Sunday, April 10, 2016

Jess Goes Running: Chicago 10K

Back in August of last year, T. and I were lucky to have over a week off for vacation.  This was our first true vacation (longer than just a weekend getaway) since we went to Costa Rica in 2012, because as we all know, I do not count the debacle that ensued after our attempted trip to Colorado as a vacation.  Our destination was Las Vegas, to spend almost a week together in the desert.  It was a fantastic trip, one that we both thoroughly enjoyed.  Earlier on in the summer, I came across a 10K race online: the Chicago 10K, scheduled for the day before our vacation.  I signed up for it almost immediately and made that one of my summer running goals in preparation for the Chicago Half Marathon.

The morning of the race, it was humid and breezy, with a threat of rain.  I was hoping it would hold off until after the race, though--I had been so lucky to have not had any races postponed or cancelled due to rain, and I didn't want to start then!  I woke up, got dressed and ready, and took the Red Line downtown.  T. came too and brought his bike, though ultimately ended up locking his bike to a rack due to some mechanical issues.  I chatted with my dad on Facebook a little before the race and after some hydrating and stretching, said goodbye to T. and made my way to the corral.

I was excited about the race and had a good energy flowing for the start.  Part of what intrigued me about the 10K was that it was located on the Lakefront Trail, heading south by the Museum Campus, an area I had never explored.  It was also my first race on the trail, which I had (and have) mixed feelings about.  Especially in the earlier part of the race, there were a lot of cyclists that were sharing the trail with the race, and some of them were not especially kind about it.  I was able to mostly tune out that negativity and maintain a good pace throughout the first part of the race.

Eventually I started feeling like the humidity was slowing me down.  I made sure to get water at each of the stations and found that after we turned around at the halfway point, the wind off the lake made it much more tolerable.  I started moving a little more quickly, feeling stronger.  The views on that part of the Lakefront Trail are incredible, especially looking north towards the Chicago skyline.  

Part of why I love running in this city (especially in races that take me downtown amongst the skyscrapers and there, on the Lakefront Trail, running right next to Lake Michigan with the Adler ahead and the Loop behind me) is that there are always so many beautiful and incredible things to look at and explore.  Man, I have never loved running more than I do now, as a citizen of the Windy City.  This race definitely inspired me to keep looking up, and I felt a wave of adrenaline coming up to the finish.  I was incredibly proud to have ended as strong as I felt, happy to have had the opportunity to participate, and pleased with my time.  No sooner had I gotten the medal placed around my neck that rain became imminent; still, we stopped by Buckingham Fountain for a photo before heading home.

I would definitely participate in this race again!  The scenic vistas alone were worth it, but I felt like it was well organized and a really reasonable size: not too overwhelmingly big or too small.  Packet pickup was painless enough, too.  Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any information on a 2016 Chicago 10K, but I guess we'll see.  With the completion of this race, T. and I headed off on an amazing adventure in the desert--and I was on my way to my next running goal, the Chicago Half Marathon at the end of September.

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