Yesterday was the fifth time I ran in Fleet Feet's Women's 10K/5K. First of all let me say that Fleet Feet Sports is a great running store based in Chicago and their races are always well organized. Their Women's race is the largest 5K and 10K race in the Midwest for Women. This year there were 2,634 women lined up at the start line.
The weekend prior was quite hot, and I was so excited to hear that we would drop down to the 70s by Thursday. Well we know how that goes, what comes down can go back up again. Saturday morning we were entering the second day of a week long heat wave. Highs were up in the 90s with high humidity. The day before the race Fleet Feet sent out an e-mail warning of the high temps, with tips for running in hot weather and offering any one signed up for the 10K to run the 5K instead if they would like. When I woke up the temperature was already in the low 80s, with no cloud cover. I stayed at home in the a/c as long as possible having a leisurely early morning. I happen to live very close, so at 7:15am I headed out the door and jogged to the start line. With 8 minutes to spare I headed to the port-a-potties, however the lines were so long I wasn't going to make it in time. I turned around towards the start line and pondered where I should start. I settled in with the 9:30 pace group. There is a lot of energy at the start of any race, but there is something about standing with 2,633 women ready to run together. The 5K and 10K runners all start together.
The starting horn blew and we were off. We started off heading north on a wide street that runs through the park. Most of the runners stayed in the right lane of the street, so I moved out to the left lane and hung at the left edge of the runners. It was hot already, so I didn't want to go out too fast. I knew the terrain well as most of the course was on my usual running trails. At the one mile mark it looks like I am at a 9 min mlle pace. Shortly after the first mile the course has a tight turn to the right and runs parallel to the 1st mile trail, heading south. The 1st hydration station was just after the turn and I grab a water. For the second mile the course runs along the shore of Lake Michigan on the left. The other great scene was to the right, seeing the path filled with the runners on mile one. Mile 2 looks like I kept the 9 min pace. Heading into mile 3 we cross back over to the main activity path, where I always run. The sun is getting higher and I can feel the heat beating down. In mile 3 I come across the second hydration station. I've been sweating a lot and I grab a gatorade and a water. I wanted to pour the water over my head, but i remember last year. When I did that, I ended up with chafing on the sides of my jogbra and I felt like I was running in diapers the rest of the race.. The water went down my back and settled into my running shorts. Neither situation pleasant at all. Shortly before the end of mile 3 we pass the exit to my home. I looked at it longingly. Mile 3 looks like I've slowed to a 10 min pace.
The next 3 miles are in the beating sun and the temps are raising as well as the humidity. My heart rate was rising also, but I kept pushing through. I didn't stop at the 3rd and 4th hydration stations. I had to pee so badly, I just wanted to make it to the finish. As I came into the 5th mile my heart rate was raising into the 180s. I normally run between 155 - 165. I know I am working hard to run through the heat, but I feel ok overall. My pace on the last 3 miles seems to vary between 9 and 10 mins. When I was close to the end of the 6th mile I wanted to kick it in really hard for the end, but my heart rate had risen to 193 and I thought I should take it a little easier. I picked up the pace a little and made it across the finish line. Just beyond the finish they had four large fans blowing cool mist. When one of the guys manning the fans saw me he pulled me in front of the fans. Did I really look that bad? Boy they felt good! After the fans there was bottled water, bananas and popsicles. Cold, frozen popsicles. Mmmmmmm.
Official results came in today:
FInish time 58:18 (a PR)
Overall placement in the 10K: 339 out of 1318
Overall Placement in my age group: 32 out of 133*
*post note: I am at the upper age in my age group.