race recap: four stars four-mile trail run

CHICAGO — Whelp, it’s a little hotter than I expected.

me, matt & becky at the finish line (after we had a chance to grab beers, of course).
me, matt & becky at the finish line (after we had a chance to grab beers, of course).

That’s what I kept thinking during the 4-mile trail run out in Libertyville Saturday morning.

It wasn’t even that hot, but after a week of cool, seemingly humidity-free air in the city, the blazing sun and mild moisture made things feel a little more difficult than necessary. After 1.5 miles, I started to argue with myself:

Did I go out too hard? Should I back off? What’s my pace? I could probably go faster — but would I be able to hang on?

Oh, shut up, just run. 

That’s pretty much how the remaining 2.5 miles went. Near the turnaround, a guy on his way back was counting out the standings, and as he passed me, he said “Number 8 female!”

Eighth? Well, that’s pretty exciting. I just have to hold onto that for another 2 miles.

But the heat.

And the tired.

There’s sweat in my eyes.

Why didn’t I wear a hat? I ALWAYS WEAR A HAT. Idiot.

I let the silly heat get in my head, and I had some trouble beating it out. Running on grass doesn’t help, because it feels like running over a heated floor, and then there was the sledding hill I had to run up and down at the very end of the race. My right shoe came untied at around the halfway point, too, but even with all that, I had a great race.


I finished in 34:14 (8:33/mile pace) to get 34th out of 194 finishers. Surprisingly, no women passed me after the first mile(ish), which is pretty remarkable in my race history, and I took 7th of 104 women. This was really cool: A woman won the race overall. She cruised way ahead of the initial male leaders early on — in short, she’s a badass, and I want to be her.

delish: a vegetarian dog courtesy of chubby weiners & beer from finch's brewery.
delish: a vegetarian dog courtesy of chubby weiners & beer from finch’s brewery.

lessons learned: If your mind is telling you annoying things, try harder to get it to shut up. Look more closely at the weather report. Bring the damn hat — it’s dumb to try new things on race day, even if they’re as small as not wearing a hat.

the good stuff: This was my first race with Matt since July, and I’m happy to get back in our once-a-month race pattern. I love people’s reactions when he crosses the finish line ahead of plenty of runners and someone inevitably says, “Did you walk that whole thing?” So fast.

I’m all about enjoying race days with friends and family, so I’m glad my sister-in-law Becky could join us when she planned a last-minute trip to visit to Chicago. I envy her super-smiley race photos, too. (I look pained in mine.)

the best stuff: Chicago-style hot dogs. Local beer. Fun people.

the bottom line: I recommend this race to runners of all abilities, because it’s well-executed and really enjoyable (see: hot dogs, local beer). I’d love to run it again next year.



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