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 😛 ). 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 ❤ physical therapy. But I ❤ 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!


18 thoughts on “FirstMerit Bank Lakefront 10 Miler Recap

  1. A-freaking-mazing girl!!! That’s almost 10 minutes faster than you imagined going in! I think races like this always turn out to be the best haha…new fuel, can’t find stuff, super stressed, etc….and then you let it go by the time the race starts and just run 😛 seems to be for me anyway. Love the shirts you guys got too! CARA takes good care of you guys 😉

    • CARA does indeed take good care of us. She’s a great girlfriend 😛 Personally I’d like to avoid ever feeling that stressed heading into a race again, but you’re totally right that it turned out working wonderfully! Thanks for all your kind words ❤

  2. If you could bust out an 8:15 for that last mile you totally could have broken 1:30!! Go you!

    The last time I raced (not just ran, but actually raced) the CARA Lakefront 10 I was training to run my first sub-2:00 half marathon and was SO HAPPY when I crossed the finish line at the 10 miler in 1:26:40. I KNEW then that I could break 2:00 in the half. So the Lakefront 10 has a special place in my heart of being one of my best race days ever.

  3. I was there too! I thought it was a great race. I’ve done this one before and it is one of my favorite races! Great job!


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