It seems a little odd, in a way, to run a race as a planned part of the taper into the Chicago Marathon, but it worked out today. This race was set up as a fund raiser for a local senior center, had a good bit of advertising, was run on the same route I use for all my long runs, was 8 minutes from my house and, hey, I needed to pick up some special drafting instruments at a store next door to the start. Enough of a reason, right??
I suspect the sponsors were disappointed. Despite their publicity efforts, only 25 of us ran the 10K; the associated 5K had barely 50. The grey, chill and drizzle probably held down the walk-up registration, as did another 5K race in town at the same time. In a small community, that pretty much divides up the few runners available.
With a marathon in 8 days, I had planned to run this easily, probably at a 9:30/mile pace. I set the Garmin up to monitor such behavior and off we went. Mile one flowed at 9:21, but then it got flat. I tried to hold back, but mile 2 hit 9:07 and mile 3 flowed at 8:46. We then went out to do the 5 K course again and the hill held mile 4 to a 9:15. A long conversation with a guy I know from church held mile 5 to 8:57. However, he then challenged me to catch his father-in-law (who was still in sight) over the last mile or so. Off I went...mile 6 clocked at 8:10 and the final 0.2 was at a 6:48 pace. And I didn't even catch him!
I did get a nice workout though, which I had wanted just to break up the taper madness a bit. So this was not too long of a run, no walking at all, yet a modest level of intensity. Average HR for the race was 141 bpm, which is evidence of some effort but not too much. And have I mentioned how much I enjoy Race Day?? Even a little race like this is fun.
So, it is now one week until John and I join 40,000 of our closest friends in Grant Park in downtown Chicago for a shuffle through the Windy City. The early look at Chicago weather on October 10 is fine, if not perfect; low 50s at the start, heading to the upper 60s by the finish. I'd like it 10 degrees cooler but it's way better than the heat wave they had just a few years ago there. I'll update my status there via Twitter/FB while up there; a blog report will follow.
And did I tell you I signed up for another marathon on November 13? More on that to come.