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Chicago Marathon - RunMarathon

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Chicago, Illinois
United States
75F / 24C
Total Time = 4h 19m 10s
Overall Rank = 12941/50080
Age Group = f40-44
Age Group Rank = 548/2158
Pre-race routine:

Nothing remarkable here, just my standard coffee and egg sandwich (for a longer race I try to eat protein and carbs). For some reason this seemed like a good time to watch the Honeybadger don't give a shit video. Made me laugh. Then, right before we left, I coughed until I vomited the entire contents of my stomach...into my sink...which was the worst part 'cause it didn't all go down the drain and I had to stick my hand in the vomit water and empty the sink. Fortunately I had some ensures from when my kid was vomiting regularly and drank one of those. So that's all I had in my stomach. AWESOME, let's go to the train!
Event warmup:

Putting on sunscreen. Watching people hop the fence. Feeling sad that I forgot to get the little clif bars out of my gear check bag.
  • 4h 19m 10s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 09m 53s  min/mile

I honestly had no idea what was going to happen to me on this run. Left to my own devices or in the company of saner people, I might have bagged on the whole thing. I separated my shoulder about three weeks ago, right before my two longest planned runs. It was super mild, but the injury really hurt when I ran (oddly not so much on my bike which is what I fell off of to begin with). THEN, as my shoulder was healing I had a cold which turned into a little bit of a cough which turned into COUGHAGEDDON!

Seriously, I caught pertussis. That's Whooping Cough, y'all. And once you catch this nasty m*#$#F*&er you are in for the long haul. I took a five day course of antibiotics, but all that does is make me non-contagious. I still get what they call "paroxysmal" coughing fits every couple of hours...and those fits often end up with me vomiting until there's nothin' left. It's AWESOME!

I ran, maybe, 10 miles total in the three weeks leading up to the race, plus the effects of the injury and illness were still lingering. So, I decided just to start and see what happened. I put a 20 in my key pocket for a cab or a train ticket and went for broke. Well not really broke...I went out at a super conservative pace...

Basically the plan was to continue until some sort of major systems failure. Either a coughing fit that I couldn't recover from. The other possibility was shoulder pain, as I noticed I started to hurt around the 5-6 mile point and had no idea if it would get worse as I continued on. I brought some ibuprofen along just in case that happened. I also had figured out a modified arm swing that didn't hurt as much as my normal running posture, so I had that going for me. The final scenario was a complete collapse in will to continue and/or a major bad attitude attack.

I told myself that starting the Marathon in a huge hole would simulate feeling awful and tired at the beginning of the IMOO marathon and I was practicing for the coming mental battle of ironman marathon. So that's what I did.

My legs hurt almost right away, but I expected that because of my lack of recent running. My legs are gonna be screaming at IMOO. Shut up legs.

Early on, I found myself worrying about the enormity of the distance left...I tried to think about potato chips instead.

I had a bathroom issue which burned up about 5 minutes according to my Timex...I didn't allow myself to freak out about losing will probably happen at IMOO.

I started to chunk miles...when I would get to a mile marker, I would decide if I was going to keep on going...

I walked while drinking at aid stations.

I actually started to think I was going to make it around mile 17...I hadn't had a coughing fit and even though my shoulder started hurting around the 1/2 mary point (this was great as I was expecting it much sooner) I took the ibuprofen, and it kicked in and I felt much better by 17.

Instead of descending into the late race pit of despair, I actually felt optimistic, maybe because I was surprised to be there. Then, it was so cool, because my friend, Oriolepwr (Dave), ran right up next to me at mile 20! So I told him my plan and he was all about it (walk during gatorade, then seek and destroy the next mile marker). So we kind of worked together and BAM! it was over. It made such a huge difference to have someone to run with...otherwise I don't think I would have finished quite that strong! It made my day! Thanks Dave!
What would you do differently?:

No Whooping Cough. No AC Separation. No projectile vomiting morning of race. Eat more Gu and drink a little less water...that's kind of a problem for me...I think I get water starved and then drink too much and my tummy doesn't cope well. Overall though, going into the race in a calorie deficit wasn't as bad as I had feared...I just took gatorade at nearly every station and tried to do enough gu's...I felt hungry but never bonked, so that was good.
Post race
Warm down:

Stagger around and collect various liquid refreshments. Hang out with Dave until I managed to finally find my husband. Go home. Eat Chips. Drink Beer.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I think we all get the point.

Event comments:

I have nothing else to compare it to, but I've done it twice and for a ginormous race, it's pretty smooth with minor glitches here and there. The course is truly a sightseeing bonanza if you can enjoy it. A lot of people try to qual for Boston here, but I am not sure this is the best race for's flat, yes, but the course is so clobbered with people that unless you are in the A or B corrals, you are going to be severely hindered for at least the first 6-8 miles or so. You have been warned.

Last updated: 2010-12-29 12:00 AM
04:19:10 | 26.2 miles | 09m 53s  min/mile
Age Group: 548/2158
Overall: 12941/50080
Course: Northside (downtown, everyone peeing on the trees in Lincoln Park, It's rainin' men, old town, back to loop. Westside (death march with nothing to look at). Southside (Little Italy, Pilsen, Chinatown, back to Grant Park)
Keeping cool Good Drinking Too much
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race? Yes
Course challenge
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2011-10-11 9:57 PM

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Albuquerque, New Mexico
Subject: Chicago Marathon

2011-10-13 10:32 AM
in reply to: #3720220

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Gurnee, IL
Subject: RE: Chicago Marathon

DUDE!   another stellar report.  

OK I would NEVER have run a marathon with all the various issues you had.  not even attempt it.  You must be crazy! 

The essence of HTFU awesome job.   AND you managed to help drag me across the finish line as well.  

It was a terrific weekend and the best part was running those last super tough miles in the marathon with you.

Absolutely you will be able to draw off this race during IM.   This was truly a bada$$ performance.

2011-10-13 12:02 PM
in reply to: #3720220

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Menomonee Falls, WI
Subject: RE: Chicago Marathon
Nice job & I'm pretty sure I would never take on that distance with all those ailments you had going on.  You are probably right that this recent visit to the pain cave in Chicago was good practice for next September.  Way to tough it out.
2011-10-13 6:58 PM
in reply to: #3720220

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Ann Arbor, MI
Subject: RE: Chicago Marathon
Whooping cough?! Frackin whooping cough?! Dang you are one BAMF for taking on the marathon with that stuff in your lungs. Nice work. Also good to see someone else uses Ensure for pre-race nutrition. Good luck at IMMOO and try not to catch polio on the way
2011-10-14 8:25 AM
in reply to: #3720220

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Extreme Veteran
Olathe, KS
Subject: RE: Chicago Marathon
Great job, great race. Most people consider just running a marathon tough enough; you had even more difficulties thrown your way and you still rocked it. Congrats.
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