Just like last week, another 4am wake up. Actually I was up on my own at 3:45. I’ll make a great senior citizen. Temp was already 68 degrees despite a forecast in the mid 50’s. I changed to hot weather attire and got on my way. Just like last week, the rain began as soon as I pulled out of my driveway.
Goal A: Sub 2. Pie in the sky with the way I’ve been running lately but I won’t rule it out.
Goal B: Beat last week’s 2:05.
Goal C: Do not give up mentally. Stay engaged, no walking unless you’ve broken something.
It was drizzly as we made our way to the start line on a bike path along the lake. After I checked my gear (and my arm sleeves) a cold front blew up and temps dropped. I found a spot out of the wind and found some fellow runners to chat with.
It was overcast but south where we were heading was ominously dark. The race director announced he hoped the storm would blow out over the lake before we got that far south. Right.
I lined up, flanked by two women in the cutest ever Lulu capris–both had tiny ruffles in the calf area. Sounds not cute but definitely was. We were off with copious amounts of bobbing and weaving. Apparently I missed the Lululemon memo because I swear almost every female was wearing some. I tried to settle into some kind of pace and enjoy the fashion show.
According to my Garmin, which I still haven’t bothered to read the directions and fully figure out, I was running, 9:16-9:20-ish yet I felt like I was working harder than that. The 3-mile course clock read 25 something: my suspicions were correct.
Drizzle started at mile 2, full on rain by mile 4. This race is done on half of an open bike path. Maneuvering around oncoming bikers was no picnic and I’m sure the feeling was mutual. I can only imagine the bedlam if the weather had been nicer.
Cue lightning and thunder at mile 5. I seriously considered turning back and wondered if they’d ever call a race due to conditions or if the waiver we signed took care of that? A whippet-fast looking woman clad in ninja black Lulu was pulled over to the side stretching.
I came upon an abandoned gel table just short of mile 6 with just a small pyramid left of Razz Clif Shots. Can’t really blame the volunteers for getting the #%&* out of Dodge. I took two, mainly to insulate my phone in my fuel belt from the rain.
I hit the 10k mark in 53 something. Really?
It was a full-blown thunderstorm now and when we made the turnaround the wind was in our face. 7 miles of this. Good grief. Rain lashed so hard each drop stung. Yet there was nowhere to go but back the way we came, hard into the wind. I found ninja Lulu lady stretching again.
I was soaked to the bone, feet sloshing, puddles/mud everywhere. I didn’t bother to look at my pace, I’m sure it was pathetic and my effort in the first half would be wasted. But I promised myself I’d not come mentally unhinged and moved on. With lightning bolts hot on my tail what choice did I have?
I tried to go to my happy place and notice the sights of Chicago as we passed: Museums, McCormick Place, Shedd Aquarium, Soldier Field, Navy Pier. Then I tried to be grateful: it wasn’t hot, I remembered my fuel, I did not wear new shoes, my hammy was cooperating. But as rain poured off my visor I couldn’t keep from searching the skyline for the Aqua building where my car was parked. I came upon the stretching Lulu ninja a third and final time.
The last few miles were brutally ridiculous. I was so over fighting the wind and rain. Finally we turned off the path, wove through some back alleys and voodoo underpasses before emerging in the park for the finish. The most spectacular barbecue aroma hung in the air. I slogged in and got a dripping wet finisher’s medal.
Gear check line was out of control. Waiting in pouring rain didn’t help.
There was an after-race picnic that I’m sure would have been lovely on a better day. But by the time I got my stuff all I could think about was getting my chattering self to the parking garage, into dry clothes and on my way home.
Finish time 2:04.
Although I’m not typically a fan of bike path races, under more favorable weather conditions, this would be a nice race. The tech tee comes in ladies’ cut, the bling is great, race food smelled awesome. But this was yet another character-building race. My finish time does not reflect how flipping hard I worked. When conditions are challenging it becomes more a test of will than anything else. It would have been very easy to give in to the wind and rain. But I’m way too stubborn for that.