**This is going to be long, I had free time at work to write most of it**
I was fortunate enough to participate in the 34th Annual Chicago Marathon on Sunday. This was my 2nd Chicago Marathon and my 7th marathon overall. Chicago puts on a great event in a great city. I may just repeat this marathon every year as long as timing permits.
I was hesitate to set any time goals for this marathon, since I was sidelined with a stress fracture back in May and did not have a ton of training. I kept my training consistent, I was just unable to run many long runs. My longest run was 18 miles on the treadmill. I was reminded of that fact around mile 21 when my legs were taking a beating.
The forecast was a little warmer than I was hoping for, but not as bad as last year. We were fortunate enough that it was in the upper 50's/lower 60's when we started. I believe it was in the upper 70's when I finished. My Chicago Marathon time from last year, 3:56, qualified me for a seeded starting coral this year. I did not really think this would make a difference, but it really did. It was not as crowded at the start.
My morning started at 3:00 am when some jackass on a motorcylce thought it was appropriate to rev his bike up over and over again for about 15 minutes. How considerate of him. I had slept very well until this point and then slept on and off until I woke up at 5:15, had some coffee and a power bar and got ready to go. I was prepared to take a cab down to Grant Park, but a nice guy named Steve hopped on the elevator after me and guided me to the train. He was even kind enough to allow me to use his CTA card, so I did not have to purchase fare. It is so refreshing meeting nice people.
I rarely have to pee once I get to a race, but I did not time things correctly this time and was going to have to use a porta potty. I was in line at the porta potties inside the seeded start area and realized there is no way I would make it thru the line. I noticed a tree with a group of girls huddling around it and saw that they were blocking each other while they were peeing. I figured why not? I grew up in Southwest Missouri, I have peed outside a time or two. I went over to the tree, talked with a nice girl, she blocked me, I blocked her. I did glance over to see a man body gliding his, uh you know uh junk. I may have done a double take. Call me shocked, small town, whatever, but I could not help but look. I mean, he was a black man and I have heard a lot about black penises, so I wanted to see if what I heard was true. So, after me looking for what was probably considered an unacceptable amount of time, I came to the conclusion that it is true, very true and I was on my way. :)
I had taken my Garmin off of auto lap, since it loses the signal inside the tunnel during the first mile. My plan was to run the first two miles around 9:15 and then try to maintain nine minute miles after that for as long as I could and maybe toss in a few 8:50's to make up for slowing down at the end. My first mile came in at 9:08. A little fast, but I was happy with it. My second mile was 9:07. Perfect I thought. Third mile, 8:44. Holy Moly, I remember thinking! I am not even winded. I totally rock! The next mile was 8:40. I was thrilled. The sad thing is, I knew better. I knew I would feel like a million bucks to start with and should just slow my ass down. What did I do? I kept on truckin, knocking miles off in the 8:xx's thinking how totally awesome I am not to be winded and to barely have trained for this thing.
My mom, Ken, and Ken's parents were planning on meeting me just after mile three. I expected to see them on the right side of the road for some reason. They were on the left side and I did not see them until I was already passed them. I tried to run over and shouted in my loudest Keri voice "Ken, Ken!". Although, I am sure it sounded more like "KIN, KIN!". They did not see me. I fiddled around trying to call him to tell him that they missed me. Yeah, talk about wasting energy here. I looked like an idiot trying to get my phone back into my IFitness belt. Oh well. He did not even answer. I kept moving along, hoping I would be able to see them just after mile 11.
My one goal this year was to see Wrigley Field. I had completely missed it last year and made it a point this year to find it on the map in advance to know where to look for it. So when we turned the corner onto Addison, I was looking all around, just waiting to see what I had missed last year. Um, yeah, next thing you know, we are back in the Lincoln Park neighborhood and no Wrigley Field. You have got to be kidding me, I said to myself. I missed it again! Apparently, I will be running Chicago again next year with a third try to see Wrigley during the race.
6- 9:03 (this was my ideal pace)
7- 8:33 (waaaay to fast for a marathon!)
Once back in downtown, I was able to see Ken, my mom, and Billl and Linda. I gave them the double thumbs up, to let them know I was feeling great! Of course I was, it was mile 12. I could have been doing cartwheels at mile 12. I hit mile 13 in 1:55:XX, basically in the same neighborhood as I ran last year. Heck ya, was what I thought.
14- 9:08 (I forgot to hit lap, so this one is long)
15- 8:37 (this was a little short of a mile since mile 14 was long)
I was still cruising along, feeling fine up until around mile 18. I was still fine physically, but for some reason, I had convinced myself that we were at mile 18 when we were really only at mile 17. Boy, that was a crushing blow. It was like someone told me I was not going to be able to have a birthday cake this year. I thought, wow, what idiot put a 17 mile marker twice? I looked at my Garmin and saw, yep it just rolled to mile 17. Son of a....
18- 9:25 (getting tired)
19- 9:04 (there was still hope)
20- 9:37 (started walking thru an aid stations)
I was cool, told myself to man up and stop being a pansy. Just make it to Chinatown at mile 21, was what I kept thinking to myself. Not sure what was going to happen at Chinatown, but I was using it as a must make it to point of the race. I think I was looking forward to the Chinese music that would be playing over the speakers. Um yeah, talk about a let down. It was some current pop song. Great, just great, Chinatown was ruined and to top it off, there were very few Chinese people in Chinatown. Quite a change from what I remember from last year. Talk about bursting my bubble.
At this point, I was allowing myself to walk thru the aid stations. My legs were killing me! This is when I knew only running 18 miles one time on a freaking treadmill was haunting me. I was still happy though, I mean I was maintaining a good pace for being undertrained. I let go my secret, secret goal of 3:55 and decided that I could still come in under 4:00 if I could maintain about 10 minute miles from the remaining 5.2 miles. I knew my watch was measuring off by .2 miles and when I realized that I would be really close to missing the 4:00 mark, I decided not to push it. I reminded myself that I have a little race called the New York City Marathon coming up in four weeks and that I should swallow my pride and just not push it the last few miles. Save the legs is what I told myself. I texted my friend Tara around mile 24. Bless her heart, it was not a nice text, but she responded back with words of encouragement and told me to keep going.
26.2- 12:42 (I forgot to lap my watch at mile 26)
I kept cruising along down Michigan Ave, just waiting to turn to head to the finish line. I tried looking for Ken in the bleachers, but did not see him. I was unable to sprint but did kick it up a bit to pass a few people. It is amazing what see the finish line does to you. There it was, the end, I crossed the finish line in 4:03:06.
Garmin time: 4:03:07 - 26.48
Official time: 4:03:06 - 26.2
Marathon #7 finished! I was very pleased with my time. How can I be disappointed for finishing my 7th marathon? I am so excited about running New York next month.
Thanks for reading! I have a ton of pictures to post from our trip. I will be doing that over the next few days. Happy Running!