Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Soldier Field Race Report

Saturday I ran another race... This time it was the Soldier Field 10 mile. I last raced this in 2008 (report here) and there have been some improvements since then. Which is good because the event has grown even larger. I know it wasn't smart to "race" 13 days after finishing up a marathon but I kind of signed up on a whim. Some friends of ours were running and I'm a sucker for races I know people running. Plus, I saw an e-mail saying there were only 50 spots left open while I was sitting in the Springfield, MO airport 2 months ago. When I got that e-mail I realized I wanted to try and run it again.

Race morning started off early. I had traveled the previous two days for work so I didn't get much sleep the few days prior to Saturday. Never a good way to start. My race sherpa (my husband) and I got out the door with 1 hr and 10 minutes until start time. We drove since Soldier Field isn't easy to get to by train. Also, we were making a day of it! After sitting in the parking lot for nearly an hour in 2008 we got smart and planned a tailgate party with our friends. Of course we weren't the only ones driving but figured that early in the morning it is only a 10 - 15 drive and the line getting into the lots shouldn't be too bad. Ummmm, yea right! The line to get into the lots was horrible! By the time we made it to the lot and then walked up to the stadium I had 20 minutes until race start and I had to pee. After spending 26.2 miles holding 2 weeks earlier it I wasn't about to do that again for this race!

Because this race was at a major stadium there weren't a lot of port-o-potties since they had real bathrooms inside to use. I didn't have time to go through the 1 open door find the real bathrooms and get back to the start. I guess I also didn't have enough time to stand in line for the port-o-potties because the lines weren't moving. I literally jumped out the p-o-p and climbed over and through barricades as the gun for my coral went off. I was going to jump in with the other corral but wanted to make it for mine since it took off 4 minutes before and had WAY fewer people. Luckily the corral police were kind enough to let me past as my group was going by. I have never ever been that last minute for a start!

My game plan was to take it easy the first 5 and push it the last 5. I wasn't looking for a PR and wasn't sure how I would be feeling. Well my plan went to crap. I started off the first mile right where I wanted to be and was feeling okay. I was tired and my stomach started to act up again. This stomach thing has become a pain my last few races. I wish I knew what it was. After mile 1, I instinctively picked it up too soon at mile 2. Race morning started off a comfortable morning that turned hot fast! After running under McCormick place the first mile there was little shade on Lakeshore drive on this out and back course. I started to melt even but still maintained a decent pace. In between miles 3-4 we saw the elites on the back portion of the course. The winner (from Illinois) won for the 3rd year in a row and maintained a 5:05 pace. Side note: Ryan Hall came in 12th. Though I wish I could have seen him on the course. Anyway, I still thought I would be able to pick it up on the back half of the course. Then I hit the turnaround, walked through the next water station, and didn't want anything to do with racing anymore.
The last 4 miles were kind of survival miles for me. I was burnout on running, hot, and tired. Not very good excuses I know but just how I was feeling on Saturday. The back portion of the course was on the lakefront path south of where I normally run so it was nice to run that portion. Plus always cool to finish up on the Bears 50 yard line (even though they rush you off the field quickly after crossing the finish line) after running through the tunnel the Bears run out of for every game.
I finished in about 1:32 which equates to a 9:13 average. Way off of any sort of PR but still a respectable time for how I was feeling.

While waiting for our friend to finish announcements were made that the race had been canceled 2 hours into the morning due to extreme conditions. Racers on the course were directed to walk to the finish. Our friend finished running as did everyone else around him. When I headed to the car people were still running on the course too. It was a hot day (in the upper 70's) sure but I thought it was a bit much to "cancel" the race when it was nearly over. I am sure they were just being careful and I hope all the people who finished have official results.

Overall, the course is decent enough and I would recommend the race to anyone who loves Chicago, the Bears, or visiting different stadiums. Fleet Feet Chicago does a great job organizing such a huge race. The water stops were plentiful and well supported. There are not a lot of fans along the course because they are all waiting for you in Soldier Field! I like that they have a corralled start and it's good that it goes up to those running a 9 minute pace. The race in 08 seemed overcrowded and while this year it was crowded I didn't feel suffocated like I did previously.

23 comments:

MCM Mama said...

I ran an easy 10 this past weekend. I have no idea how you even sort of raced ten. Odd that they cancelled it when it wasn't that hot yet...

carpeviam said...

Nice job! Another race under your belt!

The Laminator said...

Despite the hot weather, it sounds like you had fun! You look it in your photos too! Congrats!

Xenia said...

Dang, I'm impressed. I've done jack-all for 10 straight days. Although I will get out and run today. I hate having a bad streak stretch into double digits.

Mark said...

That's pretty good just after running a marathon! Nice race! You were in my hometown...Springfield...I haven't even seen the new airport yet.

kristen said...

That is pretty weird they cancelled. 70 isn't *that* bad even in humidity?

I'm glad you didin't go in with high expectations and instead were realistic about where you were. Nice job gutting it out girl!

Marlene said...

Based on how I have been feeling post marathon, I give you so much credit for pushing it AT ALL. Congrats!!! Sounds like a fun race.

blissfulrunner said...

Wow, it was warm down here in MD, but not THAT warm. I can't believe it was cancelled with weather in the 70s! I have my first 10 miler coming up later this month. I have a sneaking suspicion that it's going to be my favorite distance. :)

aron said...

nice job on a TOUGH day girl!

kilax said...

Wow! I know you think you did bad, but that sounds like a great finishing time to me.

What do you think is up with the stomach thing? Did it just start?

Ali said...

Great race re-cap! I love your blog title & description :)

J said...

That is odd about them canceling the race in the heat! Way to push through and run that race so close to your marathon!

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

agreed that this weekend should have been all about nice and easy, so I think that was a very respectable finish. Hope the stomach figures itself out!

rodney said...

Glad to be back, home skillet. Thanks for stopping by. And welcome to summer running! Things will get better................in October.
Remember to drink a lot. Water, not beer.

Jamie said...

Awesome job! 70 seems like a GREAT temp to run in! :)

Jess said...

Even though you didn't PR I think you did an awesome job getting out there and getting it done! Congrats!

Jeri said...

Love the tank top. ;) I can't believe you raced this weekend. I had a 10 mile LR and it was not fun. :p Good job in the heat. Sounds like it'd be a super fun race!

runner26 said...

go Bears!! and you!! Hot weather is the worst for running! But you still had a great race and seemed to enjoy the experience. Congrats!

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

way to go! I think your time was wonderful myself- especially after a full marathon!

X-Country2 said...

Great race photos. You'd never know you were fresh off a marathon. :o)

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Teamarcia said...

Congrats on your race! I ran that one years ago before the corralled start and honestly there were way too many of us jammed on 1/2 a bike path. Good to know they improved things. The SF finish is awesome!

Stacelet77 said...

I ran this too, and had a similar experience (Not timewise -- you are much faster, but similar in the feeling much worse than my "norm" out there). I thought it was a bit of overkill to cancel it as well (so thankful I at least came in before that!), but I heard there are several factors that made it bad out there besides the heat & humidity. The next day was actually an "air pollution action day," so I am guessing the air quality was already much worse than usual on that Saturday. I think we also just haven't had much time to get used to the heat/humidity yet, and the total lack of shade doesn't help.

That said, as a Chicago area runner, do you find the cancellation a little bit disturbing? I am worried that I will train for future races only to have them kick me off the course midway through. I wish they would "warn" us as the "danger" increases (flag system is decent), but let us listen to our own bodies and make decisions. Like you, I just slowed down when I felt lousy and didn't feel I was in any danger.