I got up early this am and was ready to go by 6am. Problem is race didn't start until 9. Guess I was excited. Today is Dec 1 and I promised myself last night that this will be my best month EVER on Spark. I don't break promises. So I was really ready for this race. I opted for the new shoes (yes the shin split ones but I did do the Hot Chocolate 5K in them).
After driving hubby crazy for a bit, we got to Soldier Field at 7:30. They had lots to look at and do before the race so we were walking all over. They had music and inflatable Rudolf, Sana, and snowmen. They also had live Reindeer. So here's the before race picture:
Finally it was time to move into the corrals. They were set up by mile time. I wasn't certain which one to pick but something in me opted for the 10m30s corral. It was fairly fast moving up to the start.
The run was great. I didn't have much of a strategy. I just set out at what felt comfortable. I had Pink in my ears and just moved to the beat. Very close to the beginning of race we went under McCormick Place. It was a rather dark tunnel but that is where I saw a guy in front of me with reflective strips down the back of his pants. He had a good pace and I thought about how I had paced with the other fellow at the HC 5K. So I started following/chasing him.
Got to mile one. No biggie, actually felt good. We (Pacer and I) were running on the "shoulder" of the path. Kind of a packed earth trail - much easier on my legs. So I just kept following. There were points I was even with my chosen pacer and points I was right behind him.
As we rounded mile two. I was still feeling ok. No pain but really sweating. Grateful for the water. I almost lost my pacer but caught up next to him after the water station. About half way through mile two I started to feel it and was afraid I was going to lose pace.
That's when I found out my "pacer" was very much aware of me. He got next to me and said "you following me" - I nodded. "You ok" - nodded (even though I wasn't). "I'm getting sore, can you keep us going?" - nodded again. Ok, now I HAD to keep going.
We kept running side by side - never breaking pace. We passed 3 mile and just a few minutes later we could see the finish. He asked if I was ok. I looked at my watch and I was at 25 minutes with the finish in site! I said "yeah and thanks for my best time ever! I'll beat my last 5K by at least 3 minutes". He smiled and said "good for you! See you at the finish" He TOOK OFF. I felt so honored that a stranger had maybe give up some time to keep me going - I just laid it all out. I crossed the finish in 27m 50.18s - 5 minutes better than my best time ever.
So talk about happy! Here's my Finisher's Picture:
Can you tell I'm BEAMING!
Then hubby and I went to Chinatown. We walk around a bit and then had a great lunch. Made for an awesome day. I was so pumped when I got home, the FPT got her three mile WALK (there was no running this afternoon). Now I'm going to watch MIB3 and try to calm down.
Yeah, I really believe December is starting off really well.