Saturday, May 28, 2016

Soldier Field 10 - recap

So, I did drag my sorry butt to the Soldier Field 10 today. (I wasn't so sure I would as of yesterday.) I got up at 4am and was out the door by 4:50am. As late as 4:45 I was still debating whether or not I wanted to go brave the heat and humidity but..I hate bailing on a race I've paid for! The drive to soldier field took about an hour at that time of day and then once you got the street the parking garage is on, it took about another 20 minutes for race traffic directors to get you in. But there was plenty of (free) parking which is a nice boon compared to most city races. So at 6:15 I walked out of the parking garage - and right into the block of portopotties by the start line. I met up with some of the women from my local MRTT chapter and a group photo was taken - if that's ever posted I'll add it here.

But I ended up with about an hour to kill since my corrals didn't even close til 7:15 and since I was in K (I totally qualified for an earlier wave but was lazy about submitting race results to actually get in...yeah, note to self if I ever do this again) I knew I probably wouldn't be running til at least 7:30. I took some pictures, hydrated as much as possible, and talked to a nuun rep. Can you tell what an exciting morning it was? It was already over 70 and humid; I just could not get myself excited.

Harder than it looked to get the sign into the pic, hence the funny expression. All enthusiasm pictured is fake.

I finally wandered into K corral around 7:10. Got to watch a big dude who had an M bib get told to go to the correct corral and tell the (tiny, female) volunteer to pretty eff off, proving that no matter how awesome the running community is overall there are jerks no matter where you go. We finally got to cross the start around 7:30ish and man, it sucked just as bad I was afraid of. The only saving grace was the constant breeze - the moments it died the heat was pretty yucky, and the humidity worse. My legs just did not want to move. My first two were right around a 10:30 pace and while I think I could have done it for was pretty clear pretty fast that was not a smart way to go through the day. It needed to be about 15 degrees cooler - if I was going to finish the race safely today...yeah, not so much. The race was at Moderate Alert at that point, but if not for the light wind it would have been pretty terrible. I backed off and decided an 11:30 pace was mostly went with that.

The first five miles are on the street and were pretty much uneventful and boring other than a high school band around mile 2. The only thing worth noting is that I had never had nuun before and it has a weird almost carbonated bite to it, and the race never thinned out - the first five miles were full of dodging and weaving. The turn around point had us cross grass to get on the lakefront trail, and I got to see a dog retrieving a ball from the water. I decided that was more noteworthy than anything else I was doing so I took a picture.

Swimming retriever. I bet he was cooler than me.

In the second half of the race we were heading back towards Soldier Field on the Lakefront path now. The weather status was raised to red and we were told to stay hydrated and smart. I took a quick portopotty break at the next aid station and watched someone taken away on a stretcher. Each med tent I passed was full of bad news, racers dropping out or being told they had to. The sun was coming out intermittantly in the second half and it sucked, but the wind was a fairly constant companion at least.

All hands, red alert!

It stayed crowded and there was lots of dodging and weaving; a lot of people were walk/running at this point. I drank a cup of water and a cup of nuun at each aid station and dumped a cup of water on my head, but by mile 8 I was still not doing great staying cool enough so I walked .05 at mile 8, 8.5, 9, and 9.5. It helped a little but honestly I don't know how much, just that I didn't want to not finish so close to the end.

Crowded race. I think I prefer smaller ones.

The tail end of mile 9 brought us into the stadium; we ran through the corridors of the stadium for a while. When we finally escaped the indoor part of the run, it spit us out onto the field - which we ran on for about 20 seconds before crossing the finish line. I didn't even see the jumbo tron until I was heading towards the soldiers to get medalled. (Very nice to see all the soldiers and get to thank them for their service, but felt a little weird to. They had them handing out medals and stationed at exits...didn't feel like the nicest way to thank our troops.)

Jumbo tron.

All in all...part of me feels like I should have stayed home. The medal and shirt are okay and seeing the ladies from MRTT was nice, but the weather sucked, the course was meh at best (I think I am spoiled by too many pretty travel races lately) and I want to be mad my performance was so poor. In the end I can't because between two marathons this month that I am still recovering from and the awful weather, it was what it was, but eh. Probably will not repeat this race again. I knew I wasn't going to hit my time goal with the way my training season went anyway and I added a lot to that with the marathons, but the weather killed any chance of a decent performance. Oh well. Bad races happen. The only saving grace was despite fearing the worst, I tried anyway and didn't talk myself into a bad race - I am very confident that attitude had nothing to do with how hard today was. So - on to the next adventure.


  1. Congrats on the finish despite the high temps. I guess the one notable part about the race is that it finishes on the 50 yard line. Other than that it sounds just okay!

    1. Thanks Pete! It was tough but I knew going in it would be...I just like to whinge :)

      The 50 yard line is probably more important for football fans...okay well, not probably. Alas, I don't really follow football! The soldiers at the finish line were humbling though.