10 Things I Learned From the Soldier Field 10-Miler

I love the Solider Field 10 Miler. It’s without a doubt my favorite race in Chicago, and unlike many years past, this year’s race day had absolutely gorgeous weather. Finishing at the 50 yard line set the perfect tone for a fun-filled holiday weekend.

Instead of the regular race recap (although you can find my official race review for BibRave here!), I thought I’d make a list of the 10 things I learned from the Soldier Field 10 Miler. In no particular order:

1. That old saying about how sports are 90% mental? Totally true. After running a half marathon the Sunday before the Soldier Field 10, I entered race day without any pressure on myself. As a result, my run went by much quicker than I expected, and I had a ton of fun on the course.

2. Also? Mentally, 10 miles feels like a million miles fewer than 13.1 miles. What this says to me is that my upcoming marathon training is going to be much more than training my body for long runs – it’s going to be just as important to train my mind for long runs as well.

3. My personal pre-race breakfast of champions, as determined after two race day trials: a bowl of steel cut oats with honey/cinnamon/banana, my trusty green smoothie, and some coffee. I have been blessed with a steel stomach and I’m thankful for it every day race.

4. My personal post-race snack of champions: the free pretzels from my race swag, eaten in the shower. No shame.

5. The soldiers are the real winners of the Soldier Field 10. One of my fellow CRW runners put it best when she said on social media “Running 10 miles is nothing compared to what these guys do.”

soldier field 10 miler chicago il

You saw it here first- the “#1” pose is coming back for pictures.

6. Foam rolling seems to be positively correlated with less hip pain during my race. I’m hesitant to draw any scientific conclusions or try and prove causation (my psych methods class from college has really stuck with me), but I didn’t experience any hip pain or any heaviness in my legs during this race, unlike during my half last weekend. Of course, a big factor was that I didn’t run an extra 3.1 miles, but I’m hoping that continuing to foam roll will keep that pain at bay.

7. No matter how good of shape I think I’m in, I will always get my ass kicked on race day by someone over twice my age. Respect.

8. It is a lot easier to start slow and build speed than start fast and stay fast. Without a real “time goal” for this race, I decided I just wanted to negative split- and I did! Mentally, it was difficult not to get caught up in the excitement of the first few miles and to watch a lot of people pass me, but it felt twice as good to pass them during the last two miles.

9. Finishing a race on grass is way more fun than crossing a finish line on asphalt. Especially when it’s the 50 yard line of Soldier Field.

10. When ducking your head to allow a volunteer to place your medal around your neck, keep your mouth closed so that the heavy, solid metal medal doesn’t smack you in the front tooth and leave you briefly panicked that you chipped a tooth. I learned this the hard way.

Who else ran the Soldier Field 10 this weekend? What are you favorite races in Chicago?

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About Kristen Geil

A native of Lexington, Kentucky, Kristen moved to Chicago in 2011 and received her MA in Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse from DePaul while trying to maintain her southern accent. Kristen grew up playing sports, and since moving to Chicago, she’s fallen in love with the lakefront running path and the lively group fitness scene. Now, as a currently retired marathoner and sweat junkie, you can usually find her trying new workouts around the city and meticulously crafting Instagram-friendly smoothie bowls. Kristen came on to A Sweat Life full-time in 2018 as Editor-in-Chief, and she spends her days managing writers, building content strategy, and fighting for the Oxford comma.