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Chicago Marathon - RunMarathon

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Chicago, Illinois
United States
Bank of America
86F / 30C
Total Time = 6h 10m 24s
Overall Rank = 33321/38000
Age Group = 30-34
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

I was not nervous at all about the marathon until the night before when I started packing ... Felt strange to not worry about anything, but I'll take it! I think a huge part of that was due to the fact that I was running with a group, and I knew it'd be a fun run-hey, it's Chicago!!

For the first time ever, slept horribly the night before. Practically got no sleep. Never happens. Got up at 2:30, drank 16 oz of water, went out for a 2 mile run around the neighborhood. I remember very distinctly this: not even 3 am, me, pounding the pavement, headlamp shining on dark streets, thinking, "This canNOT be normal." Added to the scene is a car with drunk teenagers (I can only assume from swirving on the road and loud music) coming home from Homecoming. Who's awake ALREADY? We are a crazy breed, people!
Event warmup:

Drank 16 more oz of water and made my cup of coffee to go. Ate a bagel on the way to the race and never touched my banana. Met up with Jan, Manny, Tami, Angela and Karen and drove to Chicago. Parked at Soldier Field parking lot and headed to Charity Village. Weird how the map showed us being .2 miles away from the Charity Village intersection, on the way to the race it felt like maybe .5 mile, and when we were wobbling back to the van, I swear, I was at least a mile and a half. Tricky Chicago landscape.

We got to the Charity Village before 6 am, and the remaining hour and a half just flew by. Time always goes by so fast before a race for me. I'm glad I got the warm up run out of the way at home.

Tried to meet up with another friend, Greg, before heading to the starting corrals, but timing escaped us and I missed him by less than 2 minutes.. Having clearly drunk too much water, tried to make one last run for the bathrooms and the lines were just too huge, didn't think I'd make it to the corrals in time, so I left the line half way to a happy and empty bladder and went (read:scrambled) to meet up with my friends. By then, it was 7:25 (race start-7:30) and they closed the corrals!! I (and another 200 people) had to trudge all around the stinking fence to the very end of the line up and then work my way through half the crowd (ok, a third, but we are talking 45,000 people!) to find my group. It worked out great, because I got to hug other people from Team World Vision who were seeded slightly behind us, and who I thought I wouldn't see before the race :)

Since it took us 29 minutes to start (from the time the gun went off), I found Lisa, Eric, Jeanette and Julie in time and off we went, together.
  • 6h 10m 24s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 14m 08s  min/mile

There were several of us running together from our training group with Team World Vision. A couple of ladies have never done a race before. Lisa, our pace group leader, and myself decided we would stay with the group and make sure everybody had a good race. Our journey was very memorable :)

I always dread the first 5 miles, and after that, I start to feel good. This time, by mile 6 I was feeling so good I was bouncing off the buildings (well, not literally, but close). We were doing 2:1s and running about an 11-11:30 min pace and I felt like I could go faster. Lisa and I were joking that it was our PowerBalance bracelets. Let me interject that by mile 12 my sudden burst of energy started fading and I set into a "what was I thinking??" mode just slightly..

So get this... we needed to use the restroom, so we finally make a decision to bite the bullet and stop at mile 5 or so... lost 10 minutes or so standing in lines.. start running, get to mile 6, and what do we see? A row of port-o-potties with not a person in line! ARGH!!!!! What can you do...

At around mile 8, one of our friends - Jeanette - was saying she wasn't feeling good and just wasn't having a good run. She wanted Lisa and I to leave her and go on ahead, and said she'd stick with Julie and Eric. We told her we'd all stay together and we slowed down a bit. Then we started doing 1:1s and walking more. Julie and Jeanette both were having some knee pain and IT band issues (i may be butchering the exact pain scenario, but it was serious enough they weren't having a good time). We ended up stopping at the medical tent and they both got wrapped and felt they wanted to try to continue. We continued with 1:1s for a while. WHen we were at the medical tent, the car that closes the race passed us by, flashing lights and all.... We talked about it and again decided it didn't matter and we wanted to make sure we all finished. I have never for one second regretted that decision. Jeanette kept telling us how bad she felt and that she was holding us back, and we told her that wasn't the case, and meant it. The look on her face when she walked into the TWV tent with a finisher's medal around her neck confirmed I made the right decision.

By mile 16, Jeanette and Julie were struggling with running, and decided to walk the rest of the course. Eric, Lisa and I took off, trying to catch up to the race car, which was now over 2 blocks ahead of us. Let me tell you something... when you did 1:1s and walked the last 4-5 miles, the LAST thing your legs want to do is do 2:1s at a much faster pace. All three of us were just dying.. well, actually, I don't know about Lisa and Eric definitively, but I was for sure dying. I just kept telling myself that after 4-5 intervals, the legs will come back (it was more of desperate bargaining with the legs, really).. and they did! We were running about an 11 mile mile then, I think.

After mile 19-20, it felt as if the three of us were the ONLY people running. At mile 23, Eric's knee started hurting and he couldn't run anymore, so we walked the last three miles and ran the last 100 meters of the chute across the finish line.

Here's a funny.. picture a sea of people.. hundreds and thousands, mostly walking those last few miles. The race car catches up to us to make an important race announcement.. "Attention walkers! Please move to the sidewalk, let the runners pass" REALLY??? I said (very loudly), "Clearly, he's never done a marathon. Dude, we ARE the runners!!" I mean, this is the end of the pack, we are finishing in over 6 hours, so fasties are home already eating burgers, and most of us who are left, are walking (well, we were still running at that point, but we were behind our usual pace group). Plus, logistically, how are you going to move thousands of people to Chicago sidewalks? Very amusing.

So now, the heat... oh, the heat. A friend of mine (Greg) called the race Sufferfest. Not too inappropriate. The race alert system went from green to yellow to red (extreme heat, potentially dangerous conditions, you should have stayed home on the couch) by 11 am. We were around mile 14 then. Not unexpected, but.... I had just ordered and received a cute Athleta capris with a skirt, and even though I knew I should have gone with shorts to stay cooler, I decided I would suffer in the name of cute apparel. I think I secretly hoped the temperatures just would stay magically low. My secret hope didn't see a light of day and we were baking. I felt good running in my new hitch skirt capris, so I guess it was worth it. I'm so thankful the city was prepared for the weather. There was not a single aid station that ran out of water or gatorade (and remember, we are at the very back, so they have served tens of thousands of people before us already), and once the alert switched to red, they had cops with water hoses and opened up a bunch of fire hydrants. Oh, blessed hydrants!

So here is how hot it was-I would go through a hydrant, pour 4 cups of water on myself so I was soaked, and in 4-5 minutes, I was completely dry and completely hot. And I drank and drank and drank... I felt like I could float by the time I finished, but hey, I never got dehydrated :) Honestly, even though it was super warm, I never felt it was unbearable because of all that water.

Finish was just glorious.... Really itched to run the last 3 miles, I actually remember prancing in place a couple of times while we were walking. That finish chute is just surreal, so many people, and You Have Just Run Chicago Marathon! Goosebumps on steroids and endorphin heaven. Really, really a proud moment and something I will always cherish. Lisa, Eric and I crossed the finish line holding hands.
What would you do differently?:

Not eat chicken wings the day before?
Post race
Warm down:

When we were done, I was really stiff. We went back to Team World Vision tent, sat down and ate some food (they had burgers and brats for us) and basked in the glory of the moment (except for the times I had to move, then the basking was done with). I drank my Infinit Recovery, which made an immediate difference (a little freakish even to me)...

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Had I run by myself and for time, I would have said lack of speedwork all year (because I doubt I would have improved my first marathon time by much).. but i didn't, so nothing limited my ability to perform, and I'm happy with our race :) Absolutely do not regret to throw in the time and stay with friends.
Next year, my goal is to break 5 hours (even if it's by 1 second)..

Event comments:

Amazing race. Will do this one every single year if I'm in town :)

Last updated: 2010-07-25 12:00 AM
06:10:24 | 26.2 miles | 14m 08s  min/mile
Age Group: 2811/
Overall: 33383/38000
Performance: Good
Course: Course is scenic and flat. Lots of very interesting neighborhoods, and of course, gorgeous downtown.
Keeping cool Below average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2010-10-14 5:08 PM

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Subject: Chicago Marathon

2010-10-14 7:57 PM
in reply to: #3152966

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West Chester, Ohio
Subject: RE: Chicago Marathon

Sweet work in the heat and keeping your friends going when it got rough.


Congratulations on finishing well.

2010-10-15 7:48 AM
in reply to: #3152966

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Subject: RE: Chicago Marathon
Congrads!  We were all cooking out there! 
2010-10-15 4:24 PM
in reply to: #3152966

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Subject: RE: Chicago Marathon
Grrrrrrrrrrrrrreat job in the heat.  
2010-10-16 8:26 AM
in reply to: #3152966

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Baton Rouge area
Subject: RE: Chicago Marathon

Wow, nice job on the race and way to suffer for cute apparel!

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