I’ve finally been running long enough that I’m repeating races!
My very first race last year was the Elgin Fox Trot, and I treasure the experience. This year, it was nearly an afterthought. I had registered plenty early, but then got busy with school and the crazy two half marathons. Suddenly, it was the end of May, even if it didn’t feel like it.
It was such a cool spring, too, that I didn’t have a single run under my belt where it was over 70 degrees. But the night before the Fox Trot, after a day of heavy storms, the temperature began to rise, trapping the humidity.
By the time I left for the race, at 7 AM, it was nearly 80 degrees with 93% humidity. I slathered on the sunscreen, grabbed my sunglasses (as my friend Brady learned, you can burn your eyes!) and set off.
I love having a race so close to home that I can walk to the start line, though it does complicate things a bit. I had to wear my annoying belt that bounces as I run, even though it had only my phone, ID, housekey and a few dollars inside.
The race was hot and sticky, and I quickly realized how unprepared I am for hot weather running. Of course, I started too quickly – damn adrenaline – and ran the first half mile at about an 8:00 pace, effectively cooking my lungs as we ran up the Chicago Street hill. By the time we turned onto the shady residential section of the course, I was thankful for the water station at mile 1. And again for the Near West Neighbors-sponsored station at mile 2.
I ran the entire thing, save for grabbing water, but it was not an easy run. My legs felt strong, but my lungs fought me as my allergies flared up. The last mile along Douglas Avenue – a slow, gradual downhill grade mostly shaded by grand, old trees – should have been easy, but the strong breeze was blowing southerly hot air straight at us.
So I finished just slightly worse than last year’s time. But I’m pleased, given the day and my preparation. I had a blast. Hanging out with friends afterwards, it was downright pleasant sipping beer in the shade.
Too soon, I had to head home, grabbing an iced latte from Domani on the way, ready to face the Statistics exam that had been at the back of my mind all day. After a shower and lunch, I settled in for a long, frustrating afternoon, staring wistfully outside at the sunshine. When I finally finished (or rather, realized that staring at it longer wouldn’t help), I did get back outside, but only to mow the lawn.
It’s amazing how productive you feel on a day that starts with a race.