Chicago Marathon Not my Day

The picture above describes my day.   Thank you camera for explaining it all!  Not the Boston qualifier I was hoping for and not the race I wanted.   Final time: 4:13:39.   

I got to the C corral by about 7AM and moved toward the front and sat on the concrete for about 15mins trying to conserve as much energy as possible.   As they were introducing the elites, I tried to drink in all of the race day atmosphere.   I took a look around at the charity runners, a guy running in military clothing with a sign  (I’m running for those who can’t, one runner with a prosthetic leg and people dedicating their race to family.   Truly inspirational.  The great bunch of family and friends who wished me well were on my mind.  And the gang at the RWOL 3:30 forum who encourage, advise and inspire.  Runners are the coolest bunch of people I know.   As I looked directly above into the clear blue sky I thought, It would be really cool if we had a military flyover.   The roar of jets always gets my adrenaline going.   But I think the race director has enough to do without coordinating the Air Force.  It was warmer than we all would have liked (about 68F) at race time.   A great day to watch the race, not so much for running it.   I told myself that despite the weather, just enjoy the race because you can’t control the heat.

The opening song was U2’s Beautiful Day.   Wouldn’t have been my choice, but the adrenaline was pumping and any song kind of added more adrenaline.  My goal was to run 8:01 miles. We were off.

Mile 1: 8:02  How did that happen?  I never nail the first mile and always manage to miss the first mile marker

Mile 2: 7:51
Mile 3: 7:55
Mile 4: 7:49
Mile 5: 7:59  Better as we headed through the twisting and shaded section by Lincoln Park Zoo
Mile 6: 7:51
Mile 7: 7:52  My best MP run during training was 7:49 for 15 miles, so maybe I can do this.  Still easy.
Mile 8: 8:15  Hooked up with Justin (aka ARTeach) here, who is also a Brooks ID runner trying to run 3:30 from the C Corral.. We talked some and I think it prevented me from running miles too fast at this point

Mile 9 7:58
Mile 10:  7:59  I had arranged to see my family here in front of Twin Anchors.  A great rib place/bar where Frank Sinatra used to hang out.   My five year old son was jumping up and down and I gave him a high five as I ran by.   He talked about it the rest of the day.  The highlight of my race.

Mile 11: 7:58  Still on pace, but began to get this bizarre cramp underneath my ribs. The beginning of the end.  I NEVER get cramps.  Made it more difficult to run.  I though maybe I ate too much pre-race.  I later discovered it was a muscle that wasn’t fully healed from my fall three weeks earlier.  This doomed the rest of the day.
Mile 12: 8:44 Quick port a potty stop to see if I could rid myself of this awful feeling at the top of my stomach.  Lost Justin here.
Mile 13: 7:52

Mile 14: 8:53
Mile 15: 9:06  Slowed the pace to see if that would alleviate my pain.  It didn’t and then the pain spread to my lower back.   See picture above as I wince and grab my back.  The rest of the race was a death march.  Run/walking the rest of the way.   The pain and now the heat was too much to continue to run let alone run fast

Mile 16: 9:17
Mile 17:  11:20  Saw my parents on Taylor Street.  They told me later I was running like a well oiled machine.  Ha!  They just happen to catch me during my run part of the run/walk.
Mile 18: 12:01
Mile 19: 12:19
Mile 20 10:46  Not sure why I was faster here.

Mile 21-22 11:16 avg.  I lost interest in hitting the lap button on my watch as all my goals were now out the window
Mile 23 to Finish:  12:39 avg. 

Yikes.  It’s over.  Many runners laying in the middle of the street on Mile 25.  Sounds of ambulances in the background.  Certain parts reminded me of a walk-a-thon as many runners alternated running and walking.

I now know the pain a marathon can bring.   Oddly, enough I was not that upset.   My third marathon was a disaster.  IT was also by far the warmest.  I chose to look on the bright side and enjoy the spirit of all those first time runners.  All of those inspirational reasons to run.  Every runner a different reason.   I was proud of every last one of them.   At the heart of the marathon, this is what it is all about.   Not the race time, but the journey.  

Oh, I still have Boston 2012 on my mind.  But for now, I’ll step away for a week or two.  Recover and plan my next attempt.

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