For those of you that do not know the Soldier Field 10 is a race that occurs every Saturday of Memorial Day weekend that ends on the 50-yard line of Soldier Field. As I was getting ready for the race I was trying to remember exactly how many I have participated in. The first year I registered I actually did not run. I attended as a participant and it was a cold wet day, I was so disappointed in myself for registering for the race and not training enough to participate. Needless to say, that was the first and last time I have done that. In looking at my medals it appears I have run this race for 7 consecutive years. You can say it has become sort of a tradition for me. I have even run the event when I was heading off to a family vacation in Walt Disney World later in the day and one year I had to rush to a family member’s wedding. I will never forget that race because it was my PR and of course I got to brag that I danced in heels all night after running 10 miles. My legs and feet were killing me the next morning.
Over the years, the race has grown and some things have changed but the race organizers have adapted well. This race always ends on the 50-yard line but this year we started there also. Corrals were moved inside the stadium and gear check was moved outside. All spectators had to go through metal detectors. Oh yeah, forget to mention that your friends and family can watch you cross the 50 in person and on the jumbotron which is pretty neat. I am not sure if the new changes have been put into place after recent events or because of the state of our world but I definitely understand if this is the case. The race always starts with a great program honoring the men and women that have allowed us to live in a free nation. A list is read of the soldiers that have made the greatest sacrifice to our country in the last year. After the Star-Spangled Banner, which always gives me goose bumps, is sung we are ready to start the race. If you are not pumped up by now you never will be. The race has grown large enough that Lake Shore Drive is closed and for the majority of the first five miles you have ample room running on the Drive. The turn back to the stadium winds down the lakeshore path which can get hectic but for the most part the crowd has thinned and people are well into running their pace. I may be partial, but I think the Chicago lake path is one of the best places to run. You have the blue water and great Chicago Skyline to look at. As you get closer to the Stadium there are people cheering and you start to hear music inspiring you to finish the last half mile. I definitely need to mention the medal. This race was one of the first in Chicago to start giving out medals. The medals each year are always large, of good quality, and a great design. Again, this year they did not disappoint.
How did I do you ask? Just fine. No PR this year but I was not expecting one. I ran with my sister the entire race and we were able to chit chat the whole time. I even stopped a few times to take pictures of the skyline because it was a beautiful day. It was great to just enjoy the run. My sister had her routine vomit the third year in a row. This year she decided to do so prior to entering the tunnel into the stadium so the medical staff did not stop her as in previous years. My brother in-law now thinks it is a mental thing for her. My family definitely likes to stick with tradition!
I cannot think of a better way to start the holiday weekend. I hope you too were able to enjoy some time with family and friends while honoring the those who have enabled us to continue our freedoms.