May 23, 2009 Chicago, Ill.

So, today, I ran the Soldier Field 10 mile race. I haven't run this short of a distance in quite sometime, so while I was fully trained, racing hard+fast for 10 miles was going to be a nice little challenge! I was also just coming off of 100 mile training weeks. But I had a goal....

4:45am. UP! Had my usual breakfast of Kashi with soy milk. Got dressed, prayed that the weather would be a little warmer then last night. It was pretty chilly!

5:45am. Bright sun welcomed Kate & I as we walked outside. It was a beautiful morning! We left via a cab to pick up Amy who was also running the race.

6:30am. Arrived at Soldier Field. Lots of people, pre race stretching, warm up laps, gear check, excitement in the air & the sun was up and shinning brightly on us all!

6:55am. Kevin met up with me to help pace me. Said good bye to Kate & Amy and away we went to warm up. Kevin was a former pro hockey player and 58min 10miler PR, so I knew I was in good hands. Ran for about 12min, then he had me do some FAST (6min) strides. Felt great. Ready to rock, roll and run.

7:15am. Time to get in corral. Stretched while in line. Itching to run. Wanting to finish fast. Praying the wind keeps calm in the WINDY city.

7:33am. Music over, gun off, away we go! Kevin met me just after the start line. Feet+legs noticing the surface, concrete. Cringing. Going to hurt. Going to be really, really sore when this is all over. Kevin to me: my coach told me this & I advise you to do the same: "shut up & run". I replied, "do you know me'? But knew he was right, so I focused on breathing & using my engery to run. Run fast. Run hard.

Mile 1. Legs already feeling the concrete. Only 9 more. I can do this. 7:36 for first mile.

Mile 2. Ran under the Soldier Field bridge. Sun is out. Eying my competition around me. Concrete STILL NOT liking me.

Mile 3. If I had been running a 5k, would have PR'd. Could have run 19min 5k. Feeling like I was floating, wait am? No, my feet quickly reminded me, you are pounding some pretty HARD ground. Run faster so we can get done, please they replied. Noted legs, run on.

Mile 4. Kevin was awesome. He asked me how I was feeling. "Great" I responded. Thinking that I only had 6 miles left. Feeling like I was not running, but hitting really hard cinder blocks with rubber soles. Yeah, concrete was really fun....

Mile 5. Halfway! 38min! Turn around point....right into a head wind. A fairly strong head wind. Fun. Kevin helped by letting me draft. SWEET!

Mile 6. Brett joined in. I said "hello" & kept on running. 65 min goal was going to be tough.

Mile 7. Wind still alive & kicking. Picking up pace, going for negitive split.

Mile 8. Brett let us battle it out with the wind, concrete and other runners. Kevin kept me motivated by saying, " you see that girl/guy in blue/gray shirt? We are going to get them. And get them we did. We started picking up the pace. Took down a few women & a few men. Some started to walk. I was still running.

Mile 9. No water stop, picked up my pace, Kevin told me to sprint & not to let the women behind get me. I could hear the crowd in the stadium. Cheering. Yelling. Screaming. I could smell (yes smell) the finish line. Running down in the cave of  Solider Field. Dark. Concrete almost over. I could see the finish line & clock. Had to round a corner as I entered the field onto the track. I didn't  look behind me, but I could FEEL that women right on my tail. I sprinted towards the clock. Every second counts!! Crossed the line. Time: 1:12:58. Not my goal of 65min, but good job none the less.

Here are the stats of my performance!

Age group #30/1000

Overall #488/10k

Top 3% for women

Top 6% overall

Pace 7:18

Race done! Glad to be done with the concrete. Happy with time, PR'd by 4min. Chicago you haven't seen the last of me. I will be back. 10miles, a girl, a goal, a run well done!

Photo by Robert R Gigliotti

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