FirstMerit Bank Lakefront 10 Miler Recap

Another weekend, another race.

I kicked off my Saturday with the Lakefront 10. Though *technically* I’ve run a 10 miler before, due to the conditions (trail) and distance (9.6 miles by my Garmin), I don’t really count the Georgetown 10 as an official 10 miler. For all intents and purposes, I considered Saturday’s race to be my first 10 miler.

I picked up my packet on Friday at Universal Sole and was pretty happy with the contents.


Out of all of these things, the drawstring bag is probably the only thing I didn’t particularly want. I (along with everyone else) LOVE LOVE LOVE the race shirt, and I’m always happy to receive a mini Clif Bar. Beef jerky was a new one for me in a race bag, and I got the blue shoelaces because I made a donation to One Fund when I registered for the race. I haven’t put them on my shoes yet, but I hope to wear them all summer long on my marathon training and marathon shoes.

I was actually pretty nervous heading into Saturday’s race. I had long ago decided what shirt I planned to wear, and then as I went to lay out that shirt with the rest of my race day outfit discovered that I apparently lost said shirt sometime between the Chi Town Half and last Friday (or at least severely misplaced it, because I can’t find it anywhere). I also only had new-to-me flavors of Clif Shot Bloks, which also made me panic, given the whole nothing-new-on-race-day rule. All of these things seemed to be going wrong, and for the first time ever I was genuinely concerned that my race would go poorly.


I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect out of myself at the Lakefront 10 in terms of time. I figured there was no way I’d run faster than a 1:30 (9:00 pace), but I also probably wouldn’t run slower than a 1:45 (about what I ran at Georgetown in terrible conditions). I kind of thought maybe a 1:40 sounded reasonable (10:00 pace), but with how speedy I ran the Chi Town Half a few weeks ago, I really didn’t know what I’d be able to do at the Lakefront 10. It was cold, which always helps me out, but it was also a little windy by the lake. I ended up putting myself toward the back of the 9:00 pace area, hoping that I surrounded myself by 9:30/9:45 runners and that I’d be able to hang on to that kind of pace for the duration of the event.

We got started right on time and headed up Simonds to Foster. I felt like the first mile took forever, which hasn’t been how I’ve felt lately. I figured, based on where I lined up, that I must have been running at a 10:00 pace or slower by the number of people passing me (my sleeves covered my watch so I didn’t really know my time). When I did hit the first mile, though (by my Garmin, which registered all the mile markers about 15 seconds before I passed the course mile markers), I saw that I ran an 8:55 first mile. I freaked out, since I knew that kind of pace was not sustainable for another nine miles, and tried to hold myself back and not worry about how many people passed me.

After that first mile, I settled into a nice, steady pace and kept just about all of my miles in the 9:15ish area (9:28, 9:12, 9:15, 9:17, 9:08, 9:26, 9:07, 9:15 through mile 9). While those times in and of themselves make me happy, what made me happier was my consistency. It was one thing to run consistently at Chi Town where I had pacers — it’s another thing to do it on my own. I felt fine throughout the race, and when I hit mile 7 decided I wanted to try to push it a little. I really kicked it in, though, for the last mile of the race. I have a 5K coming up, and though I didn’t sign up with the intent to PR at that 5K, with how things have gone over the past few weeks I wouldn’t mind at least seeing what I can do. The last mile of a 5K always hurts, and I know it’s going to hurt even more if I’m aiming for a PR, so I wanted to use the last mile of the Lakefront 10 as practice. I started keeping an eye on runners ahead of me, picking a person and trying to pass him or her (usually her, so as to improve my gender place :P ). I caught three girls I really didn’t think I’d be able to catch and ended up running that last mile in 8:15. Heyo!

My watch measured the course a tiny bit long (10.03), but when all was said and done I finished in 1:31:32. Considering 1:30 was the absolute best I thought I would do, I’m quite happy with a 1:31:32 (9:10 overall pace).

I caught my breath and then headed off to round up as much food as I could find.


Macaroni and cheese at 9:45 a.m. Normal? And of course a bagel and banana.


And a bite of steak (mostly because I found the man in the cowboy hat endearing. I love Chicago, but I do miss the country.).

I also took advantage of the stretching station and injury screens at the post-race party. I always appreciate being stretched out post-race by a professional, plus my IT band (or what I thought was my IT band) hurt during pretty much my entire run, so I figured an injury screen couldn’t hurt. One of my former PTs did my injury screen and said it seemed to be my outer quad, not my IT band, which made more sense to me since though my leg hurt in the area of my IT band, my knee didn’t bother me at all. He sent me on my way with instructions to foam roll and keep doing my exercises, which I’ve tried to keep up with but let fall by the wayside more than I should. Definitely need to be more diligent about that to keep myself away from the actual PT’s office (even though I do <3 physical therapy. But I <3 being uninjured more.).

So that’s that! All in all, an excellent event. I’m really happy with how I ran and thought CARA did a wonderful job organizing a really solid race. One more race left before it’s time to start thinking about marathon training!



Filed under 10 Miler Training

Thursday Things

1. So this happened on Monday.


For those of you keeping score at home…

Screen shot 2014-04-16 at 9.28.44 PM

We’ve now had snow for over five full months. I’ll just leave that right there.

2. I don’t know if anyone else has this problem, but I have a serious struggle with art. As in, I see anything that could in any way be classified as art (writing, music, design, dance, etc. — basically anything that is not blatantly math or science) and think, “I could totally do that! How hard could it be?”

My latest struggle has been with web design. You’d think this would be a relatively straightforward sort of thing, right? There are millions of websites all over the Internet! I spend probably 10 hours a day online, when it’s all said and done — I’ll just know intuitively how to put together an awesome website. AND, I’ve totally heard of HTML and know that it uses those greater than/less than signs. I’ve even used HTML to use bold and italicized text on blog comments before. I’ve totally got this!

I totally do not got this.

I am slowly (oh, oh so slowly) attempting to teach myself how to code using various free online resources (Codecademy has been a great help, as is Dreamweaver’s Help site), and I think the primary thing I’ve learned thus far is that I know freaking nothing about creating websites. But hopefully with diligence (read: less time on BuzzFeed, more time learning) that will change.

3. Easter is on Sunday HOORAY!! I love Easter and am so excited for Sunday to finally get here. I’m also excited to start baking again.


Mmm. Chocolate chip banana muffins (among many other things) are in my future :D

Have you ever tried something thinking it would be a breeze only to find out it involved a lot more work than you originally thought?
Plans for Easter?


Filed under Life

Catching Up

Been awhile, hasn’t it? I guess technically it’s only been a week, but it feels like awhile. I had a crazy busy and stressful week last week, and since I think we can all agree that it’s silly to contribute to legitimate stress with unnecessary stress (i.e.: putting up a blog post just because “it’s what I always do,”), blogging had to take a back seat to real life last week.

So! Let’s see. What do I have to tell you about?

Blaze has dethroned Potbelly as my favorite fast-food-that-doesn’t-feel-like-fast-food place in Chicago. A couple of weeks ago a friend wanted to get dinner, and since I wanted to go somewhere both easily accessible and cheap, I suggested Blaze.

blaze pizza, blaze pizza chicago

At Blaze, you can either order one of the pizzas they have on their menu, or you can go through the line and build your own pizza (think Subway or Chipotle-style ordering) for the STUPID low price of $7.45. Unlike, oh, just about every pizza place in the world, Blaze doesn’t charge you per ingredient. You want to put exactly one item on your custom pizza? $7.45. You want to put literally every single topping they offer on your pizza? $7.45. (Unless you get the vegan cheese or GF crust, as those cost more). They build the whole thing right there in front of you on freshly made dough, stick it in an oven, and it’s cooked and all yours within three minutes. Insane, right?? AND this isn’t some itty bitty baby pizza. Oh no. I got two meals out of this pizza, which means I essentially paid $3.72 for dinner and dinner a few days later ($4.08 after Chicago tax). Where else are you going to find that kind of awesome deal in Chicago? Right. Freaking nowhere. My red sauce/ham/chicken/black olives/mushroom/pineapple pizza was amazing, in case you were wondering.

After Blaze, my friend and I went to my other favorite right-of-the-Belmont-El-stop location, Forever Yogurt.


For the third year in a row, I gave up sweets for Lent, but I tried to not make “giving up sweets” quite as blanket of a statement as I have in years past. Basically, if I would, under normal circumstances, eat fill-in-the-blank as a dessert/treat, I haven’t eaten it since March 4. Under normal circumstances, I fill my frozen yogurt cup with a decadent, definitely-sweet frozen yogurt (or several) and top that with all the candy I can fit in the cup. Exhibit A:


(But don’t worry guys: I always put blueberries on there as well, because blueberries are magical and counteract everything else, thus making this a health food. #science)

So when we went to Forever Yogurt a couple weeks ago, I opted for plain frozen yogurt (and a little coconut frozen yogurt) topped with fruit, granola, and coconut. Dessert? Eh, maybe by some people’s standards, but again, I would never do this under normal circumstances, so I felt like it was fair game. And, as it turns out, not bad at all!

Other recent happenings…


I saw Betty Who at Lincoln Hall on Saturday! Betty Who is a delightfully poppy, happy, upbeat artist, whose debut single, “Somebody Loves You,” you may know from this video:

I’m normally a huge hater of openers, but I really, really liked Betty Who’s second opener, Zak Waters. Overall a very fun night :) Lincoln Hall has great shows.

This has nothing to do with anything, but I loved how HLB-cliche Sunday’s dinner turned out to be, so I had to take a picture of it.



Quinoa? Check. Spinach? Check. Meatless? Check. All it needs is kale, chia seeds, and maybe some greek yogurt, and it would be picture-perfect HLB meal :P (The quinoa, btw, is fabulous, and I definitely recommend it!)

What have you been up to lately?
Best concert you’ve been to? Fall Out Boy is still my #1.


Filed under Life