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Bank of America Chicago Marathon - Run

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Chicago, Illinois
United States
78F / 26C
Total Time = 6h 27m 42s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

The day before- didn't do any running like I thought about doing, but took a long walk to the store to get my name ironed on my jersey. Had a sweet potato and eggs for breakfast, then mashed potatoes/gravy/turkey breast and bread for dinner.

Addition of a third wave this year meant I could "sleep in" so up at 4:45 to get dressed, body glide everywhere, drink some coffee, eat a couple eggs and an oatmeal muffin. Left the house at 5:30 to get to the T2 charity outpost in time for the 6:30 photo. Had about an hour to chill out there before walking to our corrals, so I rolled out my feet with a lacrosse ball, did some hamstring stretches and core activation. Told myself to STOP DRINKING at about 6:45 so I wouldn't be hitting after portapotty within site. Learned from the last marathon to sit my ass down as much as possible before the race start so I wouldn't be tired at the start line- not getting to the charity site so early helped plus it was in a great location this time so the back and forth dropping our stuff and going to the corrals was less walking.
Event warmup:

Just some foot massage and stretching - nothing crazy.
  • 6h 27m 42s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 14m 48s  min/mile

I went into this race determined to 1) beat the pace car and garbage trucks and 2) finish under the official 6:30 time limit. I had no reason to believe I wouldn't be able to, but my training only got to a 17 mile long run (good pace and comfortable run) so I was still a little nervous.

My pee strategy almost worked- I tried to stop drinking at 6:45 AM but still needed to use the bathroom while waiting in the start corrals. However, I was able to hold it until mile 6ish and when I came along the first set of portapotties that DIDN'T have a huge line outside of the (no way was I going to lose time in a pee line).

Played with a few run/walk intervals this season, really trying to use the heart rate zone method to hit my sweet spot. Ended up using 3:2 for my last few long runs and while that felt super conservative, it still kept me between the 14-14:30 pace I was looking for so I figured during the marathon that would work out better than going out too hard.

However I was not able to keep my HR in the Zone 3 during the run intervals. It was impossible. Every time I started my run segment, from the very beginning, my HR was up in the 150s. I think the highest I saw it get was 167 towards the end. I was trying to control my breathing and at first I chocked it up to the excitement from being in the race, but it never settled down. Thankfully it tended to dip below 150 during my walk breaks, but even some of those it stayed high. I think the only way I could have kept it in Zone 3 was if I had walked the entire time, and I made the decision to just let Zone 4 be my run zone and immediately start walking if i spiked above 170. I figured this is the marathon, there is no sense in being a slave to my HR if I'm otherwise feeling ok.

In terms of eating, there were points where I just sort of forgot to take my shot block every mile so I either missed them or doubled up later on. I was also taking salt pills every few miles towards the end, maybe 4 total? I didn't even know if I really needed them, I just knew I was very crusty with salt and by the time I FELT like I needed them, it would be too late. I also started taking Tylenol around the halfway point, maybe popped 4-5 of those total as well. I tried eating my mini peanut butter sandwich around mile 20 but it was really hard to choke down. Some pretzels from spectators were helpful.

There were a few points where I was worried about myself just because it was so hot and shade was not easy to come by. Around mile 21-22, my boyfriend stopped by with two fruit popsicles and I'm convinced they saved me. They helped bring my core temp down when the lukewarm fluids weren't helping. I was also grabbing handfuls of ice whenever I saw them and just hold them in my hands, rubbing them over my face and neck when I could.

When I was about 5 miles out, I started thinking about how I was going to finish, and my original plan to do a 3:30/1:30 run/walk got set aside due to heat. However, there were a few cases where I missed the prompts on my watch and ended up running for 4-5 minutes straight which probably helped give me some timing cushion. At the end, I ran straight through (last 3/4 mile?) when I realized it was going to be a close call to get in under the 6:30 clock. Almost everyone else was walking up "Mount Roosevelt" but I was not going to take the risk and I chugged my way up that hill and down the chute. I am so proud that again this year I stuck to my intervals, didn't walk anymore than I needed to (except by mistake a few times) and ended up passing a lot of people. Again, sometimes it felt like I was the only one running through a sea of walkers so that added on a lot of extra dodging and weaving.
What would you do differently?:

Not sure. There wasn't a point where I was thinking "I wish I had done X". I think I made good decisions and survived as best I could. I think I would have had a faster race if it had been cooler, but I'm proud of myself for pushing and getting the official finish!
Post race
Warm down:

Hobbled through the post race chute, drank some water which tasted super funny after eating sugar all day, met up with some other runners from the team and walked back to the charity outpost. Immediately changed into clean clothes and got a calf/foot massage. Ate half a little sandwich and some pretzels and ginger ale, had a protein shake at home while I put my feet in ice. Took a walk to my favorite bar at around 6 or so to have drinks and dinner. (grain salad) Probably should have eaten more but everything tasted terrible.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The heat. Everything felt good during the run, even my ankles were holding up pretty well. Right now (Monday morning) is the usual ankle tightness and sore feet and just feeling like i cant put weight on anything but hopefully that subsides by Tuesday. Tried going on a walk but only a few blocks felt good.

ETA: Tuesday morning things feel much better- nothing hurts unless I stand up for the first time after sitting for a while, and then the usual areas are sore- basically around the ankle. Light swelling just in front of the malleous on both feet.

ETA: Felt better Wednesday, but didn't go into the office until Thursday because that's when I had my PT and massage appointments downtown. PT rubbed out my calves and feet, massage therapist took care of everything else. Felt good enough for a rowing bootcamp class on Saturday but didn't run again until the following Wednesday because I still had some light stiffness until then. 3 weeks out, it still seems like the right ankle is kind of angry- not aggravating all the time, just after a run. Was still able to run a few times before the Hot Chocolate 15K on 10/29, which is better than in 2015 where I didn't run for 3 weeks after the marathon!

Event comments:

I've only ever done this marathon, but it's the most organized race I've been to. For its size, it is consistently perfect in its execution. So many volunteers, so much on course suppport, everything about it is outstanding.

Last updated: 2017-10-09 12:00 AM
06:27:42 | 26.2 miles | 14m 48s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
5K- 14:19 10K- 15:06 15K - 14:30 20K - 14:38 HALF: 14:38 25K- 14:40 30K- 14:45 35K - 15:27 40K - 15:20 FINISH- 13:55
Course: Through city streets of Chicago - a little winding through downtown, then north and back, then west, then jogging south-east, then straight north to the finish area. Mostly flat with some inclines over bridges. There was shade in some areas but lots of sun on a very hot day.
Keeping cool Below average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2017-10-09 12:43 PM

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Subject: Bank of America Chicago Marathon
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