At the Chicago Marathon Expo
(Marathon Wall at the expo)
Heading into Chicago I was not 100%. Both my achilles were affecting my training during the last two weeks. This led to my running volume decreasing tremendously. Knowing that my training peaked at my long 22 mile run I was content. I was pretty confident that if I made it to the start 80% that I would be able to endure the 26.2 miles (in theory at least).
Anh and I were fortunate to sign-up in time to be seeded in Corral C on the Chicago Marathon website (emails were not sent out until late, being a frequent viewer of my registered races I happen to see the corral assignment sign-up option).
Race start was at 7:30am. Corral C was estimated to cross the start at 7:34-7:35.
As always it takes me sometime to warmup and get my race legs and zone in check. That was achieved at mile 3. My Garmin lost satellite when we ran through an overpass early into the race.
After losing its signal for about 20-30 seconds or so, the Garmin was no longer in sync with the race course. It was off by at least 200 meters or so. This became somewhat of a distraction. So I decided not to rely on my watch’s splits anymore. I went with the race clock and mile markers and subtracted my four minutes corral start. This worked out perfectly as my pace guide throughout the race. Garmin was registering 7:41/mile and I knew I was doing closer to 8:00 minutes per mile.
I was able to run injury free up to mile 8. At that point my right achilles started to hurt. As before in my most recent training the pain was bearable to run through. Bummer again at mile 14. Left achilles started to hurt. An adjustment had to be made if I was to run my sub-3:30 goal. I no longer focused on sighting pass 50 meters. I adjusted my posture to a more forward lean, making sure to limit any heel striking. This made for an immediate ease of the pain.
Issue number two! The HEAT! Chicago marathon weather is very unpredictable. The temperature kept increasing everyday leading up to the race. The weather race alert was “low”(green) on Friday at the race expo. Race finish it was “high”(red), At “black” the race is canceled. Race start was about 64 degrees. I finished north of 74. I have never poured so much water on myself during a race. I repeated that action at every aid station pass mile 16.
(a very volatile system indeed)
My nutrition was perfect. I took my first PowerGel at mile 8. Second at mile 13. Third at mile 18. Last gel at mile 22. I also stocked up on the race sponsored Accelgel at mile 18 in case I had ran out of my PowerGels. I never tried Accelgel before and was fortunate enough to not need it today (remembering never to try new things, especially nutrition on race day).
My marathon sub-3:30 time was met with time to spare. However the heat did keep me at bay as far as pushing the limit.
I have done two marathons so far. Philadelphia and now Chicago. My time at Philly was 3:54. Today I obliterated Phillies time by 27 minutes. An amazing PR! However I favor the Philly course much more. I rather undulating terrain compared to flat and monotonous. Chicago is FLAT, thereby making for a fast marathon, keeping in mind the changes in the weather come marathon day.
I love all who came out to support us, especially the families who handed out oranges, watermelon, jelly beans to the runners. The race organizers did a splendid job. There was an abundance of water and gatorade on the course. Sponges, sprinklers were provided to aid in the cooling process. However on occasion the cheering/music was a bit overwhelming for me. Especially when I was trying to not push too hard but just stay in my rhythm to avoid crashing. The music especially may sometimes make the adrenaline push you too hard, too fast.
At mile 20 I attempted to run the last 6.2 miles in 10k pace, but this was not going to be met today. However I did finish the 10k with a 7:49 pace, concluding my marathon time at 7:55. Eleven seconds above my intended MP pace, but nailed it with the Yasso projected finish time of 3:27.
Anh had a tough race today, she cramped severely at mile 20 and had to walk most of the way to the finish. I am very proud of the effort she put out on the course today given the heat and your cramps. Great job. I am looking forward to our first New York City Marathon in four weeks. November 7th.
It was a very fun weekend in Chicago. We did a bit of sightseeing via the Gray Line tour bus. Saw most of the city. This was our first time visiting Chicago. The city of many nicknames, “City of Broad Shoulders” being one of them. I would love to do a triathlon in Chicago. Lake Michigan would make for a great swim. We met quite a few of our dailymile and twitter friends along the way. Enjoyed a post race meetup with a number of them.
(Picture taken from the Gray Line Bus Tour)
(Cloud Gate at Millenium Park)
I will use those last 4 weeks before New York City marathon to rest up and hopefully get my achilles recovered fully for those hills and bridges.
Official finish time was 3:27:27.
(At Fado’s for a Dailymile Post-Meetup, hosted by, June and Trisha)
(free engraving at Fleet Feet Chicago)