Thursday, October 17, 2013

Chicago Marathon 2013 - Race Recap

My original goal that I set at the beginning of this year was to run 2 fall marathons.  Done!  Ok, the 2 that I did weren't necessarily the ones that I planned.  I did plan to do the Fox Valley Marathon on September 22 and signed up for that one by the end of January.  My goal for the second was to do one near the end of October because that gave me 1 month in between to rest, recover, and keep training/taper.  I thought the Columbus Marathon or Grand Rapids were definite possibilities, which are both on October 20. 

What I didn't plan on was having crazy runner friends with crazy ideas that then get implanted in my silly little head thinking I can do all these crazy things too signing up for the Chicago Lakefront Ultra 50k on November 2nd.  Well, sometimes things don't end up the way you think they will.  So after thinking about my friend Julie signing up for the Ultra (and she signed up for Fox Valley and the Chicago Marathons too), I thought... end the year big and do the Ultra. After all, it is ONLY 5 more miles than the marathon right and I've run marathons!  Maybe I should have waited until I completed Fox Valley before signing up for the Ultra but, well...crazy is as crazy does.  The Ultra on November 2nd it is!  And with that came 6 weeks between the Fox Valley Marathon and the Ultra.  Too long in my opinion and I was going to need another really long run.  But all my friends would be doing or at the Chicago Marathon, so who would I run with? decision to buy a bib cheap from someone and run the Chicago Marathon too.  Long run and medal! 

Fox Valley Marathon came and went.  Along with my very worse time for a marathon ever by over 20 mins.  Sigh.  I mean, I completed it and overcame some difficult miles and pain so that is an accomplishment.  But no, I'm not happy with the time, or the tears that I shed, or the pain I endured for at least half of the marathon.  It took everything I had to dig down and complete that marathon.  When I finished (and twice during the marathon), I made a decision to definitely NOT do the Chicago Marathon or the Ultra even though I already paid for it.  I didn't care about the money.  I didn't want to feel the way I felt at Fox Valley ever again.

So after numerous people telling me to still do Chicago, I caved and decided to give it a shot.  My goal for the Chicago Marathon was simple. Do not cry.  Have as much fun as you can.  After all, this was just a training run.  I wasn't going for time and it wasn't even under my name so really it didn't matter if I sucked, right? 
Message to myself (Derek constantly tells me this)
I drove down with Julie and her sister.  It was a clear crisp morning of about 46 degrees.  I was chilled but that was how I want to feel before a marathon, otherwise it's too hot.  Perfect weather. 

My thought was to start with the 4:40 pace group because it was located in my corral but I had a hard time finding them and then I was so far back, it was too hard to get up there.  When my corral was a few minutes from starting, the security people were letting us out to use the bathrooms.  Really?  I was completely surprised that people were just streaming out of the corral to the bathrooms and back in the corral without security even checking anyone!  Especially in light of the Boston bombings and the heightened security measures being taken at the marathon.  BUT...I was thrilled because I had to use the bathroom again and so I went.  About 2 mins after I got back to the corral, my corral (G) started.  I wasn't with the pace group or any of my run friends.  It was just me, 45,000 other runners, and 1.5 million spectators. 

Because we are in Chicago, the garmin is virtually useless.  Several times it lost satellite, my pace was off and so were the miles.  I pretty much stopped looking at the garmin and just decided to run...and run easy.  Make it through the miles, 1 mile at a time.  And the crowds during the first 10 miles are the best I've ever seen!  The neighborhoods up north are so much fun and there is such positive energy.  I smiled and laughed and thought, "Now, I know why people want to do this marathon year after year!" 

Approximately mile 7.5
I felt pretty good.  My aches and pains that bothered me at Fox Valley were not nearly as bad.  I bandaged up the toe that blistered before and that was fine.  My back was sore but definitely manageable.  The top of my foot did start bothering me but I stopped at mile 6.5 and loosened my laces even more and that seemed to work.  I saw Jill around the 10 mile mark and she ran a few blocks with me, which was great.

I felt pretty good through about mile 14-15.  I was by no means "perfect" and could feel the effects of just running Fox Valley creeping up on me.  My legs really started feeling heavy during the last 10-11 miles though.  I started walking a lot between miles 15-18.  At 18, I reset my garmin and decided to mental "start over."  Was working great but then I realized about 1/4 miles in that I forgot to start my garmin back up! Ha!  Ran straight until about mile 19.5.  Run/walk followed for the rest of the time.  My legs felt like lead.  I could barely lift them.  Mentally I was still ok.  My boyfriend Derek and former coworker Geovanna was sending me some "keep going" texts and periodically I would pull my phone out to read them and respond.  In fact, the marathon photography folks caught me in action...
I forgot to look for any of my friends or running group at the various locations they said they may be cheering or volunteering at.  Total sadness.  I was in my own little world of joy and pain! So with the exception of Jill at mile 10, I was alone.  Until mile 25.  After I got done drinking water at the last water stop, I noticed one of the volunteers was Spero from my Yankee Runner group.  I was walking and he asked if I was ok.  I told him I was fine, just legs were heavy.  He told me to loop my arm through his and walk with him for a bit.  Um...ok...  I told him again that I was ok but he was being so kind that I walked a bit with him.  Then I told him I was going to start running and finish it up.  Super sweet and made me smile.

Anyway, the second half of the run was rough.  BUT...I had fun and that was my goal.  Never did I shed a tear or even make a sniffle.  I had my game face on and I kept it on and for that I'm proud of myself.

Not really sure what's going on here!

Finish straight away!

I'm pretty disappointed with the fact that I did get my worse marathon time ever... 5:28:26.  I know I wasn't going for time and I was fresh off a marathon 3 weeks earlier so that's something.  And I ran the entire marathon alone, which is a first for me and actually felt a little empowering (if that's not a little weird).  I knew I had to rely on myself and no one else.  I know there are a few things I need to work on for any possible future marathons (like losing some weight and making my core stronger).

I have the Ultra 50k in 2 weeks.  I really wasn't going to do it but have decided that since I signed up for it, I will give it my best shot.  Honestly, shoot me now please.

Probably a contestant for "Worst run photo"...and really captures how I felt! Ha!


  1. Congrats! Glad to hear you foot did not bother you too much. Wow, I am very impressed that you have done two marathons and now you're about to do an ultra. Impressive.

    1. Thank you Pete!! I'll feel much better when it's all over! Ha!

  2. Two marathons and an Ultra .... I think Susan M. has been a bad influence on you =P Glad you got through the two marathons so far!