Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chicago Marathon 10-10-10...

I ended up getting a good night sleep on Saturday night.  I set the alarm for 5:45 am, but was wide awake at 5:00 am so I decided to go ahead and get up.  I turned on the TV and watched a little Full House while drinking my coffee (what can I say, I am a child of the 90's).  I enjoyed my coffee and breakfast, nothing like making yourself eat a Cliff bar at 5:00 am.  Yum.  I got dressed and patiently waited for Ken to wake up. 

Ken thought it was important to show the difference between our weekends.  Him - staying up late watching baseball while enjoying a few beers.  Me - waking up at 5:00 am to run 26.2 miles. 

Ken and I said our goodbyes and I made my way to Grant Park.  I only had about a half mile walk to the park from our apartment.  The start area was very organized.  I walked in and found my way to the open start coral.  (Next year, I will be in a seeded coral!)  I retied my left shoe about 30 times.  Seriously.  Ken would tell me to stop obsessing about it.  It kept feeling too tight then too loose.  I knew we just needed to get started or I would never stop with my shoes!

I was expecting there to be a lot of spectators, but I really had no idea how huge this marathon is.  It was great.  People lined the streets four and five people deep.  People were cheering, bands were playing, cow bells were ringing, it was really something. 

I was concerned with the race being super crowded, but I never felt that way.  I did later tell Ken that I missed seeing a lot of landmarks such as Wrigley Field, because I had to watch the people in front of me to make sure I did not run into anyone.  So in that aspect, yes it was crowded, but not too crowded where you lose your pace. 

My strategy was to run the first half faster so that I could slow down at the end.  I have always found that no matter what, I slow down at the end.  Plus, the forecast was for 80 degree temps that day, so I wanted to be prepared if I got any leg cramps later in the race. 

I had planned to see Ken just after the start, but there were too many people that I did not see him.  He planned on seeing me around mile 3 as well, but realized that he had just missed me when he saw the 4:15 pace group run by.  I could not believe all of the people that were lined up cheering.  It was unreal. 

I lost my Garmin signal when we ran inside the loop, so I ended up taking it off of auto lap and just hitting lap at each mile.  I started sweating during the first mile and knew it was going to be HOT.  At the first aid station, I took a salt capsule.  Thanks to Aron for the tips!

 5K - 28:01   Average pace: 9:01

I had originally planned on skipping two aid stations, one around mile five and one around mile 11, but decided against it when I realized it was going to be so warm.  I took my first Gu around mile six and then took another salt capsule around mile 8 or 9. 

10K - 55:27   Average pace: 8:50
15K - 1:22:34   Average pace:  8:44

I thought that the text updates were going out as soon as I crossed the mat, but I was so wrong.  They were delayed in some cases by over and hour.  I thought that when Ken saw me around mile 12, that he knew I was on pace for a great finish, but he had no idea! 

20K - 1:49:47   Average pace: 8:46

I saw Ken and I was so worried that he would not see me!  I yelled and waved and smiled as big as I could.  I was so thrilled to see him when I did.  It was such a boost! 

This picture cracks me up.  You can barely see my little hand behind that guys head. 

At the half way mark, I was still feeling pretty good.  There was a lot of shade on the course, (at least while I was running) and that made it a little easier to deal with the heat.  I had my second Gu around mile 12-13.  One of my favorite parts of the marathon was around this point.  The Merrill Lynch cheer zone was right around here and it was so loud!  People were screaming and ringing cow bells like crazy!

Halfway - 1:55:53   Average pace:  8:57

Around mile 14, I could tell my pace was starting to slow just a little.  I decided to take two Advil along with a salt capsule.  I kind of felt my left knee get a little stiff.  That quickly faded and I was back to feeling fine. 

25K - 2:17:33   Average pace:  8:57

I took another Gu around mile 16.  At this point I was drinking water and gatorade at every aid station and was dumping a cup of water into my bra.  Wet sponges were handed out twice on the course as well and there were several misting stations available.  Local residents also set up garden hoses.  I tried to run thru water every change I had.  I was still feeling fine, not sick or overheated. 

30K - 2:45:17   Average pace:  8:56

Running thru Chinatown was one of my favorite things.  It was such a fun time in the race, hearing the music, being tired, but also knowing it was close to being over.  It was at mile 19 that I realized as long as I could maintain 10 minute miles, that I would come in right under four hours.  Knowing that anything could happen, I told myself to keep running at the pace I was, and see what happens.  I was so afraid that I would get a leg cramp and would be forced to walk and ruin my great race. 

Accel Gel was handed up around mile 18-19.  I grabbed one, just in case, but did not want to take it unless I had to, since I had never tried this brand before.  I did take my final Gu around mile 20.

35K - 3:13:57  Average pace:  9:14

At this point, all I could think about was getting back on to Michigan Ave.  I knew once we made the turn that it would not be long until the end.  I kept chugging along and tried to think positive and not think about the people walking around me.  I was still feeling pretty good.  I kept waiting for the moment where I would cramp up and need to walk.  I finally walked thru an aid station around mile 22-23.  Up until this point, I had been running thru them and drinking on the go.  Which I thought was fun!

40K - 3:43:42    Average pace:  9:35

I really started to see people go down at this point in the race.  It was brutal.  There was still a little shade on the right side of the street, so I tried to stay over there to run out of the sun.  I walked for about 10-20 seconds thru the last two aid stations.  I saw a girl that was over in a medical tent that was completely submerged in a kiddie pool with ice.  Talk about SCARY.  I chugged along and got super excited when an intercom annouced you are almost there, you are going to finish the Chicago Marathon!  I knew I was going to come in under four hours.  I saw the 800 meters to go sign and smiled great big.  Just don't fall is all I kept thinking. 

We made the turn onto Roosevelt and I started looking for Ken.  I never found him, but he did see me.  I still do not think he realized that I was going to finish in under four hours. 

 Ken's finish line view.  He saw several people running and then they would fall.  It saw a lot of people being carted off with medial when they are literally 200 meters from the finish line.  So sad.

Here I come, so excited!  (blonde in the pink shorts, you know just in case you thought for two seconds that I am a man :))

I love this picture of me from behind

I literally had no sprint in me.  I tried to sprint, but lets be real, it was the same pace I had been running.  Sprinting at the end, well, we like to think we can, but most of us just can't or we will fall and look like idiots. 

Finish - 3:56:20  Average pace:  9:16

I stopped my watch and clapped my hands and said Yay, yay!  I walked and got my mylar blanket and medal and called Ken.  He was having trouble hearing me, but I told him I did it.  I do not think he heard me, and he told me he would call me when he could hear me. 

The finish area looked like a war zone.  People were laying down everywhere with ice packs all over them.  I really felt lucky to have made it thru the race as well as I did.  They were passing out free beer so I grabbed one to give to Ken, but I was not allowed to take it out of the finish area.  Sorry Ken. 

I called Ken and he was just around the fountain from where I was.  He found me and was thrilled at my finish time!  Hearing him tell me how proud he is of me makes it all worth it. 

We started the walk back to the apartment and chatted about the race.  I still could not believe how great I felt.  The first thing we did when we got back to our building was stop for gelato.  I asked what flavor one was and the lady told me it was.....PUMPKIN!!!!  It was meant to be.  It was like she was an angel singing PUMPKIN GELATO! 
I of course got out of my soaking wet clothes, showered, and napped for a bit. 
 Looking rough, but still thrilled

I received so many sweet messages from my friends about my finish time.  My mom told me that had she been there she would have down a cartwheel in excitement.  It felt so great to be so proud of a finish time.  Don't get me wrong, a marathon finish is enough to be proud of in itself, but when you finally reach a goal that you trained so hard for, it makes it so much better. 

When I returned to work on Tuesday, I came into my office filled with balloons and 3:56 all over my door.  What a great way to start my day!  I am still thrilled to death about my finish time. 

After hanging out all afternoon, we made our way to Chinatown for dinner and a little shopping.  

I absolutely, LOVED this marathon.  It was so great.  It was the flattest course I have ever seen, it was organized, it was spectator friendly (which is huge for Ken), and the fans were just amazing.  I am 90% certain that I am running this marathon again next year.  But first, I have something else planned for Spring of 2011.  That's right, I plan on training to try to qualify for Boston.

Thank you Ken for chasing me around the city and waiting for me at the finish line!


abbi said...

Congratulations! I loved reading your recap!

Wendy said...

Yay! Loved reading this. You are awesome!!

I may be doing Chicago next year too. It would be great to meet up if we both end up doing it! :)

aron said...

yayayayayay!! you did so awesome! loved your report :) hope you are recovering well and holding on to that post marathon high ;)

lindsay said...

Congrats!! Lol about the weekend comparisons. Obviously you have the better hobby :) enjoyed the recap and love all the action shots! Makes me want to re-do this one... ;) oh yeah and love the co-worker support when you got back! Enjoy the post-marathon high and rest up!!

Nichole said...

Way to go Keri! Your amazing! I still remember the day you came into the office and said you were going to start running / training for a marathon! You inspire all of us!

Middle Name Marie said...

I am glad the race went so well for you! Congrats!

Anonymous said...

I just came across your blog and really enjoyed your race recap. Congratulations on meeting your goal, especially considering the super hot weather. Way to rock Chicago!!

Tara said...

Awww, I love, love, love this race report, you did awesome! I wish I had been there, but maybe I'll see ya next year.

I love that pic of you waving your hand over that guys head. Hah!

Again Congrats Keri!