Saturday, October 31, 2009

Chicago Lakefront 50K Race Report

This morning I had the pleasure of running the Chicago Lakefront 50K. It was a great experience, as the organizers did a fantastic job, the race participants were uniformly friendly, and the course truly unique and beautiful!

The race started at the historic 63rd Street Beach House, then continued north ~5-3/8 miles along Chicago's beautiful running/biking trail that is on park land between Lake Michigan and South Lake Shore Drive. At that point we turned-around, and upon then returning to the Beach House this completed one "loop" - of which there were three to assure the complete 50K distance. Since we switched back on numerous occasions we had plenty of opportunity to see and briefly interact with other competitors, both on the 50K and the 50-mile course. I found all of the runners to be uniformly friendly, which lent itself towards a very pleasant experience.

As regards my performance I'm very happy to report that I ran in 4:38:35 (a 8:58 pace), putting me in 20th place out of 209 finishers (top 10%), and 3rd place in my division. It was also a huge personal record - an improvement of 78-minutes versus my prior best 50K!  While I was obviously very happy with this result, I had run only two prior races of this distance, and both in Huntsville State Park (which presented a far greater technical challenge owing to their narrow dirt trails, hazards and elevation changes.)

As regards my race execution I must note that I'd once again fallen prey to poor performance -  specifically by running the first 10-mile loop far too fast which cost me in the final 21-miles of the course.

Reflecting on the key difference versus my much better executed Chicago Marathon performance (held three weeks prior), I attribute the Chicago Marathon's availability of numerous pacing groups - which take the burden off the runner in holding a consistent pace.

Nevertheless, a great day! I'm certainly glad that I ran the Chicago Lakefront 50K, and recommend the event highly.


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