* BQ-minus 13:57 minute time of 3:11:03 for 26.5 miles
* CQ-minus 3:57 time (Chicago Qualifiying)
* Post-race with fellow BRC team members
* Weather was pleasant
* Weather was pleasant
My only goal for this race was to break three hours. Although I failed in this endeavor and am still processing how that happened. I could say that all was going well during the race then gradually I understood that it wasn't going to be my day. Once I knew that my goal was out of reach I even considered dropping out and doing a "revenge marathon" a few weeks later. Anyway, I stuck with it and crossed the finish line with a pretty hellacious positive split.
I called a cab (no Uber, I'm old school) at about 5:45 am, and made it down to Grant Park in about 20 minutes, a few yards from the Balbo gate. The lines through security were non-existant. I was able to secure a spot in the Balbo Hospitality Tent so I went inside and grabbed a breakfast sandwich, coffee and some fruit and then kicked up my legs.
|In the Balbo Hospitality Tent|
Some running celebs gave some inspirational words as well:
|Running Celebs including|
Joan Samuelson and Deena Kastor
I checked my bag at the private gear check then used one of the 100 unused porta potties. Then I made my way over to the "A" corral without incident. Since my goal was to run a sub 3:00 I lined up just behind the 3:00 pacer and just in front of the 3:05 pacer. The horn sounded and we were off.
My legs were stiff and sore as they seemingly never recovered at all during the taper, but I figured that they would loosen up eventually. They always seem to once the adrenaline kicks in and I put a few miles under my belt. I even figured that even if my legs didn't "unstiffen" eventually, I had run more that enough miles over the last four months to at least compensate for the soreness and will them to a 2:59:59. Anyway, for the first few miles I remained just behind the 3:00 pacer. Eventually, I made my way up to the group and tucked in behind them. There was much chatter and I was clipped by a runner here and there. I decided to swing out of the group and run to the outside where it was a little safer. I asked a runner or two to make way and was finally in the open. At mile 8 I high-fived my Aunt and Uncle and saw Ken from the BRC soon thereafter. I chatted with a guy who said he was running way too slowly for his capabilities, but that he would open things up later. As soon as he said this I started to evealuate if I felt the same way he did and I realized that at such an early stage, I really was feeling like I could be almost red-lining, that is my legs still felt sore and it was taking more effort that I would have liked to hold pace. However, again, I thought I just needed to have some faith that my training would take me another 16 miles at "pace".
I made it to the Blogger Press Box at mile 13 and saw Erica, Wendy and Marcia. I got a couple of side-fives and started to feel a little better!
|Side fiveing the Blogger Press Box (src)|
First half split: 1:29:35 (6:51/mile)
After running through the "Charity Block Party" around mile 14, I tried took a mental inventory of how I felt and I realized I was feeling how I normally feel at mile 20. My legs were still tight and the soreness was getting slightly more pronounced. I also felt way more fatigued than I should have at running a (for me) pedestrian 1:30 half (I ran a 1:21 PR in July). For the final time, I tried to convince myself that I would be able to "power through" the soreness and mentally block out the increasing fatigue due to my huge training base.
Anyway, for the next five miles I was able to stay ahead or at least even with the 3:00 pace group. However, I couldn't shake the fatigue that was becoming overwhelming. At mile 18 the 3:00 pace group started to slowly separate from me and I could not muster a response. I knew at this moment what lay ahead for me - a slow fade and then a rapid crash. This was the point where I considered dropping out. If I did that I would be treating this race as a long training run and then sign up for a "revenge marathon" in November. However, I decided that I really didn't want to run another marathon in 2016 so therefore I might as well finish. So, I pulled way back on the pace in order to see if I could at least salvage the last 8.2 miles by not crawling to the finish.
The final miles were a slow fade into oblivion and I actually switched to a run/walk in the final four miles make sure I could keep moving and not prolong the agony by totally flaming out and having to stop completely. As I crested the hill on Roosevelt Rd. I spotted the famous guy who always runs marathons dressed as Minnie Mouse. I tried to catch up to him so at least my finish line photo would include him, but I couldn't quite catch him. Within the last 100 yards, my right arm and right side started going numb, but I was still able to raise my arm for my photo. I crossed the line and was mercifully finished!
|Happy to be done!|
Second half split: 1:41:38 (7:45/mile)
Analysis: My official time was a 3:11:03 for an official pace of 7:18/mile. My Garmin shows that I ran 26.58 miles for a 7:11/mile pace average. It was my fourth best showing at the Chicago Marathon (out of six). I BQ'd by 13+ minutes, which means I'm pretty much assured of getting into the 2018 race if I so choose. I re-qualified for the 2017 Chicago Marathon next year, but also I'm still a legacy finisher and I can run Chicago without qualifying for the next four years!
After drinking water, a Gatorade shake and passing on the Goose Island, I headed over to the Balbo Hospitality tent, where I grabbed a bowl of chicken soup and sat down for a half hour. Then I made my way over to the massage tent and got a wonderful massage which helped at least temporarily with the soreness. I changed clothes, grabbed a ham on pretzel sandwich from the buffet and walked the mile and a half trek back through the race crowds to the Weathermark on south Michigan Ave.
Once at the bar, I met up with the BRC:
After chatting, laughing and discussing future races for a couple of hours, I said my goodbyes and walked back through the throngs down Michigan Avenue to the Red Line station at Roosevelt.
|At the Weathermark (src)|
Maybe in some future post I'll dissect what happened to me during the race. But, in any case I hesitate to call it "hitting the wall". I think all signs points to my not being fresh for the race, since mile 14 should never feel like mile 20 in a marathon unless you ran those 14 at half marathon pace! I am now in the midst of a two week break from all running. I'm catching up on my sleep, eating with abandon and taking care of other life things that I put on hold during marathon training. I won't start running again until I feel like it. No pressure, just rest and relaxation!