Any race that finishes in a stadium appeals to the sports fan in me. When I learned about a race finishing on the 50 yard line of Soldier Field, I was in! Especially now being fairly close to Chicago (plus it would allow me to knock another state off my list). The only wrinkle was the date of the race – I already had tentative plans for the BolderBoulder in Denver. But then I looked at the dates closely – Soldier Field on Saturday and BolderBoulder on Monday. That is definitely do-able, right?
I flew up to Chicago Friday night (after a 20 min delay on the runway before taking off – little did I know this would be fairly indicative of the whole trip – no travel magic). I arrived at my hotel and tried to immediately fall asleep.
Saturday morning dawned bright and early. Going into this, I decided that I needed my outfit incorporate Seahawk colors. But not too over the top Seahawks, as I was heading into Chicago Bear territory!
I knew my hotel was maybe a mile-ish from the start line. I debated taking a taxi versus walking over and settled on walking over as it was a beautiful morning and I knew I could treat it as a warm up.
I arrived at Soldier Field and headed to Will Call – one of the nice features of this race, you could sign up for morning of packet pick-up, very helpful for out-of-towners, like myself. I ventured into the stadium to use the real bathrooms and see the set up of the finish line.
It was around this time that I realized I had forgotten my carefully laid out visor back at the hotel room. And then sun was definitely making its presence known. I looked around briefly to see if a vendor was selling any sort of hat / visor but without much luck. I could also be that I looked really quickly as I was feeling the need to get to my corral.
We lined up outside Soldier Field. The corrals got progressively more crowded and somehow I found myself at the very front of mine.
And with that, we were off! The course was and out and back with the out being on Lakeshore Drive and the back being on the lake side path. Even on the out, I kept seeing glimpses of beautiful blue water. Growing up with water so accessible, I took it for granted. Until I moved to Houston, where there is not a lot of water and I wouldn’t call the water there blue. But then I moved back to Seattle and was once again able to enjoy views of the gorgeous water. And along came St Louis. There is some water in St Louis, but it isn’t the same.
We turned off Lake Shore Drive onto the lake side path where it got a bit congested. However the water was much closer!
As we got closer to the stadium, the views of the city came into focus.
As I neared one of the hills, I heard someone comment about how it was going to suck. While I could have let that comment psyche me out, instead I used that as motivation to get me up the hill, which I did without stopping!
The heat continued to beat down, but I kept up my intervals. Going into this, I came up with 2:05 as my A goal and 2:10 as my B goal. I knew 2:05 was going to be stretch, especially as the sun continued to rise higher in the sky.
I hit mile 9 and felt a sense of relief I only had 1 more mile. The stadium came into view as an announcer came on telling us we were a half mile out. I decided that I could run the remaining half mile without a walk break. Which almost happened, but then I lost momentum right before the stadium entrance. But I gathered myself up, and started running again. Into the stadium. Onto the field. And across the finish line!!
So, you may be asking yourself, did she hit goal A or goal B? I’m happy to say I made goal B with a time of 2:08.53.
I got my picture with members of the ROTC, got my goody bag and walked back towards my hotel. I had a plane to catch after all!
Stay tuned for the next installment of my Memorial Day travels.