Saturday morning came all too fast. I had to be on site at the CARA Lakefront 10 by 5:45am to get a parking spot and get the Ragnar booth all set up. Imagine my surprise when I went outside and found that I had to scrape an inch of ice and snow off of my car. I was dressed for the cold – bottom layer of Pearl Izumi winter tights, an Icebreaker 260 weight half-zip and my Ragnar Ambassador jacket. Over that I threw on a pair of huge sweatpants and a winter coat because I knew I’d be standing around for hours. I took off the coat & sweatpants for the race and about 3 miles in I tied the Ragnar jacket around my waist because I was boiling. I also had on a fleece hat and a pair of Smartwool knit gloves (hat stayed on for the whole race, gloves came on and off as my hand temperature changed).
Booth set-up couldn’t have been easier. Ragnar ordered a tent/table/chairs from CARA and they were already set up when I arrived. I just had to put on the Ragnar tablecloth, pop up the sign, and spread out the free t-shirts and post-cards. I had help from two fellow Ambassadors (shout out to Mattie and Brett – thanks again!) so I was able to step away and run the race. I didn’t race the race – just used it as a training run so I pulled off my timing chip because I was planning on slow-poking the whole way.
Packet Pick-Up: I felt pretty bad for the volunteers working pick-up at the race. Although there were several locations in the city and suburbs to get the packets before the race, but I knew I’d be plenty early on race morning and would have time to get everything there. As soon as I saw that they had the booth up and running I went over, Unfortunately, the list of registered runners wasn’t in alphabetical order so the two girls working had to go page by page until they found the correct name – I managed to see my name while they were searching for the guy in line in front of me. I think they were working on getting a new list printed up and brought down to the booth and for their sake I hope it showed up soon. The goodie bag was a nice reusable grocery bag (I use them for laundry) with a couple of Cliff samples and a nice long-sleeved tech-t (now that I’ve worn it, it seems a little short in the torso). Bonus: a nice medal at the end.
The Race: The race started right on time. I was running with three buddies of mine who (sorry CARA) were banditing the race just to run with me – I have the greatest friends! Two of them were feeling speedy so they took off after about mile2 and I didn’t see them again until the end. I just wanted to dog it and the other buddy hadn’t run 10 miles in about a year so we stuck together and then found another friend at the CARA trough who looked like she wasn’t having the greatest race. I stuck with her and became Poppy: Race Coach. I’m really good at blabbing on and on to help take people’s minds off running – just ask my sister-in-law. I ran the last 8 miles of the 2009 marathon (her first) with her and I apologized the next day for all the blabbing but she said it was the best thing ever. Maybe I have a new career? I’ll offer to run next to people while I go on and on about completely inconsequential subjects. Last year I ran a few miles with a friend in the Chicago Marathon and recapped a New Yorker article about Korean pop music. Anyway – back to the race. The course was fine – pretty much the same as last year – going north to start and then looping back to head over Cricket Hill (really people – it’s a bump!) which was a little slickery from all the rain the previous week and then winding around the lakefront path – going under the bridge to run on the side with the CARA trough and then back around to head north again. Can I just take a moment to mention my least favorite part of just about every race on the lakefront? There’s that point, close to the end, where you head east by some gothic looking field house. I always just want to run straight across the field and cut off the ‘U’ part of the path. I guess I hate it because I’ve done it so many times and at that point I know exactly how far it is to the finish. I’m never one for poring over course maps because I like to be surprised and I’ve run this area so much that there are no more surprises
Post-Race party: There were a fair amount of booths at the race including Clif and some Noodles & Co. who were serving mac & cheese , plus each bib had a ticket for free beer (I gave mine away). Since I was working a booth I got a chance to talk to the booths next to me (Chicago 13.1 and a massage place) and I stopped to talk to the Merrell rep because they were sponsoring the Crossfit class I was taking the next day.
Would I do it again?: Sure. 10-miles is a nice distance and since I usually have a half planned somewhere in the near future it’s a good training distance. I paid $48.50 which was probably on the high end since I missed early registration due to indecision – I did get the CARA member discount – buy $48.50 doesn’t seem that high at all for a 10-mile race especially since there are 5Ks that cost that much.
Last week I did manage to get in 29 miles even with the torrential downpours– a recent high! I’ll be back later this week with a training update and a little recap of the Fleet Feet Boston Tribute run.
See you on the trails!