I’ve only run the Soldier Field 10 Mile once, back in 2010, with Dave. It was a hot day, and I believe they black flagged the race. We were already at mile 9 and we finished in 1:54:07.
After finishing the Chicagoland Half last Sunday, I decided to run it again…possibly mistake #1! I felt great after the half, and figured I’d run for fun. Then after my Tuesday and Wednesday runs, I felt confident, and wanted to go for a PR. I have been running well, and was thinking I had a shot.
Thursday night, probably mistake #2, I did some track work. My ears rang, I was near puking, I was spent, and my legs were tired Friday. Though once I was up and moving, they felt OK. So I didn’t think too much of it.
Friday, the girls and I went to my sister’s and stayed the night. The girls got to play with their cousin, and we celebrated my sis’ birthday. It was a lot of fun! Though mistake #3, I over celebrated a bit. On top of that, I didn’t sleep well. I was anxious, and over thinking everything! I got a “pep talk” call from Katie, she who is the “amazingly awesome person who totally made my morning” last Sunday and we chatted for a bit. She reminded that there was a meteor shower, and as I couldn’t sleep, I went out and watched for a bit. I think I finally fell asleep around 2, only to get up at 4.
Race morning, I was up and felt iffy. I ate oatmeal, and got ready. I headed out and made my way to the city. Once there, I sat in the car listening to music and trying to push fluids. I was anxious over all didn’t feel 100%.
After a few songs, I decided to head in and find a bathroom and wait for my friends. Like on Sunday, I got a “good luck” from Katie call that once again helped me snap out of it!
I had a different corral than my friends, but was contemplating moving back to start with them. Once I found them, the decision was made. We chatted on the way to and in the corral while we waited for our turn to start. I had a couple Clif ShotBlox while I waited.
We finally got moving, and I wasn’t feeling good. I felt hot, and slow. And started swearing pretty early. We made our way through the dark tunnel along McCormick Place, which is effing scary. You can’t see a damn thing! My thoughts alternated between…
“Oh shit, don’t fall!”
“Oh damn, it’s hot.”
“I can’t do this.”
Yes, a mile in I was working on psyching myself out. Kris took off ahead of us and I did my best to keep up with Sarah and Melissa, two of the friends I finished last Sunday with. I was struggling and panicking. Then, around mile 2, just before the first aid station, my stomach started cramping bad. I skipped the first aid station, yeah the fluids would have been good…but I didn’t want to start walking then. Mentally, I would have been done for sure.
Sarah started pulling away, and I freaked. I couldn’t keep up, was hunched over from the cramping, and felt hot. I wanted to quit, I teared up. I focused on the girls, wished my dad was there, remembered how sweet it was that Katie had called- and then figured I owed it to them to go another mile. So I did. And then decided to try and gut it out. I tried to keep Sarah in sight, and did until the turn around, just before the mile 5 marker. I hadn’t checked my pace at all, but felt slow.
Mile 5 I felt OK. I caught up with Kris, and passed her. I knew I would be stopping ahead, just past the aid station…I had seen the bathroom I was going to hit. It was mile 6, and I barely made it into the bathroom before the “eruption.” I finished as quickly as I could, and got moving. The cramping was still there but I felt like I could breathe some. Then something flipped, I felt good moving. It took me most of mile 6 and 7 to settle into a groove, but I was moving fairly well all things considered. I checked my time, and saw I had an outside shot at a PR. WHAT? It didn’t make sense, but it was still possible…though I needed to haul ass! I was frustrated that I hydrated so poorly, and wasn’t ready. I had dug a hole and it was totally avoidable. Fuck.
By mile 8 I had decided to empty the tank, and go as hard as I could. I got loud…I shouted and hollered at myself, and kept pushing. I suffered a lot the last 3 miles. I caught up to Kris again, and to Juan, another NRG member. We hit the last aid station, with about a mile and a quarter to go. I told them I had a shot at a PR, and the told me to go.
I knew I needed a damn fast last mile, I figured a 10:00 mile would be about enough, according to the fuzzy math in my head. I knew I could do it, I had done sub 10:00 miles a couple times this past week.
I dug deep, but hot damn that last mile was the longest damn mile of the morning! Holy eff balls! I finally saw the turn into the stadium, and then saw Phil, another friend, who was there cheering his wife. I got a high five, and pushed, with my lungs burning, heart and stomach in my throat.
I ran through the tunnel in Soldier Field and shouted with my fellow runners. I hit the field, and it was a blur. I went as hard as I could for the line.
I stopped Map My Run, but it wasn’t clear if I had gotten a PR. I logged on to the results page and hit refresh for a minute. My time…1:55:06. Missed a PR by :59! DAMNITSOMUCH! I was a little bummed I missed it, but proud I didn’t give up and pushed so hard at the end.
I had a bottle of water and made my way inside. The cramping had eased a little. I found my friends and we got pics with some active military there, helping out. It was a good reminder of what the race, and this holiday is about.
Had I done a better job hydrating on Friday, I probably could have avoided the bathroom break, and probably would have run a better 10 miles. I’ll take the result though- finishing that well after a tough first half of the race.
After a post race beer, I started for the car…and puked. I headed to my sister’s, stopping once for a bathroom break and to puke twice. I was getting worried and ended up going in to get fluids via IV; they did the trick. I felt tons better after that!
Today my legs are tired, and I’m a little sore. This will definitely be a rest week for sure. The girls and I cleaned this morning, and we’re going for a walk later! My goal is to lay low and recover.