This was, without a doubt, one of the most amazing and unexpected races of my life! First female overall. Breaking the tape. I never thought, in my wildest dreams, that I would win.
I signed up for the Wrigley River Run because one of my awesome running pals, Cong, told me about it a few months ago. I was very excited to find out that quite a few of my GRVL Runners were signing up too. With my lack of conscious training since the OC Half Marathon, I was really just looking to have a good time - and I think this mentality has really worked for me, because I've had it for my last 3 races including my marathon, and I did much better than expected. I highly recommend the "no pressure" approach!
I picked my bib up in the parking lot that functioned as the expo on Friday after work. They had a $5 pizza pig out, and while it looked delicious, I never do well with bottomless, endless, buffets the night before a race. I resorted to my usual chicken, rice, broccoli plate of boringness.
The 10K was the first race up at 7:30. We got there at 7:10, parked, and had just enough time to run to the restroom in the Albertsons before making it up to the start. I found my GRVL Runners rocking our t-shirts and we all made it up to the start line wishing each other good luck.
I went to the front - very ambitious, but it was a small race and I was hoping to get out of the pack in the beginning because there was a sharp turn about a quarter mile into the race. Once we got around the turn, there were only 3 men in front of me. I looked at my pace and saw it was 5:30. I knew I was going too fast, but I wanted the race to be over with. My belly started feeling very uneasy and I was regretting signing up for the 10K and wished I had just done the 5K.
We started to weave through the neighborhood and make our way to the riverbed. I kept waiting for more people to start passing me, and slowly a few other men came and went. I was wondering where all the ladies were at, especially when my pace started to go back up to 6:30. But, only a few other men passed - I looked back at every turn to see if there were any women closing in, and I realized I could win it.
We got off the riverbed just after mile 4, making our way back through the neighborhood. I could feel my legs slowly starting to die. No one had passed me for a while, so I just tried to maintain a 6:55 - 7:05 pace.
Finally, we made our way back to where we started and as I came around the corner, I saw the finish line. It felt like a dream - as if I wasn't sure whether another woman had passed me or not. As I approached, I saw the finish line tape, threw my arms in the air and broke through it. And then I bent over trying to catch my breath and not die. I walked over to a trash can after grabbing my medal and threw up the little bit of water in my belly.
I then decided to stop my watch. Total bummer and I frequently do that after a race. I clocked in at 42:22. Broke my last PR by more than 30 seconds. I waited at the finish for all of the GRVL Runners to come through. Everyone did an awesome job and Robert, the club's creator, did the 5K as soon as he finished the 10K!
I stuck around for the awards ceremony and the only real bummer was that they announced the male winner (who also obviously won the entire race), but they just went into age group winners after that. Ricky had to ask them if they were going to announce the female overall winner. It was a bit of a let down, but I was still so excited that I actually won because it was so unexpected. My first race at 30, in a new age group, and I win it. Crazy. 30 is good.