Chicago Race Report

It’s official, I am a cold weather runner.

The forecast was for cold, rain, wind, even snow. I wore a long-sleeved shirt, shorts, a new coolmax hat AND SMARTWOOL SOCKS. I covered up with another long sleeved shirt and wrapped a garbage bag around my legs.

I was officially the last person out of the porta-potties before turning into the corral. I was in the same corral as Doug and his son Chris, but Chris was getting a little nervous so they headed into the corral. I met up with them right before the start. I noticed there was a 3:30 pace group in front of us, and as the Pref II corral moved up closer behind us, a 3:30 pace group behind us. As we approached the start line, I told Doug “I’m just going to try to hang with them.” And I was off!

Mile 1/2: 15:48 (7:54)
Dropped my shirt in the first mile, kept my makeshift skirt. I’d forgotten to take my pre-race GU, so I took it at the water stop around the second mile. Whoops, that’s definitely not an 8:30 pace!

Mile 3: 8:05
A little better… I realize I’m a bit ahead of the pace group, so I slow down dramatically (I think frustrating some other runners in the process)

Mile 4:7:44
Mile 5:7:41

I glare over at the pace group leaders much like I often glare at Doug. 3:30 is an 8:01 pace, NOT a 7:4x pace!!! Try to force myself to slow down. My knee actually started to hurt a little, so at the next waterstop I had a couple advil.

Mile 6: 8:09
Mile 7: 7:53

I realize that I can’t be too angry with the pace group leaders for going too fast when I’m ahead of them. I try to force myself to slow.

Mile 8: 7:55
Mile 9: 8:03

I think it was about this point that I realize I may as well ditch my garbage bag skirt. I’m trying to stay well-hydrated and well-fueled. Whereas in past races I’ve stopped at water stops, I run through them and find things are just fine.

Mile 10: 8:00

Perfect!

Mile 11: 7:58
Mile 12: 8:08

Mile 13.1: 8:52 (half: 1:44:21)

I realize that that’s a good half time. I’m feeling strong, but I’m separated from the pace group again. I look around, and someone asks me, “Are you looking forthe 3:30 pace group?”
I respond, “yes, I think one is behind me”.
“They both are”.
“Oh! Well I’m going to slow down to meet them, then! Have a great race.” And I forced myself to let them catch me.

Mile 14 (only .9): ~7:26
Mile 15: 7:58
Mile 16: 8:05

By this point the miles were ticking off. I tend to say that the race begins at 16, and I was feeling strong!

Mile 17: 8:02

I think it was this mile where I had to stop to pick a stone out of the bottom of my shoe. It was a bit of a princess and the pea situation, where it was a tiny tiny stone but I could feel it with every step. I watched both 3:30 pace groups pass me by. 🙁
Grabbed a powergel, they were pretty good!

Mile 18: 7:57
Mile 19: 7:52

I was catching up to the group again, feeling good!

Mile 20: 8:24

Stopped to walk and grab a piece of orange. NOT A GOOD IDEA! Took a couple bites, but there were seeds in it! Plus, the acid went right to my stomach. Not a choice I’ll make again. Thinking back, I also stopped for a banana at about 15 or so, just grabbed a couple bites and walked a bit before continuing. Looking back at my time, I can’t tell when I took that stop..

Mile 21: 7:50
Mile 22: 7:56
Mile 23: 7:57

These last miles were ticking away. I wasn’t feeling great, I was struggling to keep up with the 3:30 pace group, but I knew my pace was ok.

Mile 24: 8:04
Mile 25: 8:11

The pace group leader was telling people to pick it up but I was going to wait for a bit longer.

Mile 25.2: 1:44

I decided to hit my watch to record the final mile as separate. The last mile or mile and a half was rough, there was a bit of a jog to the left and right, including a bit of an uphill. As I made that turn, I found myself having trouble getting started again. I actually stopped a moment to walk before heading off to finish what I knew was going to be a PR race.

At mile 26 I looked at my watch, 3:28:15. Inside, I groaned. Bridget had predicted 3:28:14 for my marathon time. Ah, if only the race were an even 26!

I felt myself picking it up for the final stretch. It was ridiculous how crowded it was, however. I couldn’t pick up as much as I may have liked, but I knew I’d be happy with my finish.

Final mile: 7:49

Final time: 3:29:41

——–
First half: 1:44:21
Second half: 1:45:21

I’m sore tonight, but that’s a good thing! Today was a great marathon day. I realized it last night as I crawled into bed, my clothes set out beside me, the marathon toaster waiting to serve. There are traditions that just put me in the ‘marathon mindset’ and helped me get so excited about today – definitely something to remember! I feel as though today was a run wherein I tried a few things that worked well for me. I carried pain killers and chapstick, stopped to eat a couple bites of banana, had several GUs, and overall just kept my head in the game!