Big Ten 10K Race Recap

Well, I’m a week late with this, but it’s been a busy week because I moved! Yes, I’m in my new apartment, but I’ll share more on that later once I’m a bit more settled.

Last Friday morning my alarm went off around 4:30 a.m. so my sister and I could get to the airport for an early flight to Chicago. My sis did the race too, but was staying with another friend of ours in Chicago.

When we got to the airport we split up to meet up with our friends. I found Liz and Holly at baggage claim (not easy since we flew into different terminals) and we got on the train to head downtown to our friend Priscilla’s work. P had to work on Friday, so we stashed our suitcases at her office and took off to find food and shopping. First, we stopped by Wildberry hoping to get brunch, but there was an hour wait, so we decided to just wander up Michigan Ave. and see what we found. As we were preparing to cross the street to head to another restaurant, I realized we were right in front of Purple Pig! I had eaten there last summer with Hyedi after the Big Ten 10K and had been dying to go back. It was about 11:15 a.m. and the gate was on the door. We quickly looked at their website and realized they open at 11:30. We were tired of walking so decided to wait. So worth it!

You know it's good when there's a line waiting for it to open!
You know it’s good when there’s a line waiting for it to open!

After lunch we did some more walking and shopping before meeting up with P again to head to her house. For dinner, we carbo-loaded on some Lou Malnati’s deep dish pizza. When in Chicago…

pizza

In the morning, it was another early alarm. We all got up around 5 a.m. and requested an Uber car to get us to the race about 6 a.m. We thought we’d need 2 cars because there were 6 of us heading to the race, but a mini van showed up for the first car, so we were set! We got to the race right at 6 a.m. It was the perfect amount of time to head to the restroom, get a drink of water and just relax for a few minutes before heading to the corrals. It was cloudy and fairly cool (I can’t remember the exact temp, but I think in the high 60s). Nice weather for running.

I was in corral G this year (an improvement from corral I last year!). I’ve been wanting to break an hour on my 10K time for awhile now. That was my goal for this race, but my left shin has been giving me some issues lately (I think shin splints). So, I told myself that if at any point it hurt, I’d slow down. If it still hurt, I’d walk. I wanted a PR, but I also didn’t want to do anything stupid.

This race had just over 15,000 participants, so it did take a little time after the gun went off at 7 a.m. before I crossed the start line. But, as soon as I did, I worked on finding a comfy 9:30-9:40 pace.

start line

My legs were a little tired and heavy at first – probably from lots of walking the day before. But, they warmed up after a couple miles and I wasn’t feeling any pain in my shin. I kept my pace and continued on feeling pretty good. One other thing that went really well for this race were the water stops. I felt like I finally figured out a good way to grab water, drink it, and toss the cup without slowing down too much. Pro tip: pinch the top of the cup to help funnel the water into your mouth while running/walking so it doesn’t get all over you!

It’s an out and back course. We were on a main road going out and then on the lakefront paths coming back. After the turnaround, I could feel the humidity getting a little higher, but the temp still wasn’t too bad and there was no direct sun. Around mile 5.5, I knew I was on pace for a PR. I started to feel a little tightness in my shin at that point, so I even slowed up a tad and didn’t kick like I normally would at the end of a race. Even with that, I crossed the finish line in 59:31 – a PR!!

bus

medal

After the race, we hung out at the post-race tailgate party for awhile to get our free food and relax. Once we made it back to P’s it was left over deep dish pizza (perfect post race meal too!), showers, and naps. In the evening, we headed to Jeff Fest – an art and music festival. We got some yummy food from food trucks including an unbelievable cookie dough cupcake. It’s basically a cheesecake cupcake. We checked out some of the vendors and listened to music before heading back to crash after a long day.

jeff fest

On Sunday, I met up with my sister and our friend for brunch in Wicker Park. We went to The Bongo Room and I had a ginormous omelette filled with mushrooms, spinach, and goat cheese. Yum.

bongo room

From there, it was off to the airport and home. Overall a great weekend away and a really great race!

I took this last week off from running, though moving didn’t really allow me to get total rest for my shin. I’ll see how next week goes. Hoping it shapes up soon because TC Looney Challenge training is underway, and I want to be ready!

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