Wednesday, May 27, 2015

soldier field 10 mile recap

Disclaimer: I received a free entry into Soldier Field 10 Mile to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find, and write race reviews!

Pre-Race Shot taken inside the stadium.

I raced Fleet Feet Sports Soldier Field 10 Mile in 2014 as a last minute decision. I believe I registered the week of the race, and boy was I glad I did. Not only was the SWAG awesome, runners had the chance to actually RUN on Soldier Field and Finish on the 50 yard line. You can read about my experience here.

When I was given the opportunity to race this year through the BibRave Ambassador program, I was STOKED. I was planning on registering again, so it made it all the better.


Finisher Medal.

They had multiple days for packet pick-up, including new for 2015 locations in the suburbs (Deerfield, Naperville, and Oak Park), and then Fleet Feet Old Town from Tuesday–Friday 10am–8pm.

I went to Old Town on Thursday around 11am. I parked in the Piper Alley parking garage, and Fleet Feet validated for me, so it was free. I love that they have the bib pickup in the lobby area of the building, then have you to through the back of the store to grab your shirt. It wasn't crowded when I went, but I imagine it really helped cut back congestion when it was (the packet pickup I did the week before had bibs and shirts in the back of the store, and I felt a bit claustrophobic when I was there during a Saturday morning).

Another great thing is that they allow friends and family to pick up packets for you. Pro Angie and her husband Josh weren't going to be able to make it to pickup on time Friday night, so I was able to pickup for them. All I needed was their bib confirmation email and a 'note' stating that they were giving me permission. There was also the option for Race Day Will-Call Packet Pickup, which was $15.

Communication prior to the event was great. Plenty of emails (but not annoyingly so) with the details of the race, packet pickup, tailgate party, parking, etc were included, so it made everything easier.

SF10 was held on Saturday, May 23. We really lucked out with some gorgeous spring/summer weather and mostly sunny skies (though I will admit I prefer more clouds and a bit cooler haha). It was on the mid-50s to start, and I think got up to the low- to mid-70s by the time the post-race party finished around 11:30.

Parking was free and was supposed to be available at the South Lot, Waldren Deck and the North Lot. However, when I got there around 5:55, they had the exit ramp to the South Lot/Waldren closed. I was a bit cramped for time, as I was supposed to meet the BibRave gang around 6/6:15 for photos and to give Angie and Josh their bibs. So that was a little annoying, plus I prefer to park on the South end, buuuuut parking was free, so I'm not going to complain that much. I finally met up with them at about 6:30ish. Luckily, it was still enough time to chat a little, and Josh made it into his corral (2) on time before they closed it off (6:45).

The BibRave Gang! So great to see you all (most)!
Photo courtesy of Angie.

There was gear check, but I didn't need to utilize this. I do know that you had to use the clear bag given at packet pickup for gear check, though. I did love that the bathrooms inside were open for use. No port potty, and no line!

Clearly marked corrals with countdown till closing clocks.

There were 4 different corral colors - Purple, Blue, Orange, and Green - for 16 different waves. The Purple and Blue closed at 6:45, Orange at 7:15, and 7:30 for the Green. Mom and I were in the second to last wave - 15.

My KT Taped and wrapped knee, Zensah sleeves and
Mizuno Wave Rider 18!

I had a leg injury which prevented me from doing my best, but I was able to hang with my mom the whole race, which is always fun. She was nice enough to slow down for me.

My view waiting in my corral.

At the start line.

There were plenty of aid stations on course, a total of 5, which were stocked with both Gatorade and Water - each in different cups. Gatorade was first, water was second. All of the volunteers with energetic and polite. I was with the back of the pack gang, and the aid stations were still well manned and none were broken down or lacking in either refreshment. 

The race is a bit congested at the beginning, as you are running on smaller streets, until you go under McCormick Place and onto Lake Shore Drive where it widens and the crowd can spread out. Headed south isn't the most exciting route, but there was some entertainment (school marching band) and a DJ at the turnaround at about mile 5.5.

The course narrows again when you get on the lakefront path going north to Soldier Field, but generally I didn't have any problems with getting around people when I needed to.

Great view of the Chicago skyline!

We passed the cutest older man running the race around mile 6, and thankfully was able to watch him go towards the finish while I was in the tail-gate party. He was inspiring.

It's a great view going north with the skyline, lake, and then after while passing McCormick Place, Soldier Field comes back into view. The last .5 mile of the race is the best. There are people cheering for you, your name gets called, and then you run into the underbelly of the stadium... just a little more... and you are ON THE FIELD, with a finish on the 50 yard line. It is very exciting to be out there, in my opinion.

I also used the Motigo App while running, and got 2 cheers, which always gives me more kick in my step. If you don't know what it is, look into it, and come back here for a review in the next few days :)

Active military men and women are handing out the medals and bottles of water. Obviously had to thank them all for their service. It's an honor to get a medal placed on me by an active military member. Then I heard from behind 'Hey, BibRave - are we getting good review?' and I turn around to see a man walking towards me. After having running brain, I completely missed asking for his name, but I let him know I thought it was a great race again this year. It is extremely well organized and executed nearly to perfection. I loved this race in 2014, and I loved it again in 2015. Yes, the free entry was great, but it doesn't sway my opinion. I would have raced this year even if I had to pay, that's how much I enjoy it. He also mentioned that I needed more sunscreen during the race... yep, I got sunburn! Story of my pale-skinned life.

After finishing.

After a few quick photos mom and I walked off the field, got a cup of Gatorade, and made our way outside where we received the Refresh bag - - an awesome perk for the race. Inside was a banana, fruit snacks, pretzels, Skinny Pop popcorn, a Clif bar (trail mix), and Lemonheads. They give you some of the best (and higher quantity) snacks post race.

I headed on over to the icing station and got my leg wrapped with ice. The guy who wrapped my leg was very nice, and did a great job getting the ice to stay on my leg (they use saran wrap, which works great at keeping it in place, even when I was walking). 

Someone mentioned donuts, and I was so excited thinking they had some.
What a disappointment haha.

On our way to the tailgate party, I grabbed a Dunkin Donuts Iced Coffee sample, and saw there was also bottles of Muscle Milk and samples of Naked juices. I headed for the beer and got the last 312 Urban Wheat. Whoooo! Thank you Fleet Feet, for providing a tastier beer than most other races... and one that is based in Chicago (or at least used to be... I don't think 312 is made here anymore, but plenty of others from GI are).

We finally met up with Josh and Angie to chat and hang out. We cheered on some of the final runners from inside the party (we could see them on course and cheered them on just a bit before turning into the stadium). The great thing about the course is that once you make it to mile 5.5, you're on the LFP, so you are still able to finish if you are a bit slower. I think they allowed finishers who were past the pacing requirement, which I think is lovely.

The Tailgate party had a band, beer, and I think even some food. We sat on the hill and caught up, discussed the race and other races, and then were asked to leave at 11:30 - closing time.

In our rush to get out of the parking lot and meet up with the gang, neither my mom or I paid much attention to where we parked. And so, with Josh and Angie in tow, we went searching. Originally we were on the right level, but somehow missed the car, and tried the other levels. Finally went back to the original level where we found it - oops. I gave Josh and Angie their shirts, and we said our goodbyes - until October!

I will definitely be doing this race again next year! You can read my BibRave review here or all of them here.

Check out Angie's recap here and Kim's here (she's the one I missed seeing pre-race, was so bummed!).

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like you all had a great time, and that the race was well organized. I wish I could've met up with you all :)


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