The Chicago Marathon was an incredible experience!
The greatest thing about the Chicago Marathon for me was the mere fact that my only goal was to complete it. Not worried about time at all! The Augusta Ironman 70.3 was my big race this year and that is what I spent all of my time training for.
Just to give the back story, many of the people I run with were planning to do the Chicago Marathon from the start. It’s something I actually did not want to do at all. In fact I offered to go to Chicago as a mini vacation and I would simply cheer my ass off for everyone who was running it. After some peer pressure I broke and decided to sign-up for the lottery, got selected and the rest is history.
Chicago is easily one of my top 5 cities in the US and I’ve been there several years in a row. There’s so many great places to eat, so many things to do, and the vibe of the city is fantastic! It’s also very picturesque place and there’s so many great things to photograph.
So on to the race:
My finish time was 6:05:38. Which is actually a horrible time in my opinion. But, putting it in retrospect, I essentially did zero marathon specific training for this race. And again, my only goal was to finish, not to mention I was sick and badly congested. The max amount of miles I did during IM 70.3 training was 13 miles and the longest I have ever ran in my life was 15 miles! So to be able to complete the 26.2 I was incredibly happy.
Race morning was cold! It was in the upper 40’s in the morning and being near lake Michigan didn’t help at all. I took gloves and arm warmers with me, but decided not to wear either of them for the race- I figured I would warm up within 5 miles into the race- boy did I regret that decision! Running through the city with lots of shade from the skyscrapers and wind my hands were freezing the entire race and at times my arms were cold also! It didn’t help that I was also sick; which adds the satisfaction of completing this race- the fact that I was able to finish the race not being able to breathe very good. Other than the standing around and being cold pre-race everything was going well. I had already used the restroom (#2, I know TMI haha), I had my music all set, and the vibe of the race from the get-go was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Most importantly, I was able to start the race with Samantha! To bad I didn’t run with her very much as I had to use the restroom (#1 LOL) soon after we crossed the start line.
The first 30K (just passed 18 miles) of the race were going great, soon after is when the wheels started to fall off. I was averaging a 11 min/mile (35 min 5K) pace through the 18 miles and then I began to feel some pain in my hip flexor area. At this point I was in a very unfamiliar comfort level with running. I have never run this far before and was not trained for this distance. It certainly started to show and felt it. I immediately rolled into some interval running in order to prevent any further injury. A 0.10 mile walk, 0.50 run, etc, etc is how I pretty much finished off the race. This definitely was the most hindering on my overall time. The first half of the race was done in 2:28:23 and the second half was 3:33:15. It took me over an hour more to complete the second half of the race compared to the first.
One of the most incredible things about this race was the spectators. From the very start of the race until the finish line there were people cheering the entire 26.2 miles! It greatly helped!
Post race, energy wise I felt great! Everything felt great, except for my hip flexor. In fact my hip was hurting badly! I did injure this same hip flexor probably in high school playing football, but it’s been so long since that happened I was in shock how much pain it was to walk. Of the group of us that went to Chicago I was the last to finish, as expected, and i eventually meet up with everyone in the post race area. AN extremely exciting accomplishment was my friend Joe- he qualified for Boston with a time under 3:15:00!! It was great to see him train so hard that and accomplish his goal! We eventually walked from the finish line area (north end of Grant park) to the Niketown store on Michigan Ave. We purchased some finishers gear and got my medal engraved with my name, time and “YOLO” (LOL)- which was offered for free by Nike.
Again, overall the entire race weekend was great! I got to eat some great food and spend time with friends and my wonderful girlfriend.