We took the train from Alton Illinois to Chicago on Friday so we wouldn't have to mess with a car in Chicago. They were doing track maintenance between Alton and Springfield so we had to leave our house at 5 am and they bussed us up to Springfield. I swear the bus driver took every back road imaginable and it took forever. Turns out we could have driven to Springfield and gotten two more hours of sleep. Live and learn :-).
Arrived in Chicago, got some lunch at a pub across the street, went to the expo then we met a college buddy of mine and his girlfriend for some dinner. It was delicious and a great time catching up as always.
Saturday DW and our boy went to the Shed Aquarium while I did a two mile shake out run and met a friend and his family for brunch. Once DW and our boy came back from the aquarium, we did an architectural boat tour. Perfect way to do something cool while staying off my feet.
Lots of cool views on the boat tour
Race day I woke up at 4 am and ate yogurt and a banana, had a cup of coffee, and went back to bed. Woke back up at 5:45 for more coffee and race prep. Waking up early to eat works great for not having to hit the porta potties a bunch of times right before the race. Good thing too since the lines went on forever. Falling back asleep is surprisingly easy too.
The start line was about a mile and a half from the hotel and I didn't know how long it would take to make it through security, so I left the hotel about 6:45 am and walked to the start to make sure I was there in time for the 7:45 corral closure. I was hungry, so I probably didn't eat enough at 4 am, lesson learned. I was well hydrated and the porta potty lines were so long I decided to hold it and stop on the course. It was 50 degrees with a 15 mph wind at the start and I get cold easily. I had a throw away jacket over a short sleeve shirt and under armor plus gloves and a head wrap for my ears plus shorts. I brought two of those chemical hand warmers so I was all set. I also had two of those space blankets as back up and gave those to the first two people I saw that were wearing shorts and tank tops and shivering uncontrollably. They were very grateful to say the least.
Moving toward the starting line
Just a few people behind me in the start corral
Once our wave started, it took almost 15 minutes to cross the start line and we were under way. The first 5k was uneventful. Just warming up, dodging people and keeping my heart rate in check. I drank two cups of Gatorade and two cups of water at the aid station (and every aid station until sometime after mile 15). More of the same on the next 5k except I made the first of three hydration relief stops. I was definitely well hydrated :-). I just focused on keeping my hr under 155, staying hydrated and enjoying the race with lots of high fives. Had my second stop about mile 10 and decided I didn't want to stop every 5 miles or this was going to be a really long race but I wanted to keep hydrating, so I did.
About mile 15 I let my heart rate rise a little to work toward a negative split, but not too high since there was still a long way to go. I ran without tunes and just enjoyed the crowd. I thought the racers would start thinning by mile 18 or so, but they really didn't. I managed to hold off on pit stop number three until mile 21. With five miles left, my feet and calves were starting to hurt, but that's to be expected.
Can't remember what mile this was.
The last few miles, my calves felt like were about to cramp, so I kept drinking Gatorade and focused on keeping moving. I knew that if I started walking, it would be tough to get running again, so I kept running. The crowd support was great all day and really picked up the last two miles. I hadn't seen my family all day so it was nice to hear them cheering for me with about a mile to go. The last mile hurt, but I was happy to be running it in.
Once I crossed the finish line, it was a slow walk through the line for a space blanket, medal, banana, food, water and beer. It was too crowded to meet up with my family, so we met back at the hotel. I walked back to the hotel without too much trouble, showered then we went out for lunch.
Chicago Marathon official numbers:
|Split||Time Of Day||Time||Diff||min/mile||miles/h|
You can see the pits stops at 10k, 20k and 35k affected my time. You can also tell the lines got shorter each time. Having two pit stops in the first half and one I he second helped me negative split by about 4 minutes. My last 5k split was my third fastest of the day and my speed for the last 2.2k matched my fastest split for the day. I'd say I nailed my pacing for my current level of fitness.
My Garmin got confused in a few spots by the tall buildings and said I ran 27 miles. Looking at my Garmin map, it's clear I didn't run that far though I'm sure I ran farther than 26.2 due to dodging people, not always being able to take the best line through corners and veering off to grab fluid. Last time I did an LT test was four years ago.