Two weeks after the marathon isn't exactly timely for a race report, but I'm on no deadline and for all I know, no one reads this anyway. I mean, who really cares about what jane regular does in her marathons and training?
This is probably the most ironic marathon I have run. Finally, I was at home for it so no long plane ride, no hotel make-shift coffee and oatmeal, and not a whole lot of extra effort going into packing, planning and missing my family. I even knew the day by day weather forecast changes and was used to running in the weather Chicago was experiencing.
I also felt the best I've ever felt leading up to race day. My head was the most positive it's ever been and I was mentally ready for the challenge. By listening to my body through my entire training plan, I got through injury free and was still able to complete all my long runs and come pretty close to the mileage I've done in the past.
But as I learned once again, the marathon is a LONG way. Anything can happen.
Probably the biggest thing to go wrong on that day was that it reached 85 degrees by 11 am. At mile 5 or so I saw a bank temperature of 74. This was close fairly close to the lake too. I was relatively relieved to see this because I felt pretty much like a garbage dump at this early point in the race. By the time I got to Chinatown, about 20 minutes later than planned, another bank thermometer read 84. I had pretty much checked out by that time so it didn't phase me, or challenge me in the least. I was laughing about it by then.
What are the chances - two years in a row Chicago has record temperatures on Marathon day? Enough so that I don't think I'll be running Chicago in the next few years. I think I am really cursed at that race. It's crazy.
So here's the mile-by-mile report:
Jody, Matt and I took the train in and dropping our bags and relaxing before the start was seamless. Around 7:15 Jody and I headed over to the corrals and make one more pit stop. The lines for even the corralled port-a-potties were insanely long. The only good part about waiting in that line was that I ran into an old friend whom I hadn't seen in years. Eventually Jody and I gave up and squatted behind the port-a-potties. This was bad for me because I perhaps needed to do a little more than #1. Apparently though, a guy near us thought nothing of it and relieved himself much like a dog.
I decided to just ignore the pending urge I may have and stop around mile 4 if need be. The first few miles are fast enough, I could use the little break, I thought.
The first few miles were fast - 7:37 and 7:49 - but not so fast I was near my red zone. What I did notice right away was that it was really hot with all those people. There's a lot of body heat with all those people. So I slowed to about 8:07 and then found myself running with the 3:30 group. Perfect. I stopped to pee at mile 4 and the 3:30 group was so huge that I hopped right back in.
So the miles went by. Never really feeling settled into a pace or rhythm by mile 8, I started to worry a bit. Sometimes it takes a good hour to feel good. By mile 10 my Gu was just so unappealing. My head started to pound and feet were getting slightly heavy. The sun was just pouring down and water wasn't quite doing the trick. They has so much water this year - the commentators at the aid stations repeated - "take as much as you like runners! We have plenty for everyone!" And really, I think they did.
By the half-way, I was tracking to finish in 3:31. But I had it by them. I figured if I slowed to 8:30s for a while, I could still probably beat my PR of 3:36. But west of Halsted is sort of no-mans-land. I mean, the miles from 14-18 are no-mans-land anyway, but do they really have to put us there? It's very exposed and the road slants down from the center so the optimal place to run is in the center, totally away from any possible shade. By now, it was near 80 and the race organization had changed the alert to Red. Meaning - be very careful and slow down a lot.
Once again, for the 3rd year in a row, I cracked at mile 15. Damen and freaking Jackson. Barry was there and we decided I'd run to mile 18 and then decide if I should finish. This may pass right?
It didn't. But Barry said I needed to finish this F-ing thing. Don't let this Marathon get me again. Right. Damn Chicago weather. So I kept on. Barry ran with me until about mile 19.5. I tripped a man-hole cover. That's how little my feet were moving.
And the rest of it all pretty much went down hill. It took me 56 minutes to run the last 10K. But it was more a walk/run. I walked through the water stations and then some. Swore. Laughed. Planned my next race (Yes, really. But it certainly was NOT going to be a marathon. Maybe a 10K or heck, 5k. Or maybe I'll just do yoga). And hoped Jody wasn't mad I was taking so long.
Then I remembered my last blog entry about the mantas I was going to use when the race got hard. I really had to laugh at these because there really was no positive thought entering my mind. I repeated them, and here's how my oh so happy brain talked back:
- Do you want to make you goal today or not?
Nope. This is way too sucky to do that.
- Stay strong stay strong
How can I possibly STAY strong when I'm a weak pup right now?
- You don't want a disappointment today
Oh, I've got one already.
- Stay strong today
Maybe I could if I ever was.
- Don't give in
- It's your head not your body that's hurting so move it
No, believe me, it's my body.
- You can rest when it's over
Ok. That will be very nice. But I really think I could just walk a little longer here. I'm already way over my goal time.
- You've been through this before and you know what to do
Yeah, the last time I ran in the heat like this I quit. So I'm even dumber this year.
I'd rather just forget that race ever happened. No more Chicago Marathons for me!
Afterwards, we all went out for beer, which I could only drink one because I felt so crappy, and some yummy vegan food.
The following week was indescribable. I've never felt that tired, drained, and just pooped after an event. I had nothing. Then I got this illness in my throat, which has since moved to my chest and head. 10 days of it and I'm giving in and seeing a doctor.
As for my next race, well, I may do something in late November low key (think Turkey Trot). Or I might just try to relax, get fat and run when I feel like it. Bt mostly likely, I'll start upping my mileage around 12/1 so that I'm good and fit to start training for Boston 09. I'll let you know when my vacation is over next week.