Sunday, October 31, 2010

Monster Dash 2010 Race Report

The punchline of this post is: this was a fun race that renewed my love of running and races. Hurrah!

From an overall race perspective, I should report some objective findings for the runners out there who may want to run it in future years.

The Good: Lots of enthusiastic runners wearing fun costumes. This makes the race highly entertaining for both runners and spectators. It's a good race for your friends and family to spectate at. Good number of water stations w/ powerade and they had plenty of both. The course was pretty and not super crowded. Well organized finish line w/ appropriate post race food (water, bananas, graham crackers, string cheese). Excellent hoodie for the free shirt!

The Bad: They started a couple minutes early! There were a few problems with the course, likely related to the last minute course change (they had to go North on the lakefront path instead of South as planned, I think because Obama was flying out from the South Side). The bridge at the Chicago River went up right when the elite runner reached that point (about mile 11) so they all had to stop and wait for at least 10 minutes. No joke. Also, they did not stop traffic at lower Lakeshore and Grand so we had to wait for about 12 seconds. ;( And while the mile markers were easy to see, there were no clocks or timing pads ANYWHERE on the course besides the start/finish.

The Ugly: The race was anywhere from 0.25-->0.5 miles TOO LONG! More on this later.

My personal experience:

I loved this race! I had fun! My goal was to get out there, work hard (but not really shoot for a particular time) and enjoy the race. The starting gun went off when I was a good 5-10 minutes from the start which was a bit of a bummer. I even said to my husband “What’s the point of running if I’m so late?” which is RIDICULOUS because the point was to have a good time! And the folks who are fashionably late often have the best times! Duh! Then I crossed the start line without turning my ipod on so, like an idiot, I wasted a good 10 seconds on that.

To the right, I'm running backwards so Adam can get a shot of me with our apartment (the tall skinny white one) in the background;)

Anyway, I started late so I had to sprint 0.5 miles to the start which is not ideal. The goal for this race was to have fun. I was NOT shooting for a time. In fact, starting late was likely a blessing because I didn’t have the chance to “locate satellites” on my Garmin so ended up not using it and gave it to Adam at mile 1.

Sprinting to the start really got my energy up and I blasted through the first 5 miles. I have no idea how fast I was going because no Garmin and no clocks anywhere on the course. But I felt fast- I could even feel it in my legs which usually doesn’t happen until mile 18 in marathons- never in ½’s! I alternated between looking at the costumes and realizing I was really short of breath- mostly the former. The headwind was ROUGH! I listened to Arcade Fire for the first 5 miles.

At mile 5, I switched to Coldplay. Miles 5-8 didn’t feel too bad. We turned around at Belmont and then, thankfully, the wind was finally behind us. Another unplanned benefit of my late start was that I was passing people almost the entire race. Therefore I got to see many costumes- more than I would have if I lined up with my appropriate pace group. So that was fun. Mile 9-10, I started to get tired, but was still holding it together.

At mile, 10 I changed to my Rockford ½ marathon running mix, which is still my favorite mix (probably because it led me to my ½ marathon PR!). It didn’t really help prevent the deep fatigue that was setting in. Mile 10-11 was tolerable. Mile 11-12 was tolerable only because I knew I was almost done. However mile 12-13.1 felt really long. Reeaallly lllooong. And I know the lakefront path pretty darn well and I really thought it was longer than it should be. I would guess by at least 0.25 miles. (Later, I went to the race facebook site and saw multiple comments from folks whose Garmins recorded the race closer to 13.4 or 13.5. One fellow’s Garmin was right on at mile 12 but said 13.43 at the finish.)

At the end of the race I was on Cloud 9. I had so much fun and felt like I pushed myself pretty hard. I was breathless for a lot of the race but kept moving. When I got really tired, I just slowed down a bit and I would naturally speed up again over time. Looking back, I REALLY wish I had my Garmin during the race so I could see my splits post-hoc. But, I don’t so I can’t.

I, of course, dressed up as a bison. It was a great running costume. Not too uncomfortable since I could just remove the hood if I got hot. I tried to smile for all the cameras and especially for Adam;)

When I finished I really thought I was close to 2:00. Maybe 2:05 at the very most. Part of me wishes I had never checked the race results because I got a bit down on myself for a few minutes after I saw them. 2:10:03! I’ve never finished a race and not believed the results. I’ve been disappointed, yes. Disbelieving, no. But, honestly, I don’t believe I was running that slow. Maybe it goes back to the course being long….

So then I had to remind myself about Fail # 1 from my Chicago Race Report. The goal of this run was to HAVE FUN. I DID THAT. So, success regardless of the time. And, I passed 1076 runners and was only passed by 9, so that's kind of fun.

Special thanks to my husband, Adam who took all the pictures in this post. From my very first race, Chicago Marathon 2006, when he hosted my family so they could all spectate in the freezing cold, to my current running to this whole blog thing I'm doing now--> he's been super supportive and has even become a runner himself;)

Here are some of the other costumed runners that Adam got pics of:

Thanks to everyone who dressed up in costume- it was so fun to watch! And thanks to all the spectators! I think this was one race where we really did give back to the spectators--> most of them seemed very amused by our outfits;)

I will definitely sign up again for next year for another 'fun run'!


  1. Awesome costumes! I love the idea of running in a costume - so very cool! :)

  2. You running in that costume is hysterical!!! Love it. I heard about all the changes in the race and it being too long - crazy! I wish we could have been there for that race, it sounds so fun.