Great race swag is its own reward.
This is way nicer than my Chicago medal.
We call it the Chicag-o’ Lantern.
You’ve all read plenty of Chicago Marathon recaps over the last couple of years, and more than a few of you have run the race. That being the case I assume you all know the broad strokes of how this race goes. The boys of Northalstead, the dragon in China Town, so on and so forth.
So instead of a play by play recap, I thought I’d cover the things that were different between this race and the others I’ve done. In no particular order:
I ate much more for this race than any other I’ve done. The week before, the morning before, and during the race itself. I think one of the big things that held me back in previous marathons was running low on calories. That didn’t happen this time. I had extra carbs with almost every meal in the days leading up to the race, and on race morning I had a bagel with two eggs for breakfast, and a second bagel in Grant Park.
I drank almost exclusively Gatorade during the race. Two cups at every water stop, and this was the strong stuff. My stomach could not have handled that last time around, but I’ve been training with sports drinks, and it was no problem. My tummy was rock solid the whole race. I think this was a big benefit both in terms of staying hydrated, and avoiding the cramps that bothered me at the end of St. Jude.
I started out in way too slow of a corral. I should have been more aggressive with my predicted finish time back in February. This is already a very crowded race, and I spent much of the first half jogging around slower runners, or walking through bottlenecks when there was just nowhere to run.
Speaking of crowds, starting in a field of 40,000 plus was a great experience, but I think I’ll be looking for smaller races from now on. The 4:30-5:00 pace range is pretty congested as it is, and I like a little more elbow room than I was able to get, even in the last miles. There were points where I had to result to throwing a shoulder here and there to make a path.
Don’t expect to find an open bathroom anywhere on this course. Unless you count the trees in Lincoln Park. I can verify that those are freely available.
You don’t need me to tell you what a difference it makes to see a friendly face in the crowd. Thanks so much to all of you who came out and spectated.
Claire in particular deserves a ton of credit for how well this race went. She handled every bit of the logistics, and it made the race so much easier on me. She also made it to three different points on the course to spectate, and provided a critical Mile 23 doughnut. My girlf is the best girlf.
I ran the first 30K right on pace for 4:30 and feeling great. The last 10K took a lot of grinding though, and my pace dropped significantly. I have to work on getting faster in the last hour of the race.
4:30 was probably too aggressive of a time goal, given that I didn’t get in much pace training during the heat of the summer. But I’m very happy with 4:47, since it’s still a 15 minute drop from my previous best, and my first official finish under 5 hours. It seems like my times for a given race don’t really seem to go down until I start training for the next distance. Maybe I should use an ultra training plan for my next marathon, and do some runs beyond 20 miles.
It was a great week and a great race. Good food and good friends in a city I love. I’m sure I’ll be back for another crack at this one. (Hopefully they’ll be a little more creative with the medal next time).
Today was my first time spectating a marathon. I have run three, but I have never had the pleasure of going down and from Lead Vehicles to Streets and San, seen the entire field go by as I did today from our Pink Tent at Mile 14. Judy was there with me the entire time too, and we rang our bells, clacked our clackers and cheered from 8 AM (when the wheel chairs zoomed by) until 12:30, when I was the last one standing, and the runners had moved to the sidewalk.
There is so much heart in Marathon.