Growing up my long lanky body and fast metabolism made me a natural runner but my lack of disciple and patience made me only good for short distances! In high school I ran the 100 & 200m and enjoyed beating the guys in gym class – I even qualifying for state and placed in the top 20! But gone are those high school days of running track and the only running I do now, is chasing my two kids around daily.
I have always wanted to run a race. Not for speed and to finish first but to challenge myself to do something I thought my body was physically capable of doing.
In my mind this is what I envisioned my race – I was going to be running on a beautiful crisp morning along the lakefront, in shorts and a t-shirt. As I run, I would look around and enjoy all the views Chicago has to offer. I would run along to an amazing playlist of music that would motivate me to run faster. I imagined seeing my family at different pit stops with signs and then I would finally see them at the finish line cheering me on! We would have a celebratory brunch downtown and finish off with a much needed nap!
The reality of the race however was much different! The morning of April 9th (race day) I woke up to temperatures barley getting out of the teens (23 degrees when the race actually started) snow everywhere and sheets of ice all over the ground. I bundled up, determined to run this race! I walked 1/2 mile to use a bathroom, stood in what I felt like the longest line ever, then walked another 1/2 mile back to the start line (I guess I considered this my warm up) The lack of organization at the start line resulted in delayed starts and that meant we were standing around like cattle slowly being herded to the front. Finally, I was at the start and with my ear buds in my ears, the race began. All in all, 6.2 miles later I crossed the finish line into a crowd of strangers with no husband or kids in sight. Just like that, my first official race was done and nothing like I imagined. I was left in the cold, holding a metal and wanting to get back into a warm car.
Things don’t always turn out how you plan but make the most of everything that comes your way. In every situation we are given the opportunity to grown and learn it’s up to us what we do with it.
Now here are the details, make sure to read till the end to see what I learned from this race:
True runners have a ton of gear that ranges from great running shoes, dry-fit socks, cold gear clothes, head bands, arm bands for phones, water bottle holders and much more. As I am not a true runner the only item I needed was a good pair of running shoes. Checking the weather and seeing that I would most likely be running in freezing temperatures I made a trip to Dick’s Sporting Goods to get the proper attire for the race. I am so thankful that I invested in the cold gear pants and shirt. They helped to keep me warm in 20 degree weather!! I purchased these Under Armour leggings and Nike Half-Zip Shirt, which will now become a staple of my workout gear because they’re extremely comfortable and durable!
The 10k took place along the lakefront and then through the beautiful Lincoln Park neighborhood. As this was my first run so I didn’t know what to expect but based on the feedback of other runners around me, this apparently was a very poorly organized and the most dangerous race most have ever run. You can never know what nature brings (especially in Chicago where we can experience all 4 seasons in one day) but the race organizers did not take the proper precautions to ensure the runners had a safe course. Nearly every inch of the course was covered in ice and it would be interesting to know the actual amount of falls that occurred.
The Cost & Cause:
Every time I spend money to support a cause I like it to be something that I believe in. This race (Chitown 10K) was sponsored by all community events and was supporting the Special Olympics, so I was happy that my money was going towards a good cause. The cost of participating in the race was $55 (plus $10 for them to mail you the packet for those of us that didn’t want to drive into the city to pick it up). If you’re starting off running then you can expect to pay around $90-150 for a good pair of running shoes.
Training for the race:
There are plenty of training programs online to help you get ready for different races but what I found that worked best for me was the app called “10K” it was broken up into 14 weeks of training with 3 days of running a week. It provided a warm up and cool down. Unfortunately, from the day I signed up for the race to the actual run was about 3 weeks so I put a lot of strain on my muscles to try to get them into running shape. Let me tell you this is not ideal and I would not recommend this to anyone. 3 weeks is simply not enough time to properly train. Warm up and cool down are important as well as stretching before AND after the run is complete.
My family & friends:
My husband was so supportive of me participating in the 10k and always motivating and helping with the kids at home so that I could get out to the gym in the evenings for my runs. He had even thought of making signs for me knowing how much I would appreciate them. Unfortunately, because of the freezing weather I had called him in the morning and told him to stay in with the kids until I had finished and that I would just meet them afterwards in a warm car. I was greeted with lots of hugs and kisses! I had an outpouring of love from lots of friends and even a few who would like to join me on the next one!
Final thoughts as I raced:
The Bible compares our life to a race. As I was running so many thoughts came across my mind and it was really refreshing to just have some time alone to think and take in my surroundings. What I couldn’t erase from my mind was that we are all in this race of life. Some of us, like the runners around me are motivated to finish first. They bought all the right gear and are disciplined in training yet they are just as likely as a newbie to slip and fall down! Most get back up and finish the race strong but some fall, refuse to get up and never finish the race.
Things bring me back to the word and what it teaches us in the books of Corinthians & Timothy.
Reading this, how many of us have lost the discipline to read God’s word? Or to pray to him and thank him for all that’s he’s done and continues to do for us? How many of us “slip” on this race of life and choose not to get up but sit by and watch as others run past us? Today is a new day and today is the day you can get up and run your race. Encourage those “runners” around you and when you see someone down, be the hand that reaches down to pick them up!