Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Chicago Marathon: Race Report..

An alternate title could be:  A Lesson in Pacing.

This was my 9th marathon overall, 10th if you count the marathon at the end of an Ironman and my 3rd Chicago Marathon.

Chicago is my favorite marathon.  It is better than the New York City Marathon, I promise.

I had the alarm set for 5:30 am, but woke up before it went off.  Ken sent me a text at 5:30 am to wish me luck.  What a sweet husband.

I had my coffee, my yummy Luna Bar for breakfast and was out the door.

Ready for marathon #9!

I had planned on walking a few blocks to the El, but when I walked out of the apartment building, there were two guys that walked out with me that had called a cab.  So, I did what any girl would do, I asked them if I could ride with them.

I learned that both of them were trying to break 3:50 as well.  I told them that I only planned on being able to if all the stars aligned, since I barely trained for this marathon.  Oops.

I was so excited, because my friend Tara text  me on Friday that she ended up coming to Chicago and was going to run the marathon after all.  The poor girl has registered three times and had gotten hurt every other time and could not run.

I was excited to see her at the start line.

Tara and me.  Tara insisted on taking off her 1989, two sizes too big, Schoolast fleece that she was tossing at the start.

After a trip to the bathroom, I made my way to start corral D to wait for the start.

It was then that I learned that I could just sit at the start and people watch all day instead of run the race.  There are some odd balls out there.

I ended up texting this picture to Ken.

Is it just me or does this guy look like Hitler?
All in good fun, he probably kicked my ass in the marathon.

The National Anthem played and it was about time to start.

Side note:  Does anyone else get very mad whenever people from other countries do not have the respect to not talk or laugh during the playing of our National Anthem?  It really irritates me.  I mean, they are in America at an American event.  Show some respect please and at least be quiet.

It was a beautiful morning for a marathon.

I crossed the start line in about 6 minutes.  I lost my signal inside the loop and my Garmin seemed to take a while to recover.  I had positioned myself between the 3:55 and 3:50 pace groups.

I am not exactly sure why either.  But, you know, I was hopeful.

I was right with the 3:55 pace group for a while and could see the 3:50 group up in front of me.  I made it my goal to catch them.

Dom, dom, dom...

Why or why did I want to catch them and run with them?

I am an excellent pacer on my own and always have run my own race.  For some reason, I wanted to try to run with a pace group.

I had caught up to the 3:50 group sometime right after the 5K mark.

5K - 27:19 - 8:48

I caught up to the group and thought it was kind of fun to run along with them.  Two of the pacers were further ahead and one named Rick, was further back.  Rick was a talker.  I listened to him talk and talk for a while and liked the distraction.

I knew we were running faster than we should have been, but I was feeling good and it felt easy.

Now, how many race reports have you read where that exact statement has been said?

Now, how many race reports have you read where that exact statement has been said and the person reached their goal?

Probably not many.

I will save you the suspense, this is not a happy ending.

Just before mile 5, we entered Lincoln Park.  This is such a pretty part of the race.  The trees, the leaves, the men dashing to pee by the trees, it just screamed Fall.

I was still just cruising along, knowing that I should slow down, but I feeling good.

10K - 54:06 - 8:37

As I was seeing the miles tick away in the 8:30 range, it finally started to click that the pace group was going too fast.  Knowing this, what did I do?  I stayed with them.

We ran through Boys Town, which is my favorite neighborhood.  I love the cross dressers, men thrown guns in the air, the music, it is just such a fun spot of the race.

It was somewhere near Boys Town that I heard someone running shout my name.  It was the two guys from the cab.  I could not believe that I had run into them.

There was also another guy with them that must have thought I was someone else.  He talked to me for a while and told me thanks for all of the support.  He was a super nice guy, but not sure that we knew each other.  Maybe he reads my blog?

A little after Boys Town, I decided it was time.  It was time to let the 3:50 pace group go.  I knew I could handle pacing myself and knew there was no way I could keep up with them.

This was sad because I had secretly promised myself a Burberry scarf if I could break 3:50.

Of course I did tell not Ken this, but it does not matter, it didn't happen.

15K - 1:21:29 - 8:49

I kept chugging along and was excited about seeing Michelle at the half way mark.  I also was mentally preparing myself in case I somehow missed her on the side of the street.  She is only 4'10 after all.

20K - 1:48:54 - 8:50

I had decided that a 3:50 was most likely out, but that I could still beat 3:56, which was my marathon PR from this race in 2010.

Half Marathon - 1:55:01 - 9:00

As I crossed the half marathon timing mat, I looked at my watch.  I knew if I could run the exact same pace for the remainder of the race, I could make 3:50.  I laughed.  I knew that was not going to happen.  My legs already felt tired.  I knew those 8:30's were catching up to me.

I was scanning the right side of the street and found Michelle!  I knew she would make a few friends while waiting for me and she did.  I gave her a big smile and wave and was on my way.

The stretch between the half and China Town was a hard stretch for me this year.  I just could not get it together.  It was then that I realized that trying to run a 3:50 marathon without really training was a bad idea.

This was also the stretch where I swore that I would never, ever sign up for a marathon again.  This is it for me, I remember thinking.

25K - 2:17:37 - 9:19

As I was running along, I noticed a guy that was limping.  Not just a hobble, full blown limping.  I noticed that he started in the A corral, which means he is fast.  I went passed him and for whatever reason, I stopped and turned around to check on him.

The poor guy, he hurt his foot at mile 12 and was going to limp the rest of the way.  I felt really bad for him.  I talked to him for a few minutes and wished him well and was on my way.

This next section could just be titled the beginning of the end.

My legs felt dead and I wanted to be finished.

The 4:00 pace group paced me and I was so mad at myself for not just going out conservative and running a 4:00 marathon.  I can run 9:00 miles all day long and at that moment I was struggling big time.

30K - 2:48:25 - 9:55

The rest of the race was more of the same.  For whatever reason, I was not all that excited for Chinatown this year.  Chinatown is my second favorite neighborhood.  I hated that I was not in the mood for it this year.

35K - 3:23:14 - 11:13
40K - 3:55:  45 - 10:28

Finally it was time to make the turn toward the finish. I scanned the area by the turn for Michelle, since that is where we talked about meeting.  Unfortunately, I did not see her and she did not see me.

I did notice that the area around the finish line seemed different this year.  Not as many people were in the bleachers and I am sure that this was a result of Boston.

I crossed the finish line in 4:09:15 and was thrilled to be finished!

I walked through the finish area, collect my stuff, got my beer and started walking toward the exit.

I had to surrender my beer since you cannot take it out of Grant Park.

I called Ken to tell him I was finished.  He asked me if I was okay with my finish time.  I hesitated and told him I was.  I mean, I made a few mistakes, was not in the best shape, and ran a 4:09.  I was happy with that.
I am not going to lie, I was a little bummed about the no go on the Burberry scarf.

I found Michelle and we started our walk back to our apartment.

Marathon #9 in the books!

On the way back, we had an interesting incident.  We were at a cross walk and some man stood there for a bit and turned to me and asked me (in an Irish accent) if he could take my picture and take it home with him to Ireland.  Yep, that happened.  Of course I let him take my picture.  Who knows, I might become famous in Ireland.

Soon we were back to the apartment, where we asked the door man to take a picture of the two of us.

Here is what we ended up with:

Yep, he gave me my phone back with no shame.  I guess I should probably mention that I am not sure if he spoke English or not.

Once inside, I asked a nice guy to take our picture.  This one turned out much better.

Michelle and me

The guy that took our picture asked me if running a marathon gets easier the more you run.  I promptly responded with, um no.

So that is marathon #9.  Oh, and don't worry, there will be a marathon #10, and 11, and 12, and well, you get the picture.  :)

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