Tuesday, October 24, 2006

2006 Chicago Marathon

We got in a bit later than we expected on Friday after fighting traffic for the last 45 miles of our drive. We went to the expo before it closed to pick up our race number and chip. Then, we arrived at Bar Louie about 8:30 pm. Some people had been there earlier and left, but we ate and had a good time until it hit us that we were exhausted so we headed back to our hotel to sleep. The run on Saturday was very relaxed, stopping to take pictures at several points and let others catch up. After the run, some of the group went to Starbucks. Someone mentioned we were more subdued than last year’s LCAR group and I am sure it is different every year. Hugh and I headed back to our room to shower and back over to the Expo to check out everything we missed the night before. I didn’t end up buying anything, but munched on all the free stuff. Then we had lunch and headed back to our room for a nap.

We had dinner at the Italian Village and thankfully, Jonguy made reservations or we would have had a long wait. Enjoyed talking to Letty’s sister and Leslie at dinner.

We set our stuff out for Sunday and then headed to bed about 10 pm and set the alarm for 5:30. I slept fairly well but when I woke up I felt like the room was spinning. We both had a pre-race shake and banana and used the bathroom 4 times each. Then we headed over the Congress and met Pappy and had our pre-race runner’s communion.

Hugh and I walked over to the starting area and I left him in the Preferred II and headed to the Competitive area about 7:20. There weren’t very many people in the corral for about 20 minutes and then it started to fill up. I’m standing there waiting with the 3:00 group and thinking about the race and wondering if it would be crowded, what it would be like, and trying to stay warm. I had an extra shirt so I wasn’t too cold. Before the marathon, I was thinking Chicago is flat and this will be much easier than other hilly marathon courses that I've done. However, I really wasn’t feeling ancy and ready to race like most races and this worried me.

Finally, the race starts and I’m not sure where the 3:00 pacer has gone, but see a few people with 3:00 on their backs so stay with them. I’m thinking there is no way I’m going to be able to keep this pace for 26.2 miles. However, I keep going and am on target mile after mile. I think I was even 50-something seconds ahead of schedule for awhile. I have several runners ask me if I am on target. I don’t really see a large amount of 3:00 runners so I am thinking I must have pulled ahead of them. Even though I was on pace, I never felt strong, relaxed, and in my groove the entire race. I would try to relax and it didn’t happen.

Half-way point, I am 1:29:22, which is right where I want to be. Before the race, I was hoping that I would feel good enough to pick up the pace after the first half. However, I make the decision to just try to hang on for awhile and see what happens.

I had been taking water at every station, and taking my Honey Stingers every 4 – 5 miles. The water stations were not that crowded for me but it took a bit of getting used to maneuvering in and out of them. After one water station about 18 miles, I notice a bunch of 3:00 runners in a pack. At this point, I also notice my left quad feeling a little tight. I feel a bit concerned at this point, but figure I’m fine since only 8 more miles and it may not get worse. I stay with the group for 3 miles and during this time notice my right calf, right quad, and right calf also tighten. Also, the left quad has gotten even tighter. At mile 21 I was still on target, but I really wanted the race to be over. I felt on the verge of having muscle spasms but thankfully did not.

I hung on for the last 5 miles watching my pace deteriorate and lots of people passing me. I figure at this point that it is best to keep running even though I really wanted to walk. It was a long 5 miles. Finally, I see the 800 meters ahead and then that bridge which earlier I didn’t think would be a problem, but really struggled to get up the small incline. I finished in 3:06:25 (1383 place), a bit short of my goal, but that's okay. I think I'll have better luck on a hillier course since that is what I am used to doing and am looking forward to trying for a sub-3 again.

As I was going through the finishing area, a guy from my Tu/Th running group walks up behind me. We talk briefly and I think he looks worse than I feel. He had finished about 3 minutes behind me and said he felt sick the whole race. I had badly needed to pee during almost the entire race so head to the bathrooms. Next I went to the EF area and waited for Hugh and nearly froze waiting.

About 12:45 he shows up. It took him a long time to get through the finisher’s area since there were a lot more runners. Hugh finished in 4:03:41 (12,468 place), a 17 minute PR for him! This is great considering his longest run was only 14 miles, he has had plantar fasciitis since April, and is walking better than me after the race. The marathon may have cured his PF?!

Here are the splits that I recorded:

M1 – 6:55 (HR-139)
M2 – 6:45 (HR-154)
M3 – 6:51 (HR-155)
M4 – 6:46 (HR-157)
M5 – 6:43 (HR-159)
M6 – 6:57 (HR-157)
M7 – 6:50 (HR-158)
M8 – 6:47 (HR-159)
M9, 10 – 13:32, 6:46 avg (HR-157)
M11 – 6:47 (HR-155)
M12 – 6:50 (HR-157)
M13 – 6:50 (HR-158)
M14,15,16 – 20:26, 6:49 avg (HR-158)
M17,18,19 – 20:40, 6:53 avg(HR-158)
M20 – 7:01 (HR-158)
M21 – 7:11 (HR-158) (my pace really starts to go downhill from here)
M22 – 7:25 (HR-157)
M23 – 7:37 (HR-154)
M24 – 8:07 (HR-150)
M25 – 8:41 (HR-147)
M26.2 – 10:38, 8:52 avg (HR-149)

After I found Hugh, we walk over to the Congress to sit for awhile. We probably sat for a half hour and then go back to Starbucks where he had coffee and I had hot apple caramel cider. We found a place to sit and talked to a nice couple for quite awhile. His boss had run the marathon and they asked us lots of questions. I was impressed with how nice everyone wherever were went, congratulated us on the marathon. We made it back to the hotel, took a nap and finally made it back to Bar Louie for dinner. Pappy gave a great speech on our accomplishments. After dinner we all said our goodbyes.

I’m feeling this marathon a lot more than my last. It was tough to walk yesterday but today no real pain but still difficult to walk. I decided to take an extra day off work to recover and spend time with the pets.
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