Since I like stories, and I've been attempting to make this blog more pictorial, I will write this more like a narraitve of the weekend. Don't worry, I have some good pics and video (Yes my wife knows how to aim the ipad this time).
Unfortunately I took a whirlwind approach and planned to leave for Chi on Saturday morning. This was due to my transitory state of life when the cheap Porter flights became available in the summer. What does this mean? I would have loved to fly out Friday, but since I only paid a tiny bit for airfare, I didn't feel like forking out $2,000 more to fly early.
Going to the Island Airport is interesting. Parking is non-existant, so you're really looking at subway or cab. Subway had a fire, so cab it was. I'm a nervous flyer to say the least. Not in terms of crashing or hearing strange sounds, but rather in terms of getting there, on the plane, and having room for my bags, vs some one in the last row putting their bags in your trough and forcing you to use theirs. Various things like that. Porter did a great job. Was dissapointed on the lack of promised land food of milk an honey (ie free beer and other food). Instead it was butter cookies and heavily salted nuts. Did I mention I was maintaing my diet?
Chicago, and all that Jazz
After an easy flight, still no food, we arrive and take the L train in. I'm already impressed with the city. I've always thought that I should live in a more connected spot. Our subway is a cramped POS without humanity. Here on the otherhand I get on and find people who instead of trying to push you are actually offering you a seat. No strings attached. Very foreign concept! Not that a fit marathoner needs a seat, but its a nice gesture with all our bags.
Coming into the city is beautiful. I love rised level transport. I used to get giddy riding down the Gardiner coming to the skyline, and I even like *Gasp* Buffalo's highway that rides right through the buildings.
|Here's a pic of the city for the first time from the "L"|
Eventually I also got to eat... not a bad thing to do the day before a marathon, you know I don't think starvation is a good carbo load tactic. I
The World's Fair 1893 (or more modernly the Expo)
This was run very well. After getting a bus right away, I was already psyched up to be there. I was not dissapointed. Tons of people, tons of energy. Lots to see and all of it running related. I didn't even have to feign interest! I saw Hal Higdeon, Wesley Korir, I could have stayed to see Desi Davila, and more. Very cool.
I got my bib, found out that I'm no longer a Medium (hello Small) and went shopping at OwnChicago. Got a bunch of cool gear, saw a few more things, got a freebie at the Gatorade exhibit. All good.
Next took the bus back to Niketown and Garmin. This was exciting in its own right. I was a little disappointed at Garmin, it was too much of a store and less of a wonderland of gadgetry, but well I only hung out on the first floor. The guy wasn't even responsive to my joke about how the store wasn't a waypoint on my old 310xt and it was hard to find. I don't think he knew what a waypoint was. However it was cool to be able to try all the products on, see how it goes, and pick up some new gear right there and then. It's about time for an upgrade. Do I need a new watch? no, but the 910 is way cool, and well if I'm gonna be sub then I need new gear for swagger.
Niketown was very high energy. I'm happy that they really got the experience right. Tons of salesepople there to pump you up for a sale and help feed the energy of the day. Just what I wanted :)
We had a simple dinner. The restaurant was a simple Italian place. Very easy. Food came out super quick and we shared two plates of Gnocci and a Pizza. Yum.
Okay here's where most people will skip to... the important events!
Sunday morning I was in a good mood. I slept remarkably well, going to bed at 10 and getting up at 4:30. To me that's a full night's sleep so I was well rested to go. I was also able to find a whole foods the night before so I had my final 250ml of the good stuff, aka Beet juice. might as well continue it right to the end. I topped it off with a bagel, 5 hr energy (experimentation time..) a powerbar protein plus, and they had food downstairs for us runners (very nice! but a sign would have been good too..) so I grabbed a banana as well.
At 6:20 we were on our way out.
When I got up I noticed my coach emailed me with some last min goals and pacing strategy, largely with what I was expecting so I was good to go.
In a near freezing state (5degrees C) we go out in shorts, run gear, sweater, and a long sleve top (that became a throw away). It's quite fun watching all these people come out of every direction and we're all driven to one direction. We move without speaking and we all share the same feeling of anticipation. It may be cold, but no one is complaining. The alternative is much, much worse.
I got into the corrals quickly, saying good bye to my wife. Headed to A, and to my surprise, they had rows and rows of portos for each corral, thereby eliminating any line I would have normally faced. Organized well? Yup.
Into A now, shown my creds. and waiting around. Meet up w my crew, and surprisingly found the guys I met online to pace with. I was happy to have people to pace with.
I was feeling really relaxed at this point. Most of my nerves were spent yesterday with flying in, and getting the bib, fearing the crowds etc, and well I really didn't have anything else to fear. I was there. It was good to have people to talk to, really took my mind off the run. When the gun when off, I don't think I really noticed. It was more of oh - I'm feeling mellow right now, I guess it's time to race.
No adrenaline rush, no craziness, just let's run. We started off at a casual jog. At this point people are flying by, trying to beat the Kenyans or something. I don't know but they look crazy. One guy's running along a narrow curb that's in bad shape, and for what? is it a 100m race? who knows. Lot of people passing before they got caught or something. After getting out from the underground, we started to pick up the pace. Really this felt like a jog with 1000s of people. Cool. I was slightly worried that I didn't care or something and that this might be a long day. However I wasn't even scared about that. I thought for a second that this was going to maybe juts be an easy run and for a second thinking hey well what if I don't get 3? However, I was not concerned, and just kept running.
Mile 1 - 7:03 or something. Really 'slow'. I guess we sped up somewhere because it wasn't that slow considering how casual we started. This first curve onto Grand Ave for me is where the race really begins. There are tons of peolpe lining the streets (okay its only one or two rows deep but its really loud). And 2 levels high. This is practically my fantasy. I've waited for this since Feb when I signed up and I was in NYC and running down 7th Ave imagining what it would be like to run a city race. Okay I picture confetti or something too, real parade style, but this is pretty good. We're running the Chicago Marathon!
Mile 2 - 6:41 - okay so you realize I'm high energy now eh? This was a bit too fast, but I'm feeding off the crowd. Still not working, just enjoying the sights and sounds.
|Rollin' on by...turns out Nike copied our team colours|
Mile 3 - 6:46
okay on pace, good. Now going up LaSalle and settling into the race. However I loose my pacing partners in the crowds so I'm a little nervous but making sure my pace is controlled.
Mile 3&4 6:39
a little ahead of pace - I've lost my pace group and going a bit fast - still easy, but conciously triyng to keep it slow.
Mile 5-7 6:46, 6:46, 6:45 - caught up again with everyone, running easy through Lincoln park. After seeing the lights of Wrigley Field I made a decision. I was going to pick up the pace a bit. My goal was largely to wait til 10mi or the half, I started getting marginally faster around 8.
Miles 8-10 , 6:40, 6:37, 6:43
Now that I'm feeling good, its time to carry it. I have voices in my head telling me I have various options but I'm supposed to neg split. Go easy then turn it on. I've turned it on a bit, but its feeling very casual. I choose to stay with the pace.
Miles 11-14 , 6:42, 6:37, 6:38, 6:38
Now I come back into the city and its loud. Now I'm really feeling it, working my form, feeling like a rockstar and winning. Starting to feel this was the easiest half marathon I've ever run. So much energy coursing through me. I kept with my plan of taking gels every 5mi and continued along
Miles 15-22 6:34, 6:38, 6:39, 6:34, 6:38, 6:38, 6:45, 6:41
I guess I've settled into pace eh? This part is just trying to take in the sights (Little Italy, Little Mexico, Little Korea? and China town). I took in the culture, and pretended when they cheered loudly for whomever, I was also included and their energy was for me. I hit all my goals at this point and contiued the pace beyond 20mi which was the goal, and still shooting for a fast time. I'm pretty confident that I'm sub 3. I flirt with 2:55 etc. but I really don't know. It wasn't exactly a goal though I know I was definitely in the territory with all those 6:38s
Miles 23-25 61, 6:49,6:51
Now the race is probably its most boring. you're running along the highway, there's a lot of wind, and a bit of hills. My quads were feeling it a bit, but in all honesty, this wasn't much of a fade. I was still hitting the paces required for sub 3 (ie 6:50s) and I wasn't worried. In fact, after 24 mi I knew it was there. Now it's time to pick it up and bring it home
Mile 25-26 6:51, 6:42
Seeing my coach was good - telling me to pick off as many as I can. Good advice. Counting down the feet. See the large screen in the distance, turn the corner, see the hill. Run the hill, pushing it. Feeling body aching, turn the corner, down/straight, 200m or so left... push push and finish.... well under my goal!
26.195 - 2:56:23
|Split||Time Of Day||Time||Diff||min/mile||miles/h|
That was a 1:28:43 1st half and 1:27:40 2nd half - 1min neg split
After I head straight to the beer tent... get refueled.
Well after the race I nearly froze my butt off as apparantly I forgot 5c is cold, and after giving away 3000+ calories, I'm freezing. It was a cold long walk after meeting with my team mates back to where I was meeting my wife. When we reunited it was great. I got all the accolades from my family via text and life was good. A quick massage and then we're off.
The city was quite friendly with over 50 people congratulating me for the rest of the day. It helped that I wore the medal. Sunday I felt fine in the legs, but stomach wise I was wrecked. Monday we took a boat tour and my legs were wrecked. An older lady creamed me down the 3 flights of stairs to the wharf! We were both using the hand rails. It was cold but cool. I am very interested in buildings/architechure so I had a fun experience. A bit more warmer clothes and it would have been perfect.
The week so far has been good. I've been completely mellow. No regrets about leaving anything on the course, and no worries about the future. It's a good spot to be in, and when I decide on future goals I'll post them up.