Thanks to work being crazy, I am WAAAAY behind on life, so writing race recaps just hasn’t happened. BUT these are my favorite kind of posts so better late than never?!
As I have mentioned before, I am treating this spring as a time to work on speed in shorter distances and capping off the “season” with a half marathon in May. One of the races that Coach put on my schedule to test how my speed was coming along was the Emerald Isle Mile.
Yep…a one mile race. I have always wanted to do this so I was excited and curious to see how I could do. I have only time-trialed the mile 2 times – both on the track. The first time I ran a 6:15 and the second time, I squeaked in with a 5:59. Ultimately my goal was to go sub-6 and to hopefully beat my previous time trial.
The race was on a Sunday morning during one of the early March spring-tease weeks. It was sunny and creeping from mid-40’s up to low-50’s. Perfect weather. I met Coach and Chanthana in the West Loop to ride to the race, which was on the South Side in the Beverly neighborhood. With no traffic, we got there really quickly and had plenty of time to sit in the car and chat about all things running.
Eventually it was time to warm-up so we jogged the length of the course out and back and added some on around the neighborhood. We spent most of the time dodging the Southsiders who were already setting up their chairs for the Irish parade that would follow shortly after the race. We also noticed that there was a nice little tail-wind, but that the course definitely was not completely flat. Keep in mind, this IS Chicago, so we aren’t talking massive hills…but there was a decline in the first 400 m and a slight incline for about the last 800 m.
After some drills and strides, it was time to line up. There were about 200 people in the race, so we inched up to the very front and waited a few minutes while the race director and timing people fixed a glitch in the timing system. Luckily it was warm-ish, because standing for an extra 10 minutes before running as fast as you can is not ideal. The anticipation was kiiiiiillling me. I knew it was going to be a painful 6ish minutes and I really just wanted to get it over with! Finally, the horn blew and we took off.
Two girls took off really quickly and because they started so fast, I felt like I wasn’t running fast enough (I didn’t wear a watch) so tried to push more. I noticed within the first 400 m that it got HARD. Which made sense when I passed the 1/2 mile point and the announcer called out 2:49…2:50. Shit! I started WAY too fast. I just tried to keep the pace as fast as I could and hoped I could hold on.
Thankfully, as much as I was hurting, I had a distraction because shortly after the 1/2 way point, I caught one of the girls. I held back behind her for a few steps then tried my best to make a convincing pass.
I thought I had dropped her but in the last 300 m or so, she passed me back. I was hurting so bad…my lungs felt like they might explode, but I could see the finish and it seemed so close, so I pushed and passed her again.
With about 100 m to go….
Then as this picture sequence from Chanthana shows, she was catching back up…
…And she passed me back in the last 10 meters. I felt like I was DYING…my limbs felt tingly and numb and my heart rate was maxed out. I pushed as hard as I could when she came up, but in the last couple of meters my legs were jello and I felt them buckling underneath me as I tried to give more.
We crossed right at 5:55-5:56 and official results show she just baaaarely edged me out.
Being out-kicked is never a good feeling, but I was grateful to have the extra push. I definitely wouldn’t have had the guts to push as hard without that. (but…#crossfit)
I felt like I could collapse as I stopped running. I don’t remember the last time I pushed my body that hard. My chest felt like someone was pulling at it from every direction.
Coach and I both ended with 3rd place overall and first in our age groups. For some reason they cancelled the awards ceremony, so we headed back to the city and I hopped on a plane to the UK that evening! And I was plagued by track hack for the next 2 days!
Overall I am happy with the time. I think if I paced it better, I probably could have run a few seconds faster, but without any experience or a time gauge, I had no idea what the pace would feel like. But I would definitely like to do it again sometime!