A Beautiful Day at Soldier Field…And What I Learned

First we were warned of 90-degree temperatures and a yellow alert level. Then we were warned of possible thunderstorms. However, we were blessed with neither for today’s Soldier Field 10, and instead had pretty much the ideal race weather.

Storm Clouds Just North of the Field

The race was a lot of fun, and finishing on the 50 yard line was incredible. It was so thrilling to run out through the tunnel to see the green field, crowds in the stands, and even runners on the Jumbotron. And, yes, I was moved to tears during all this. (Those who know me won’t be surprised by that.)

All in all, it was a wonderful race day.

However, this was also the first time my BF ran a race longer than a 5k, and I was a little worried how it would work out for us. I run most of my training runs and the majority of my races solo. And of the few races I have run with other people, I almost never finish with the person I start with.

We talked about it beforehand, and he wanted to try to stay with me because I keep him from starting out too fast, and he swore I wouldn’t slow him down. But, he’s also been dealing with knee problems for the past few weeks, and he said that if he started holding me back, I should keep on going.

Around mile 4, his knee started bothering him, so he had to stop to walk. Since I sort of had to use the bathroom anyway, I took the opportunity to run ahead and get in line for the bathrooms, and then catch back up with him.

We continued on until mile 6 when he really fell behind. I was in a groove so I kept going, but then I felt bad. I still wanted to make sure he finished, so I decided to wait and find him again. (Of course, he was one of the thousands wearing his neon-puke shirt, which made finding him a rather difficult task.)

We managed to go a bit farther together, but I started to realize that we were both getting frustrated. I was a little annoyed that I wouldn’t meet my current 10-miler average. And I could tell that he had the same look on his face that I did during my horrid Shamrock Shuffle outing.  That was when my knee was killing me and I knew I couldn’t run the entire thing, but I also knew my friend (the one friend I CAN run with) was really in her groove. When she finally went ahead without me, I actually felt better, because I knew we were both a little relieved.

Learning from being on the other side of the situation, I knew it would be better for both of us if I just went ahead. I  knew he could make it the remaining three miles somehow, and I didn’t doubt he would finish.

So, off I went, and finally fell back into a great pace.

I finished alone, and it was okay. I’m used to being a solo runner, and there is something so liberating about running your own race – especially when you’re running onto Soldier Field and want to just take it all in. BF finished less than 10 minutes after me, but unfortunately, I didn’t get to see him cross. That’s the only thing I feel bad about.

My Solo Finish on the Field

He says he’s retiring from running, but I’ll give him some time to recover. I know I can get him to at least do another 5K and I think there’s a slight chance he might even be talked into the 10th annual Soldier Field 10. He knows he wasn’t able to do his best today, and I think he will want to prove that he can do better. (I know he can!)

Showing off our medals after we reunited.

As for me, I LOVED this race, and I hope it also served as a good enough training run for my upcoming 13.1.

 

10 thoughts on “A Beautiful Day at Soldier Field…And What I Learned

  1. Congratulations! This looks like such an awesome run!! I really wanted to run it but I’m not really up to that mileage yet!! Maybe next year though!! Would you suggest it?

    • I would absolutely recommend this race. The 10 mile distance is my favorite in general, but finishing on the field makes it so much more special than other races.

      Plus, I expect next year’s 10th anniversary run will have some extra surprises.

  2. The medal is so neat! Great job on the race!

    It was nice of you to stick with your bf. It’s hard to run a race with someone who is not at your fitness level – whether they are better trained or less trained. I have been in that situation a few times with my husband, and in both situations… It’s really hard to be at the same fitness level as anyone, even if you train together. Sometimes the other person just has a better day than you!

    • It IS hard. That’s why I like to run alone.

      I felt like I owed it to him for his first long race to at least get him most of the way through it. Plus, in our 5Ks, he slows down to stay with me, and then lets me cross the finish a few seconds ahead of him. :)

  3. My husband prefers to run alone, so he very rarely signs up for races, but when we do race together, we always run our own races. So far we’ve only finished one race together, and it wasn’t intentional. He actually took off and I ended up catching up to him in the last mile and I think we pushed each other to run faster toward the finish. We did get a great finish shot, which is the only race photo I’ve ever purchased (especially because I beat him by one or two seconds).

    • Aw. I bet that photo is really great.

      The one photo we have together from a race was from the Bunny Rock. (I didn’t buy it.) I just remember yelling at him, “Put your ears back on! There’s gonna be a photo!”

      He didn’t like me very much at the end of that race. :)

  4. I hope that I can be running that far by next year! It looks like so much fun. I want to get up to a 10K by the end of this year and keep on trucking to get to 10 miles by next summer.

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