|Race Report - The Chicago Marathon
||[Oct. 12th, 2016|04:06 pm]
Jeffrey, Jeff, or Jeffy
Last Sunday I ran the Chicago Marathon. It was my first time ever in Chicago, my 3rd marathon outside of California, and my 19th Marathon overall.|
They call Chicago the Windy City, but personally I never found it especially windy. (But then again, I was there in the mild month of October.) And Marathon day was no exception. The day was clear and cool with a few clouds. I made it, along with the rest of the mob, early enough to particiapte on my corral's eight AM start. The thing is, around eight o'clock my corral wasn't anywhere near the start line. It would be a little more than an extra half hour before I finally crossed the line with my herd.
The day before at the Marathon Expo I attended a Runner's World forum, and one of the running coaches recommended running the first ten miles as one would a training run, so you could spare yourself for the latter part. I decided to follow that advice. It was also ideal since my PT Jessica Greaux, (Of Innersport in Berkeley,) had been coaching my running, and I paid a lot of attention to my gait and cadence as I tried to pedal my feet and move the ground underneath me, rather than slapping my feet on top of it.
The first few miles were just fine. Many runners passed me up as I tried to pay attention to my pace and not get carried away. It wasn't long before we hit our first water stop. I walked through each and every water stop on the course, and kept running otherwise.
By mile four I felt I had hit a good stride. We had already passed many cheering supporters and lots of rowdy Cubs fans. (I was tempted to yell out "Giants in five!", but I didn't have the heart.) We curled around downtown a few times, and one part of the metal bridges over the river were covered with a thick, felt material, propbably because of the gaps in the grating. It felt really nice on my feet, and I wondered out loud to a fellow runner why couldn't the whole course be covered with that stuff.
There is one weird thing about Chicago: My GPS kept getting all funky. My normally reliable Android did have some problems locking onto a GPS signal. And my Garmin has been one of the most reliable pieces of technology I ever owned, but when it was trying to measure my pace it was all over the map. At times it reported me as running five minute miles, and at other times twenty two minute miles. (Eep.) I am honestly not that fast or slow. Occasionally it would report credible pace, but it frequently dropped out with one of those extremes.
The weather remained cool, with nice breezes wafting by. As the Sun got higher, I braced myself for warmer temperatures. Even though it was my first visit to the city, I've heard plenty of times about how Chicago Indian Summers have baked many a' marathoner. But by mile eight it was still quite cool.
Even though I had pledged to hold back until mile ten, I ended up hitting the jets and pushing it a little more by mile eight. I just couldn't take it anymore. I tried to keep a good, steady pace throughout, only taking walking breaks at water stops, though this marathon had a lot of water stops!
By the halfway mark I still felt good and strong. It was at the halfway point that I started seeing people slowing down. The weather was still mild and cool, but many people were starting to walk. After a few more miles, some of those runners were walking with hands on hips, or trying to stretch themselves out. It was all too familiar, the signs of hitting the wall. I know how it feels, though by mile sixteen I had not hit the wall.
Mile sixteen is when I strapped on the iPod. Time to bust out the tunes! My sore-ish ankle and slightly tight IT bands had not bothered me at all so far. In fact, they felt a little better. The Sun had still not gotten too warm, and I was still maintaining a good pace.
For the next four miles I started passing people up. By mile twenty all I did was pass people. Holding myself back was paying off. I did feel something of a lull in my body after mile 22, and I was wondering if I was starting to hit the wall, but a few cups of Gatorade and one gel shot later I was cadencing along as before. I ran the rest of my race at pretty much the same pace I had started out with. My time was not at all impressive, (Especially because of excess early porta-potty stops, AKA I had over-hydrated,) but I ran the whole race and kept up my pace, running this as a training run for my next marathon, which is coming up in just a few months.
On the course: Dancing dinosaur. A short woman pushing a standard baby stroller. (Tried to talk to her, but she replied in a thick Chinese accent "No good English.") One fire fighter in full fire fighting gear. One Roman Emperor. A couple of Wonder women. A few fellow Ragnarians. Can-can dancing ladies on a stage. (Several of the dancers had beards.) Two runners in striped prison outfits. Best sign on the course: "After the marathon you'll look like this"; Two arrows on the sign pointed to sleeping dogs on the ground.