Friday, March 24, 2017

Wintrust Lakefront 10 Mile Recap



Sometimes all the stars, moons, and planets align and races just happen to occur at opportune times in your training. Right?

Such was the case this past weekend. I have been building my base back up (in prepping for my next marathon), and the Wintrust Lakefront 10-Mile was the perfect distance at the perfect time. When Wendy (from Taking the Long Way Home) extended an invite to visit the Windy City and run this race with her...well, it was a no-brainer.

I arrived at Wendy's place Friday night, and we had a great time catching up (in person) over pizza and wine, and chatting about running and blogging. We also strategized about upcoming races (we're both headed to Duluth, MN for Grandma's Marathon in June) as well as future races/meet-ups with other runners/bloggers (stay tuned!).

With race time not until 9:00, we had plenty of time Saturday morning to eat, hydrate, and take our time getting ready. The temps were going to present a challenge, as was the wind (thanks, Momma N). I considered shorts, but in the end went with capri-length tights (and a fleece layer and two light layers) and all was fine.

Known as the 2017 kickoff to the CARA (Chicago Area Runners' Association) Runners' Choice Circuit, the Wintrust Lakefront 10-Mile has a reputation for being a fast race due to the flat course along the lakefront. There also was a 5K race that shared the first part of the race with the 10-milers.

We arrived at Wilson Beach shortly after 7:00, and had plenty of time to get our packets, use the porta-pots, and head back to Wendy's vehicle for awhile to stay warm. Thankfully, it was a NW wind (and not off the lake), so it wasn't as cold as it could have been.

Huddling in the car...trying to stay warm....
Around 8:30, we decided to hit the porta-pots one more time. We also did what most runners do...we grabbed a a planking selfie (wait...are we the only runners who do that?).
Pre-race planking....thumbs UP!

ready to line up
We lined up, listened to the National Anthem....and we were off!

The first 5K of the race took us on an out and back route, heading north...into the wind (but only for the first mile). Wow, that wind was fierce! Wendy and I had a goal of trying to stay at a 9:00 minute pace, and we passed the 1-mile mark at 9:02. Looking good, feeling fine!

I had brought along a Honey Stinger gel, and opted to hold off until the second mile to utilize it (this was, after all, JUST a 10-miler...not a half marathon LOL). The aid station was just after the turn-around (near the 1.5 mile mark), so I slammed the gel and walked through the water stop briefly as I drank a quick mini cup of water.

As we approached the 3-mile mark, we had what's known as Cricket Hill to climb. Not a big deal (since I have done a lot of stair work recently), but still a bit of a challenge...especially when one gets directly behind another runner who decides to promptly stop and walk midway up the hill (leaving me with no way around her). The hill did give us a great downhill on the flip side, so I was able to catch back up with Wendy. The 5K runners veered to the left (to finish a lap around the Wilson Beach track, and those of us on a quest for 10 miles kept going...and enjoyed a nice tail wind for awhile.

Wendy had mentioned that she wasn't certain if she'd need a walk break or not, but she kept going strong. I think it was near the 5-mile mark when we saw the speedy 10-milers coming back from the other turn-around. We spotted the lead gal a few moments later, and gave her a cheer (and she smiled back and waved at us).

As we approached the turn-around, just after the 6-mile mark, Wendy asked if we could pull over for a few photo ops. Since we knew PR's were not happening (due to the crazy wind and our agreement to run this event for fun), I gladly obliged. We grabbed one of the course volunteers to take our picture. A short ways later, we decided to stop again for another pic (or several)....why not? It's not every day we get to run races together, you know.

Can you see part of the Hancock Tower, just above my right shoulder?
The rest of the race would be going north...back into the wind. By this time, I was not hot or cold, but the wind was tough. I kept playing "on-off" with my gloves. We were doing well, keeping our pace steady, and I never felt tired. Truthfully, despite the wind, it was one of those races where I had that robotic thing going on....I didn't think about pace, but just kept running and everything felt effortless.

It was around the 8-mile mark when Wendy surged a short ways ahead of me (maybe 20 feet or so). Although I couldn't quite summon the mojo to catch up with her, I still felt strong. The ninth mile (as is typical for me when I'm in the midst of a 10-miler) seemed to take forever, though. Although I had my music with me, I never had the tunes going since Wendy and I were chatting for most of those first eight miles. Even though we weren't side-by-side for the last couple of miles, I did appreciate the beautiful course.

The final mile had us, again, tackling Cricket Hill (yes, for a second time!). We were momentarily rewarded with the awesome downhill...only to take our turn on the track...and then run not just one lap to the finish line, but two (seriously???). I made it across the finish line with 1:32:57 showing on my Garmin and 10.15 total miles run (my official time clocked in at 1:32:51). So close to a PR (1:30:30)!

Whew! Those 10 miles went really well!
A big Thank You to the nice guy who gave me his heat blanket
Wendy was right there as I finished. It didn't take us long to start shivering in the wind. We checked our finish times, grabbed some water (and chocolate milk), and hit the porta-pots. And there may have been a few post-race pics.

My splits tell the story:
Mile 1 - 9:02      Mile 6 - 8:48
Mile 2 - 9:36      Mile 7 - 11:01 (photo stops)
Mile 3 - 9:05      Mile 8 - 9:01
Mile 4 - 9:04      Mile 9 - 8:49
Mile 5 - 8:49      Mile 10 - 8:32

Hello! Negative splits! I was especially surprised to see how fast the final three miles were considering we were fighting a pretty strong headwind. Mile 2 was a brief stop for fuel and water, but the other water stops (around miles 5 and 7) didn't really impact our running time. Crazy, huh!


I thought this was a fabulous event! It seemed to be well-organized, had detailed pre-race communication, the race jackets are great (yay! no t-shirts!), and will you just look at that medal!


. Care to hear the Top 5 Highlights?
1 - It was fun running with Wendy.
2 - I think I nailed the correct clothing for the weather.
3 - The one energy gel (near mile 2) was the perfect amount of fuel at the perfect time.
4 - The entire race felt (nearly) effortless for me.    
5 - The course was beautiful, flat, and scenic.

My final stats showed I finished 12th out of 50 in my (new) age group, 190th of 537 women, and 507th of 1,032 overall. Not too shabby considering this was my longest "run" since Route 66. The first place guy clocked a 51:39 finish time and our friendly first-place gal finished in 58:30. Dang!

Have you ever done a 10-mile race? Ever raced on a windy day, in Chicago or elsewhere? Do you figure in races as part of your training for a "bigger" race?

I'm linking up with Meranda and Lacey and Rachel for their awesome Friday Five 2.0 Link-up. 


I'm also linking with Nicole for her  Fit and Fashionable Friday link-up.


Do check out these awesome gals' blogs and all the awesome blog posts in their link-ups!

47 comments:

  1. Awesome job, and i love your top 5 highlights! You did great with pacing especially on a windy day. One time I ran a 5k that started and ended with 2 laps each around a track- so yea a whole mile out of just 3.1 was on a track!

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    1. Those track laps were a bit of a buzz kill LOL

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  2. omg so much fun! great recap (and don't you hate it when someone stops on a hill RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU!!!). Really seemed like everything came together though to run this one!

    I have run many a 10 mile race, yes. And usually as a part of a bigger training plan. One race in September is in my home town and I always run that one (even if I have marathon training and a longer run on the books.... I'll just run there and run back or try to combine the 10 mile with the 3 or 6 mile...). And WIND - YES!! Omg I ran a race last weekend and the wind was just MEAN! But we get that a lot here, especially anywhere near the water (I live right off the Rhein), it can be really brutal! The one weekend I ran in Chicago (YAY!) it was not windy at all... it was HOTTER THAN HADES! (Rock'n'Roll weekend in July).

    I'll be in Chicago again for marathon weekend and running the 5K on the Saturday... why don't you and Wendy join me????

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    1. Was that the R'nR in 2014? I was there for that, and it was a hot one!

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  3. That was such a fun race, even in spite of the brutal weather conditions! I loved having you here with me. We'll have to do it again!

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    1. I'm game! You need to road trip out my way ;-)

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  4. Great job Kim! I love that you were able to run this race with Wendy :) It's always a fun time when you get to meet up with friends for a fun race weekend.

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    1. This was a blast! It was especially fun in that we ran it so well, but still were able to chat and take in the scenes. Package deal!

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  5. Nice gym! It's always more fun with friends.

    One of my halfs was insanely windy and I was almost blown into Lake Champlain. And hilly. But a PR!

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    1. Thankfully the wind was only a factor for parts of the race....it would have been a bummer if it was a point-to-point into the headwind!

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  6. Love the bling! It looks like a cold but awesome race. I've never run a 10 mile race before...I feel like they're a rare breed.

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    1. The 10-milers are rare to find these days...which is why I like them ;-)

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  7. How fun to run with a friend like that! And it does feel awesome knowing you can tackle tough hills because you've done the training!
    I have only done one 10 miler race and I'm itching to do another one to see if I can get close to that same time! Congrats to both of you and wow for being so close to a PR even with the photo stops!

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    1. Yes, I was so surprised when I saw the splits...those last few miles were the toughest (into the wind).

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  8. Great job on the race. I've never run the whole race with someone else but it think fun beats a PR.

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  9. You girls rocked that race! Yay for negative splits. The photos make me cold just looking at them though! lol!
    I've done a 15K (9.3) but not a 10-miler! It's a great distance.

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    1. It didn't feel that cold until we stopped...then #brrrrrr

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  10. I love that you both got to meet up again together! Looks really cold there but you 2 rocked it. Nice job!

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    1. It was a bit chilly but not a big deal until we finished and were standing around in the sweaty clothes with the wind....

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  11. Congratulations!! The wind clearly couldn't stop you two! It's always fun getting to run with a friend. I have a few races that I've been using as tuneups for bigger races...it seems to be a great strategy. The last 10 miler I did was the Perfect 10 Miler in New Jersey...it was fun but too crowded, thankfully not windy though! The windiest 10 miler I had was the Cherry Blossom Run....phew!

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    1. Ooooh, I want to do the Cherry Blossom someday....

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  12. Dang if that felt effortless I can't wait to see what you do when you try! Congrats on a strong race! That one keeps getting better and better....except twice up that hill I could do without. ;)

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    1. Ha! Yes, that hill was a challenge, especially the second time when I knew I was almost done and it was right there...taunting me...

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  13. How fun is this! I love running with friends and stopping for photo opps. I hope I can join you ladies on a run one day!

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  14. I hope I can call 10 miles effortless one day! Sounds like you two had a blast! Running races is so much fun when you have a friend with you!

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    1. Yes, it's pretty incredible to run with a friend ;-)

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  15. Congratulations on an awesome and effortless 10 miler! that is the one distance I have not done yet, and it's really starting to bug me!

    I'm sure running a race with another blogger is so much fun!!

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    1. It was great running with Wendy! We'd run together once before (in January) but never done a race.

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  16. Congratulations on a great race! I love your highlights and race medal. That's a great pace!!

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    1. Thanks! The race went well, and felt great ;-)

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  17. This looks like it was a fantastic race for you! I've definitely ran races as part of my training.

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    1. I think running races as training is a win-win situation!

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  18. Congrats on a great race despite all that wind! It sounds like you and Wendy had a lot of fun. Thanks for the great recap!

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    1. Thanks! Wished you could have joined us....

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  19. What a great recap! Sounds like a fun race. And nice time, too!!

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  20. Sounds like fun - but looks so cold! I'm pretty sure I've never seen any other runners doing pre-race planking selfies. :-)

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    1. We may have been the only plankers that morning....

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  21. Looks like so much fun! You guys need to come visit DC and run with me!

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    1. I'm actually gonna be in DC (for a day) this next week while we visit our daughter in Pennsylvania (probably no time for DC running, though)

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  22. You ladies rock! Those "nearly" effortless paces would absolutely kill this girl! Congratulations and glad you two had the chance to spend some time together.

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    1. It was a blast! It would have been fun to have you with us!

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  23. Love love love all of this! What a fantastic run, a very strong 10 miles :) Even better you got to do it with a bud! You got some fabulous race pics.

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    1. Thanks!!!! We had a great time, literally ;-)

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  24. Congrats on running a great race and nailing those negative splits! Meeting up with running friends is always so much fun, and being able to race with them is even more fun.

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