Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Chicago Mag Mile 10K to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews.
Let’s cut to the chase. This was an awesome race and I loved every minute of it! Though I live in Chicago, I have never run this race. It’s always exciting for me to try new races and especially to explore different areas of my home city on foot. When the opportunity to run arose, I jumped at the chance!
Packet pickup was at the Fleet Feet located in Old Town, which is convenient to my work location. Neighborhood parking was easy to find and the volunteers were so nice! As a special surprise, when I walked into Fleet Feet I saw a very familiar face – known as Miss Strange Fitness on social media, I had just met Shera at the EMPOWER Summer Camp in Watervliet, Michigan in August of this year. Isn’t it funny (and incredible) how social media connects us with so many people we might never have met?
When I first registered for the race, this awesome colorful swag shirt was what was advertised. The race was so popular that they ran out, so later registrants received a similar shirt in black. While the black shirt looked nice, I love the cool colors of the earlier version, so I’m really glad I registered earlier and was able to receive one. The race ultimately sold out, so if you might consider running it next year (and you should!) I would suggest you register early. I arrived at packet pickup shortly after it opened on Day 1 just to be sure I would get the colored shirt, but as it turned out, those who registered early enough had those shirts reserved for them and those who registered later got the black ones.
As always, I was on weather watch in the days before the race. As predicted, the sun was shining and the weather was beautiful. I had a convenient parking spot just a few blocks from the race start, so I didn’t need to get there super early. I arrived about 30 minutes before the start, which was plenty of time. I mulled around a bit, used the porta-potty, and then made my way to the corrals. Security was pretty loose but for the most part, people seemed to seed themselves in the correct corrals. I tried to spot fellow BibRave Pro Amanda in the Elite start corral but I couldn’t find her, so I headed to the back of the bus with my fellow slowpokes.
I had been using a run/walk interval along with Gatorade Endurance during my training, and this race would be the first time I would test them out together. My watch was set for a 2:30 run/0:45 walk interval and although I felt good enough to run longer, I pretty much stuck to that interval and instead ran a little faster than I usually do. The race started and ended in Grant Park near Buckingham Fountain. We headed west toward Michigan Avenue along Ida B. Wells Drive. The pavement was very bumpy and broken up during that first quarter mile or so, but it was smooth sailing once we hit Michigan Avenue. We headed north to Chicago Avenue and then looped around and headed back south along Michigan. We turned east toward the lake on Randolph, and at Columbus the 5K participants headed back toward the finish in Grant Park while the 10K participants headed to the lakefront. From there we looped south along the LakeFront Trail, then looped around at Roosevelt Road back to Randolph, then west to Columbus before making the turn back toward Grant Park.
I slowed down a bit after the first half of the course, and with about a mile and a half to go, I started doing some mental math and wondered if I would make it in time for my goal. I kept plugging along and about a half mile from the finish I didn’t think I would make it, but when I made the final turn I could see the finish line in the distance and I kicked it into gear. While my watch said I finished 6 seconds slower than my goal, my official time was actually 2 seconds under it. Not that 8 seconds makes that big of a difference, but I was thrilled to see I could push myself in the end and finish strong.
Looking at my splits, I ran my first mile a full 2 minutes faster than my usual pace, and then the second and third miles were 1 minute faster than usual. The last three miles were more of my ‘typical’ pace and I was happy not to have slowed down significantly in the end. I credit both the conservative run/walk intervals as well as the Gatorade Endurance for both my faster earlier paces and my endurance at the end of the race. I will definitely continue to tweak my paces as well as my fueling strategies as I continue to train for my longer-distance fall races.
The post-race party included a hearty brunch of eggs, sausage, a bagel, and diced peaches. We had the choice of a Moscow Mule or a beer. I thought I would do something different, so I chose the Moscow Mule and quickly discovered I do not like Moscow Mules! Someone offered me his drink ticket and I got a Revolution Brewing Ghost Ride beer instead, which was a much better option for me. I walked around for a bit and then headed back to my car for the drive home.
I haven’t done a lot of 10K races, and the older I get, the more I like the shorter distances! Running along the Magnificent Mile in Chicago is a fun way to see the city, and of course running along our beautiful lakefront is always a special treat. I like that there are 5K and 10K options available. The 5K route for the race included all of the Mag Mile portion of the 10K distance; just not the LakeFront Trail. The swag, the post-race party, the medal, and the FREE photos make this a race I will return to year after year!
Have you ever run this race? What is your favorite distance? Moscow Mule – yay or nay?
Upcoming races on my calendar include:
September 29: HOKA ONE ONE Chicago Half Marathon (use code BRCHIHALF19 for $10 off the half or $5 off the 5K!)
October 13: Bank of America Chicago Marathon
October 19: Urban Bourbon Half Marathon (use code BourbonRave2019 for 10% off!)
November 3: New York City Marathon
November 16: RnR Las Vegas 5K (use code 19RNRBRP16 for $6 off the 5K/10K distances!)
November 17: RnR Las Vegas Half Marathon (use code 19RNRBRP16 for $16 off the half/full marathon distances!)
March 1, 2020: Tokyo Marathon
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On Sunday, November 3rd, I will be running the New York City Marathon as a charity fundraiser for Team in Training, an organization that helps The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) support cutting-edge research projects in the most promising areas of cancer research. If you’d like to contribute to my fundraising efforts, you can still do so by clicking on the link below. Any donation, big or small, will help and is greatly appreciated!