Sunday, November 13, 2011

Chicago's Perfect 10 Race Report

The Race
Chicago's Perfect 10 is a new race this year. They offer a 10 Mile option and a 10k option. Both start and finish at Navy Pier and run through Grant Park. I do love running along Lake Michigan, and they were giving medals for a 10k - so I was in!

The Morning
This race called for a VERY early morning for me. The race organizers changed the start time to 7:00am just four days before race day. (There was some conflict with the Parks Dept.) So my plan of taking the train into the city was nixed since the trains don't run that early on Saturdays. They moved packet pick-up to 5:00am. I was nervous about lots of people picking up their packets that morning and wanted to be safe in case there were long lines. So I left my house at 3:30am to get there shortly after 5:00am.

Did you hear that? 3:30 AM! I remember days that ended at 3:30am. Starting at such a time seems unnatural. This meant I had to actually wake up about 2:45am. In order to prepare, I went to bed at 9:00pm. Seemed like a good idea in theory. But I tossed and turned until 12:30am - which is closer to my regular bedtime. So with just two hours of actual sleep under my belt, I gave up and just got up before the alarm even went off.

The drive into Chicago was the easiest EVER! Apparently, most people believe they shouldn't be out at such a ridiculous hour on a Saturday either. Driving all by my loneseome on the Eden Expressway was a little eerie. I felt like it was the apocalypse or something.

The Expo
I arrived at Navy Pier shortly after 5:00am. There were a few athletically dressed folks meandering through the parking garage, but we certainly weren't fighting over parking spots. So that was one great perk of the early hour.

I made my way up to the expo and picked up my race packet. I didn't have to worry about lines. There was no one there yet. And they seemed to be very well-organized. Race shirt was nice - a long sleeve tech shirt. I'm not a huge fan of red though.

The 10 Mile runners got the same shirt in a dusty blue color. I LOVED that color! But, it wasn't worth the extra four miles. Those folks deserved the "cool" shirt. I didn't spend a lot of time looking at the booths at the expo. I was tired and just wanted to relax a little. I texted Lynn and Timre who were both meeting up with me this morning.

Timre lives in Chicago and was heading over with a friend of hers who was running the 10 miles. Timre and I agreed to just walk the 10k together since neither of us had been training properly at all. Lynn would be running the 10k.

Soon we all met up outside the expo. Its so nice to have friends to do these events with. Even though we are all at different levels and abilty as far as running is concerned - we can meet up before, during, or after, and share our experiences. I just love that.

The Start
It was cold. About 35 degrees. Most of the runners stayed inside Navy Pier until just before the start of the race. It was nice having such a big indoor venue (and indoor bathrooms) with the starting line directly out the door. So we didn't freeze to death before the race even started. Loved that. Timre and I lined up at the back of the pack and took a few pictures.

I made it abundantly clear that I was not running this race. It was just my way of easing back into training and logging some miles. I was sleep-deprived and unprepared. There was a generous time limit for the 10kers, so I wasn't at all worried about time.

The Run
Have I mentioned how much I love running walking in Chicago? If I lived in Chicago I swear I would run every day. Its so beautiful. Here are a couple pics:

I realized two things during this 10k.

1. I am ridiculously out of shape. I kept comparing times to when I was running regularly and I couldn't believe the difference. It is much easier to lose your endurance than it is to get it back.

2. I could never be a power-walker. I noticed this in Boston when I was walking with Lynda too. Her and Timre both have very fast walking paces. I don't. And things seem to hurt more when I walk. I'm actually more comfortable at a slow jog than I am walking. I just didn't have the endurance for it.

Overall, it was a good experience. I did have to run to catch up to Timre a few times. She was perfectly okay with leaving me in the dust if I didn't keep up :) So anytime I stopped to take pictures or if I slowed to a "normal" walk I found myself having to run just to keep pace with her walk. I was thankful to have the extra push though.

At the end of the race we were handed one of these little beauties:

It totally made the early morning worth it. I'm a sucker for the bling.

The Recap
I liked this race. It was smaller than some of the Chicago events. They had 3,000 registered, but I don't think that many showed up since there was some who were angry about that last-minute time change. But for those of us that showed up, it was perfect. The course wasn't crowded and was well marked. They seemed to have plenty of volunteers. For an inagaural event, it seemed to run very smoothly. I especially appreciated the race day packet pick-up. So many of the Chicago races don't allow for same day pick-up and it means an extra two hour trip just to pick up a bib number. I hate that. (Unless they have a really great expo....but they usually don't.) I would definitely do this race again.

And I'm guaranteed a better time next year :)


  1. What a fun report! This Navy Pier looks very cute. I need to get over that way and do a Chicago race sometime I think.

    Congratulations on the very awesome bling! It looks super cool!!

  2. Chicago is a great city to run! If you ever get out this way make sure to let me know so I can show you around!