Sunday, October 11, 2015

Jess Goes Running: Deerfield Deer Dash 10K

After the Shamrock Shuffle 8K at the end of March, I didn't have any other races scheduled.  I knew I wanted to do another--needed to do another, so that I could get motivated to keep running and training.  April was a slow month for me, running wise.  So when I ended up with a Sunday off (which would soon become one of my regular weekend days) at the beginning of May, I decided I needed to get back out there and find a race.

As it turned out, the Deerfield Deer Dash 10K was on that very day.  I had never done a 10K before (6.2 miles) but I was up for the challenge and feeling confident despite the fact that I hadn't done much running over the previous few weeks.  T. and I drove in from the city and I had him drop me off at the start of the course.  Deerfield is a lovely, picturesque suburb in Lake County, and the course was going to be on blocked off roads.  It was also tiny.  There were approximately 65 participants in the 10K, making it the smallest race I had, and have, ever run.  There were a few spectators here and there at the beginning and the end of the course, but not much in between.  I was doing this more for myself than for anyone else, and T. had a few errands to run, so I sent him off and told him I would text when I was done.

There was a 5K course in addition to the 10K course, but the race was pretty small--approximately 60-65 participants.  Most definitely the smallest race that I had ever done.  It was timed by 5 or 6 men with stopwatches; no fancy chip technology here!  The race took runners through beautiful suburban Deerfield, down stunning tree lined streets with big houses and stunning landscaping.  With the burst of an airhorn, 
the race left Jaycee Memorial Park and continued onto Wilmot.

It was a pretty humid morning and it hit me relatively early on.  Truthfully, I hadn't done much running during the month of April, so to go right into a 6.2 mile race was kind of a potentially questionable decision.  I was feeling healthy, though, and I knew that if I could do almost 5 miles (with the Shamrock Shuffle 8K back in March) and that I had done 13.1 miles, 6.2 shouldn't be that bad.  It was a tough run.  The heat and humidity, the sun in my eyes, the loneliness of the race...  there were stretches where I couldn't see anyone ahead of me or behind me.  This was a very unique experience and I tried to appreciate it, even if I struggled a little bit.

I was able to pick up the pace a little bit near the end.  There were practically no spectators present for the vast majority of the race, but near the end of the race, as it got closer to the park (probably within the last half mile/mile, I'd say) there were more people cheering us on.  And even though I was tired and felt like I had been so slow, I still crossed the finish line with a smile on my face.  I used MapMyRun to track my run, and I was pleasantly surprised and happy with my finish time.  (I should note that the actual course did measure 6.2 miles, but I had some issues getting the app started so it only tracked 6.02.  Oh well.)

I grabbed a bottled water and sat down in the slightly dewy grass, stretching out my legs.  T. got back to the park not long after I finished, and after giving myself a few minutes to recover, I got up and walked over to the parking lot, where he was waiting.  Though I was still trying to hydrate and recover from the race, I felt encouraged that I had been able to keep up a good pace even though I didn't necessarily feel like I was ready for it.  It was an interesting experience and I was happy that I signed up for it.

This race was the encouragement that I needed to kick my running into gear for the summer--I was definitely planning on doing the Lincolnshire 4th of July 5K again (like I had a few years earlier) and I was also going to run the Chicago Half Marathon again at the end of September.  I did both of those races, and also ended up running in the Chicago 10K, as well, in August.

I had signed up for a 5K at Rosehill Cemetery last night, but had to sit out at the last minute--currently dealing with an inflamed left knee after stepping wrong yesterday morning (at the time that it happened, I didn't really think anything of it, but a few hours later it was swollen and sore).  It's disappointing, but I am trying to stay encouraged by seeing my progress as a runner and thinking about future races.  I am also keeping my knee up and icing it every so often.  As much as I wanted to run that race last night, I also know that it would not have been a good experience for me.  I have learned how to listen to my body and with a little bit of patience, I'll be out there again soon enough, running and enjoying the best of what running in Chicago Fall has to offer.  More race reports and running posts to come!

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