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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

2006 Chicago Marathon report

Well, a good bit of the Chicago Marathon is a still a blur (both figuratively and literally), but here goes...when I decided to run the Chicago Marathon as my first marathon, I had several goals in mind, with varying levels of realistic-ness:
  1. Run it in <4:00
  2. Run it in <3:30
  3. Run it faster than Oprah (4:29:20)
  4. Run it faster than Bobby Flay ran the NYC Marathon (4:10:08 - going into the marathon, I remembered it as being sub-4:20, but I didn't know specifically what his time was)
I pretty quickly discarded the <3:30 goal. I'd been doing well in training, and except for the ankle sprain, all of my recent training runs were feeling great, and were faster than planned. I still didn't think I'd run sub 3:30, but was confident I could finish well below 4:00.

We drove up to the pre-marathon expo on Saturday afternoon, and I picked up my race packet, tried on some shoes I'm considering for next season, and high-tailed it out to the hotel as quickly as possible. I considered buying a set of throw-away tyvek clothes for the start, since they were predicting temperatures in the 40s and a 70% chance of precipitation, but decided not to. We'd booked a room at the Allegro Hotel, so we parked, fought our way through a large wedding party in the lobby and got checked in. Much to my pleasant surprise, we got upgraded to a large suite.
Suite at the Allegro Hotel the night before the 2006 Chicago Marathon

Suite at the Allegro Hotel the night before the 2006 Chicago Marathon

Had a light dinner @ 312, then off for a good night's sleep (hah!) - interrupted by nerves, a toilet making mysterious bubbling sounds that turned out to be due to our upstairs neighbors draining their whirlpool at approximately 2AM, and the usual city sounds. I got up at about 5AM, had a light breakfast of soy yogurt and granola, and met Josh downstairs at about 6AM to walk over to the starting line.

It was cold and a little drizzly/misty at the start, and I was cold in my compression shorts, technical shirt, arm warmers, skull cap, gloves, and black plastic garbage bag, so Josh and
I hung out in the merchandise tent for a while to warm up a bit before the start of the race, then proceeded to the starting line.
Josh and I at the starting line of the 2006 Chicago Marathon
We ended up near the front of the open start corral, and crossed the starting line only about 4-5 minutes after the gun start of the race. My plan was to run fairly even splits after the crowd thinned out a bit (which I expected would take a few miles after the start), walk through water stops, and run the rest of the way. I'd brought 4 flasks of Perpetuem, plus 1 flask of Hammer Gel, planning on consuming one flask of Perpetuem every hour (consumed in 15 minute increments), plus 1 serving of Hammer Gel at the top of every hour (see my previous post for details on gear, etc)

I started off the race feeling fantastic, albeit a bit cold, ankle feeling great, and ran through the first 7-10 water stops (I still got water, just didn't walk through the water stations as I'd originally planned, which was a mistake). At some point during the race, two of my full Perpetuem flasks fell off, which meant that I only had half the fuel I was planning on, and I cannot stand Gatorade Endurance Formula, which is what was provided at the aid stations. Once I realized that'd happened, I decided I'd ration the Perpetuem I had left, and use extra Hammer Gel that I'd brought with me for emergencies if needed. I was still feeling pretty good up until about mile 19-20 or so - at that point, the wheels starting falling off, so to speak. I cried my way through most of China town, and by the time I got to Bronzeville, I was reduced to a walk/shuffle, with shooting pains in my pelvis and the ankle that I sprained on Wednesday. I'd pretty much resigned myself to walking the rest of the marathon at that point, when three things got me going again
  1. Being passed by Hi Guy (I passed him shortly after that)
  2. Hearing another Buffalo Warrior yelling "Buffalo!" as he passed me (Thanks a bunch, Pat - I don't know if I could have gotten going again without you)
  3. Realizing that both walking and running hurt the same, and that walking slowly wasn't making me feel any better

At that point, I was able to run a good deal of the rest of the race, picking up the pace in the last 800m or so to pass a number of runners. I ended up finishing in 4:10:07 (unofficially), which means that I beat Oprah and Bobby Flay, but did not make my goal of finishing in <4:00. I got my space blankets, medal, and checked bag, and shuffled, staggered, and dragged my sorry ass to the Art Institute to meet Kathleen.

Walking (slowly) to the steps of the Art Institute after the 2006 Chicago Marathon

Kathleen met me very shortly after that, wrapped me up in my space blankets, and got me out for some chili/indoor heating, as I was starting to exhibit signs of hypothermia. I'm still feeling really chilled really easily, and my ankle's in not great shape, but I'm definitely on the mend.

After heading back to Josh's house to chill out for a while (no pun intended), we heading down to Goose Island for post-marathon beer/burger/socializing with Chicago runners/bloggers, where I had one of the best burgers ever..
The best burger in the world, eaten for dinner after the 2006 Chicago Marathon
Ladies and gentlemen, the Stilton ("a half pound of black pepper crusted burger, grilled and topped with roasted garlic cloves, Stilton cheese and Düsseldorf mustard on a pumpernickel roll"), served rare with fries. Not pictured is an order of buffalo calamari and two pints of stout.


Full Metal Lunchbox said...

Next race, fried pickles!

9:37 AM  
Baby Toby said...


4:19 PM  
Anonymous said...

Yay you! And you are INSANE, but, still, YAY!

11:29 AM  

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