Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Run For The Zoo 10k as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review and write race reviews!
If you follow the blog, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been on a tear with races, and that’s not really slowing down with Relay Iowa only two days (!!!!) away. But this past weekend I pulled double duty with races on both Saturday and Sunday. So we’ve got a lot to cover in this post!
First up was the Humboldt Mile. When thinking about it, I realized that I don’t think I’ve raced a Mile since freshman year of high school. It was time to change that, and see what type of time I could lay down in a road mile race.
My PR in the mile is a 4:59 on the track, and on my own. I was curious to see what would happen with competition, and what kind of fitness I was in, purely in relation to speed. My hope was to be somewhere in the low 5s or 4:5x ballpark.
The race plan was simple, if not stupid. Go out with the leaders and see what happens. I did, and came through the .25 mark in a blistering 70s, which is 4:40 pace. Not smart. Oh, and I was still a few meters back of the lead pack. From there, I was in the pain cave, as any runner who starts a race too fast is. I faded, faded, faded to a 5:24 official time.
I wasn’t thrilled with the time, but I was with the effort. Sometimes to go big, you have to swing for the fences. Didn’t quite make it happen, but I’m glad I gave it a shot.
The next day was a return to the city for the Run For The Zoo. Being a distance junkie, I naturally picked the 10k over the 5k option. Also, this allowed me to get to Lincoln Park a little later since the 10k started 45 minutes after the 5k (not the reason I picked it…I swear).
Unfortunately, this meant that all of the nearby parking was already taken up. And so the hunt for parking began. Before long, I found myself driving away from Lincoln Park and into Lakeview East.
As a suburb person, I actively try to avoid driving in and around Chicago at all costs. However, I’ve found myself in the Lakeview East, Lincoln Park, and Wicker Park areas a few times, because it’s apparently where all the women I match with on Bumble live. This also meant that I knew where a lot of the street parking areas in those neighborhoods are. Because if you’re gonna spend too much money (dating is expensive in Chicago y’all) on food and drinks, you might as well at least save on parking. Right?
Once I parked and got over to the race, I saw the 5k start, and had some time to kill before we loaded into the corral to run.
Now, I absolutely love the 10k distance. It’s the one I’ve figured out how to run, and run fairly well. I knew this day was not a PR day, nor was an attempt in the cards. But a comfortably hard effort seemed like a plan. Knowing this, I lined up a little further back, and planned to pick off runners who got out too fast (one of my favorite parts of the 10k).
I wish I could tell you all I was running even splits in the race, but I honestly didn’t. I ran by feel, and eased off the gas when I needed to. But quickly after the first mile, I began the process of picking off fatiguing runners in front of me. It also helped a little that I had run a majority of the Lakefront trail and paths in this area (thanks again, Bumble dates) so I had some familiarity with it.
Just before the turnaround at Mile 4, I saw the leaders headed back the other way. Dudes were flying, and about .75 ahead of where I was. At Mile 5 I passed a dude to put him into the pain cave, and set my sights on the lead female, who I had been gaining ground on.
In the last mile, we ran across a very slick boardwalk, but coming off, I was able to catch and make the pass. My moment of glory was short lived, though, and she unleashed a furious kick that I neither could, nor wanted, to match. Basically, I too had entered the pain cave for the second straight day.
Overall, I was thrilled with how the Run For The Zoo went. Even splits, a good time, and my first real confidence booster post being sick.
I would definitely recommend Run For The Zoo as a fun race to do for anyone looking for a shorter distance race in the City. Since the 5k starts early, next year I might return for the double. Run the 5k, come back to the start, and hit the 10k. I’ve done it at Midnight Madness, and it’s a blast, so I’d love to see the race incorporate that as a challenge at Run For The Zoo.
And now I get to turn my gaze toward one of the best running weekends of the year: Relay Iowa!