2018 Chicago Marathon

Marathons are like life. You never know what to expect and how things will go. During your training and during the race. Leading up to Chicago I was feeling confident, I had just PRed in Carmel and I knew I would do well with a few fixes, mainly nutrition. What I didn’t know was that my body had other plans. I was sidelined during the peak training months and had to take a month off for a surgery. After I was able to run again but at a diminished effort. It was like starting over again.. all the work I had put in earlier was gone. No matter I dug in and did my best to ignore the discomfort. Note: this race report is a little whiny… I apologize in advance…

A few weeks out from Chicago I had a really nice 20 miler where Aimee, around a 7:30 pace. It was a nice cool day and it felt great to run. After some analysis my coach and I thought it might be worth going hard at Chicago.
Head to the expo around 10 with my wife and parents on Friday… HUUUUGE lines.. it was horrible to be honest. Took way to long to get my packet, but oh well. Glad we went Friday and not Saturday. The place we wanted to go to for lunch was closed to fire/water damage so went to option B and got home late afternoon. 
Fast fwd to Sunday…it’s not a cool day it’s in the 60s and 90-100% humidity… Fun. I don’t do well in humid and warm weather but we decided it would be best to try for a 3 15. And go out with the pace group. This ended up being a mistake. Chicago really plays tricks with your GPS the first few miles and I knew this going in. I thought the pacers would keep me on track and to be fair. They did. I however was not ready to go from 0 to 100 at the start.
Got up around 3:45, got ready and drove down to the city. Walked A LOT before starting, probably too much.. but didn’t have a choice as things like gear check were very far away. Hit up the restroom go into the corral, hit up the restroom again, and then lined up next to the 3:15rs. Julie came and said hello, and we wished each other good luck, she lined up a little behind me. Did a few dynamic stretches, jumping etc. And waited to start…
Keep in mind the GPS in Chicago is crap for some miles… so times are probably inaccurate.
Mile 1 – 7:49: Trying to absorb it all. Excited to start but lots of bobbing and weaving .
Mile 2 – 7:21:  Going though the downtown area, wet roads, couple turns pacers doing a good job communicating what’s up ahead. Ran by some people from fast track cheering us on. 
Mile 3: 6:32: Man it’s crowded. The big negative with going with a pace group is it’s a massive group and 315 was huge. I was having to stop and go a lot on turns and when people decided to randomly cut me off. Took my first chew.
Mile 4 – 7:12: Starting to feel it here. I knew this race was going to be a tough one from this point on.
Mile 5 – 7:10: Debating whether I should hang back and ease up on the gas or keep hanging with the pace group. Also went to grab my first two salt tabs. Got 2 down the hatch, but then water got into the bag. I tried to dump it out mid run ….but it was too late. See the picture of the aftermath…
Mile 6 – 7:18: Took another chew, felt like i was settling in.. but it doesn’t feel easy or normal.
Mile 7 -7:19
Mile 8 – 7:20
Mile 9 – 7:22
Mile 10 – 7:22
Keeping up with the pacers fun to see how energetic the group leader is. If I didn’t feel like shit I would of really enjoyed running with these guys. 
Mile 11- 7:26: This is getting really hard…
Mile 12 – 7:30: Wheels are coming off… I know at this point if I keep going at this pace I will be asking for trouble. I decide to let the pace group go and try to get to the half mark with a decent time.
Mile 13- 9:17: Got to the half mark and knew I was done. Not going to lie I actually thought about stopping here. But the crowds were so encouraging, yelling screaming and all the runners going by kept me going. I decided to  stop at a medical tent if I am going to continue… All 6 people manniing it looked at me concerned. I ask if they have any salt tabs. They had restaurant salt packets. They took my bib number down and marked down why I stopped and said good luck. I downed the salt, and woah did it taste good. 
Mile 14- 7:58: I see a few walkers and feel good enough to walk through some aid stations
Mile 15 – 8:48: Walking through some water stations…
Mile 16 – 8:58: this was the point where I said.. ya I like Chicago I live in the suburbs, but God damn it why is this race so warm every year.
Mile 17- 8:14: Rain… Lots and lots of rain. It’s pouring.
Mile 18 – 8:30
Mile 19 – 8:21
Mile 20 – 8:56
Mile 21 – 8:40
More rain and misery. I was angry at myself here because I should of reversed what I was doing today. A smart runner would of gone out SLOW and then warmed up and picked it up after the half. If I’d done this. I would of been running in cool rainy conditions and felt strong and happy to be out there. But I was miserable and just wanted it to be done. =/
Mile 22 – 8:27: My right foot starts to hurt, my shoes are filled with water and a blister is forming.
Mile 23 – 9:20: Oh now my knee is hurting….can at least get a new course PR?
Mile 24- 9:47: See Julie go by looking strong. Super happy she was able to tough it out and get another BQ!
Mile 25 – 8:23: Thank God, back in the city, almost done I want to end this
Mile 26 – 8:33: Nope. Won’t even get a new course pr. Just finish strong I tell myself. Up the hill make the turn and finish.
Last .2 – 7:38:
Okay, race is over. But wait what’s this! Deena Kastor is handing out medals. Okay that’s pretty cool and damn nice of her. I mean, she’s a pro runner taking time to hand out medals to every-day runners. That’s cool. Not a lot of people seem to see her, I just nod and find a lonely volunteer holding a medal. I figure Deena had done enough.
Grab a 🍺 and hobble off down the chute. OMG my legs hurt.  Dude… I was not trained for this…. I know my limits for sure. I should of stuck to my original plan and done an easy run half into a tempo pickup second half. Instead it was a suffer fest. Looking at my HR it was waaaaaay to high the first few miles. I was working too hard early and paid the price. I felt confident leading into the race, but obviously didn’t have it on race day. 
But what’s that one saying…you have to try to succeed. I tried, it was fun. Chicago is a great supportive race… Just wasn’t my day.
I don’t want this to sound like a whine, pity fest so I apologize if it does, this is more of a reminder to myself how angry/awful I felt during and after this race so that I won’t let it happen again. All indications showed I could of done well, just didn’t run smart. 
I have a half marathon in November 4, to use as a tune up, followed by a 5k turkey trot (tempo race)… Then in December it’s off to California to run CIM. My favorite marathon, my first marathon. Weather has been consistently cool, and the course is fantastic. I need to dig in, recovery quickly and burn up some miles. I want a quicker time, time to put my head down and work.
Notes to myself for next time..
-Rebound, you actually did well recovering and fighting through to get back in running condition, just not enough to do a marathon at your goal pace. 
-Singlet, felt good to wear, I thought it kept me a little cooler. 
-Coaching, I still think having a coach is a good idea and helpful. It’s always good to have someone to assist and give you another perspective. 
-Training partners, always great to have people to run with…!
-Going to the expo on Friday… even with the huge lines, it was good to have that rest day.
Things to change…
-Nutrition, your salt tabs were destroyed after mile 5, invest in small individual baggies so this won’t happen again.
-Nutrition, the chews… they are annoying to grab and with the amount I have to take in a marathon… I think it’s time to revisit gels. 
-Warm up… you need to warm up you are not 23 years old, you have to have your body acclimate and get loose before going at goal MP. No exceptions.
-Run your own race.. pace groups are great, but they should be used to gauge where you are. Your body runs different and just trying to run a steady pace from start to finish has not worked for you. Remember the marathon is a LOOONG race, if you are slow at the start, it’s okay! 
-Look into new race shorts…?
-Up the miles, with the limited training session available there was nothing i could of changed here, but for the short CIM build up, i want to hit 70 miles. 
-Run Barrington in prep for CIM, need some hill practice. 
-Diet, let’s change up the diet some more. Healthier foods, especially with the short cycle. I want to be 5-10 lbs lighter for CIM.
-2 rest days prior to the next race.

You may also like...

2 Responses

  1. Donna says:

    Congratulations on finishing another marathon! So impressed with your dedication and determination! Great job!

  2. Mark Wrightson says:

    A good writeup and congrats- you finished another marathon. Number 16!!!
    You should be proud…

Leave a Reply