The morning was crisp, but not colder than anything we’ve had in Chicago (thus far).
We decided to head out to Dick Pond on Black Friday to get our packets. Even though the race offers race day packet pickup, it was at a different spot than the start and we didn’t want to deal with the craziness of shuttles before the race. So off to Schaumburg it was! Highlight of the trip: Seeing the Peter Francis Geraci office, home of “InfoTapes” (people who don’t watch Chicago TV may not get this reference).
Race morning was chilly, but clear. We got to the race start relatively early, and watched the 5K start out (at 8:30, before our 9:15 race start).
I got into the corral near the 2:00 pace group, and had planned to hang back and catch up with them over the first mile or two. It’s a pacing group trick I learned a few years ago, and unfortunately it backfired for me at this race.
I wasn’t SO close to the pace group, and I didn’t realize there was a funnel start, so the wide group of runners had to funnel through a 6 foot entry onto the course. Well, this meant the pace group was further ahead than I’d expected… as in I could barely see them.
I executed my race plan of working to catch up to the group, and I succeeded, but it cost me being able to stay at the 2 hour pace for the remained of the race. I did my first two miles in 8:43 each, more than 20 seconds faster than the planned 9:10 pace that I should have followed to ensure 2 hour success.
I caught up to the group at the end of the second mile and chilled down with them. But I couldn’t keep up with them. By the start of the fifth mile I was struggling to maintain that 9:10 pace, By the sixth mile I had separated well from the group, and started to become discouraged. Miles 7-8 included an out & back on grass and a separate parking lot which made it challenging as well.
I ended up pushing as much as I could, but I lit too many matches earlier on in the race to maintain a pace to meet my goal. I pushed enough at the end to make sure I would not be passed by the 2:10 pace group, who had crept up upon me.
Cold, but I grabbed some hot cider and then a Muscle Milk to refuel. They also had popcorn out, which was great as I always crave salty foods after a hard run. Then we got on the bus to shuttle back to parking and get into a warm car! I had an Auntie Annie’s pretzel at the Des Plaines oasis… also a PR treat!
FINAL TIME: 2:04:16
AVERAGE PACE: 9:29
NEXT RACE: Charleston Marathon, 1/18/14.