • Official time: 48:23. Official pace: 7:48/mile
  • Overall Place: 87th out of 396
  • Age Place: 8th out of 26 
  • Slowest 10k in a long time, but considering the low running miles in training, and the fact I finished the race without walk breaks - I'll take it!
I picked up my finisher medal and banana, then headed over to the post-race tent which was overly packed with people. With no masks available, I think I made a wise decision and instead of entering the tent, headed back to the car. 

Race Takeaway:
I'm happy to have run an entire 6.2 miles without stopping, especially since my training didn't involve any stretches of more than two miles without a walk break. I think my fitness is improving and I'll have to decide if I want to step up to run a half marathon this winter. I'll take a few days of rest before I decide on my winter running plans.

Next up:

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Race Checklist

At lunch today, I ran my last run (four miles) until my 10k on Sunday. It was windy and rainy, so good training weather! During my run today, I started to make a mental race checklist for things to remember during the 10k.

  1. A 10k is a long distance, so don't start too fast. 6.2 miles is a long distance for someone who has been only run/walking ~15 miles per week. Probably the most miles I've run straight through without taking a walk break is about two miles. So, I need to take it easy especially early on.
  2. Figure out the wind direction and modulate my pace. If the wind is a factor, I need to run more slowly into the wind and then up my speed with the wind to my back. I will let people pass me if I need to into the wind, knowing I'll probably catch them when we turn around.
  3. Finish strong. Try to make mile six my fastest mile. Don't start my kick until the last quarter mile. 
  4. Have fun. I love racing and I have fond memories of running the Lincolnwood Turkey Trot, so I intend to enjoy myself out there!
Running in the rain today

Monday, November 15, 2021

Six days away from my 10k

It's hard to believe the Lincolnwood Turkey Trot 10k is only six days away. Yesterday, the day got away from me with projects, and I missed my long run. However, it was probably a good thing that I missed it as I was tired all day even without doing my run. Maybe I should consider doing long runs every other Sunday instead of every Sunday? Rest is so key. Today I came to the realization that it's more important to ensure my legs are "fresh" for the 10k - my endurance will be whatever it will be.

I need to trust my race instincts will help me modulate my pace on race day. It doesn't matter if my pace is 10:00/mile or 8:00/mile. I just want to run a strong race all the way through.

In any case, it was 28 degrees and clear this morning, so I headed out to do five miles. I was able to run most of it, with only a couple of walk breaks. One of which was to take in this view from Belmont.

Enjoy the Silence

I think I'll do one more run on Wednesday and then rest until Sunday.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Peak Fall

It feels like Chicago has nearly hit peak fall. Lots of trees are changing color and there was frost on the grass (it finally fell below freezing last night). I really, really love running with a chill in the air. 32° feels so good after a summer of non-stop upper 80s.

The sun was shining when I went for my run. I say run and not run/walk, because for the most part I ran the entire 4.25 miles. I didn't even really think about taking walk breaks which may something about my fitness or I was just antsy to keep moving because of the few days off post booster shot. The side effects were minimal, and I actually feel better now than I did in the days leading up to my shot. Go figure.

Cafe Tola

Ped Bridge

Rowing team dock near Belmont

In any case it was a beautiful morning just to be outside.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Four Miles to Boost Me

After a year of not running, and now suddenly running 3 or 4 times a week, I'm starting to notice the little aches and pains that come along with running regularly.  Besides the general leg and hip stiffness, my toe (the one I broke last year) is starting to flare up and I'm trying to decide whether to take a few days off to let it heal. I might have to take a few days off anyway, since I'm getting the booster this weekend and if it's anything like the first two rounds, I won't feel like running for at least a short while.

This morning I ran four miles to Belmont and back along the river trail.

Belmont bridge view at the trail terminus

I may try and squeeze in one more run tomorrow before my booster on Saturday. Thereafter, I may be out of commission for 3 to 5 days.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Can't Take the Race out of the Racer

This was going to be an easy for mile run/walk over the awesome Chicago River pedestrian bridge (2x) - down to Belmont and back home.

Chicago River Pedestrian bridge  (source)

However, when I got to the section under Irving Park Rd, just south of Horner Park, a runner was ascending the hill ahead of me. At first I thought that I would "draft" off of them by concentrating on their footfalls to "pull" me up the hill. Suddenly, I had the urge to pass them. So with a burst of speed I took off and floored it. Not wanting to look like I was competing with them, I had to keep up the same insane speed for another quarter mile, until I had turned the corner, run over the Irving Park Rd. bridge and was out of sight. Whew!

Needless to say, I was winded and walked the rest of the way home. I guess I really miss racing!

Monday, October 25, 2021

Putting the Lakefront back into the Lakefront Trail

Yesterday, I ran/walked farther than I had in a long time. 6.5 miles to be exact. My goal was six miles, to the lakefront and home. But by the time I got down to the lakefront, it was so picturesque, I decided to throw in the extra half mile of running along the lake.

I'm tired today, but not too bad. I'm going to try to get down to the lake every weekend until the 10k next month.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Back at It

Took four days off (instead of three as planned) post 5k. I think the race took more out of me than I thought. It just shows me that races can be punishing and days off afterwards are important to recovery.  Anyway, I decided that I felt recovered enough for a four mile run/walk this morning.

Running by Spacca Napoli this morning

Running a full 10k seems pretty daunting at the moment since I am still get pretty tired after run/walking 4 miles. However, I've still got four weeks to up the mileage so 6.2 seems doable.