Monday, October 10, 2011

Chicago Marathon 2011- I did it!

Picture from Chicago Expo Nike booth- this says how I fell today a day following the Marathon- I did
"Own It"!

I can't believe it is over.  I can't believe how hard and fast I ran.  Unfortunately I didn't get my PR of   4:23:21 which occurred at the Chicago 2009 marathon.  However, as I've told many of my running peeps following yesterday's race I'm surprisingly feeling o.k. with the fact that I didn't get my PR.  I really felt I ran my best race for yesterday.  I've had many emotions during the week up to the marathon, yesterday and today.  Last week I was feeling hypersensitive to any pain my body was experiencing.  Yesterday, other than the pain most people experience while running 26.2 miles I didn't have any monumental pain.  Today, the only pain I have is in my quads walking down stairs- which is strange because I had no quad pain all yesterday. 

The race was typical for me in the aspect of me always going out faster than I normally do.  I struggle with whether this hinders me or helps me.  If I went out slower would I be able to go faster in the long run? or would I still feel totally done in the middle (which historically I have noticed the last two marathons experiencing mental and physical fatigue midway through race)?  Maybe next year I'll try to slow the beginning down, but in all honesty probably not.  I felt like this marathon was the most congested for me running.  I did a lot of bobbing and weaving in the beginning trying to get past people and trying to get out from behind 6 ft or taller runners who were blocking my ability to see the street and what was coming in front of me (Chicago streets can be hazardous to runners if not running with eyes ahead looking for divots/pot holes etc).  Mile 4-5 I was running along at a good pace and felt a tap on my shoulder- I thought it was another runner trying to get by me- I received a couple of elbows by other runner either trying to pass me or I pass them- nope here is my college friend who I haven't seen in probably 2 + years  (we were in each other's wedding- that kind of friend)  tapping me on my shoulder to say "hi" as we both ran.  I checked her time today- she did great!  I did struggle a tad with whether I should stay with her- were we going to reconnect with chat on the course or was it all business for chattynatty- it was all business.  Seeing her messed with me a little bit mentally- we were very close during college and during both our weddings and then our friendship lost its closeness and so I started thinking about the typical: what went wrong, etc?   Then I got a grip about 2 miles later and refocused my energy and mental focus on the job at hand.  I saw my family around mile  3, 13/14 and then again at mile 16.  I love knowing that they are going to be there cheering me on.  Before I saw them at mile 16 I hit a little block because I had to eat my sports beans.  I'm not very coordinated when it comes to eating GU, eating beans, or drinking from an open container while running.  So the only time I walked during the race is through every Gatorade/Water station (which they had one at almost every mile on the course) and when eating the sports beans.  I tried running and chewing beans in the past and almost gagged myself- so walked while chewing the beans- looking back maybe I walked a little too long there, but really that was the only time I walked.  Of course when you run for that long and aren't extremely fast you always want to walk, but my thought process was if I walked that was time I was losing and I really wanted to try and beat my PR.  It didn't work out, but again feel lucky to have done my best.  Below is a copy of my splits- what I ran at different times of the race. This to show all you runners how even when you don't think there is anymore to give you can kick it in at the end- I love kicking it in at the end.

My age group was 30-34 (I'll be old lady next year with 35-39 year olds :).
Place for age 860, Place total 14995 and time total 4:27 :08 (10:11 min mile-average)

Split             Time        Min/Mile    Miles/Hr
5K/3.2mi     00:28:01   9:01            6.66
10K/6         00:57:28    9:29           6.33
15K/9.5      01:27:24    9:39            6.22
20K/12.5    01:58:32  10:01           5.99
half             02:05:23    10:04          5.97
25K/15.6   02:31:28   10:46          5.58
30K/18.7   03:06:30   11:17          5.32
35K/21.8   03:41:01   11:07          5.40
40K/25      04:13:41   10:31          5.70
26.2           04:27:08   9:52            6:09

I saw some great signs yesterday- there is always the infamous "Free Beer for Runners"- I definitely don't take advantage of that offer- I can't handle open containers of Gatorade/Water let alone an open container of alcohol.  There is also the infamous: "Don't Poop Your Pants"- I fortunately have not ever had that urge or done that during a race (very gross but it is known fact that some runners just are so focused on running their fastest they don't stop if the urge occurs).  Another favorite sign about Pride in Running- I agree with this sign and it is so applicable to all runners- there is so much pride in getting it done, no matter your finishing time.  I always get teared up running this race because so many runners have shirts stating what charity or whom they are running for- "In memory of mom", one lady running for American Cancer Society chartiy had all of these pictures (almost like ribbons) hanging from the back of her shirt with different people's pictures and date of birth - date of death noted below picture.

I feel good about this marathon and I can tell that I feel good, because I'm already excited to plan my races/training for next year, including trying to run Chicago again and beat my PR next year.  I have other ideas/goals when it comes to running in the coming year, but I'll save that for another day.  I know this is getting long, even for chattynatty, but I want to close with a couple of big "thank you's".

I was amazed by some of the cards/ well wishes I received last week from people who I least expected to receive a word of encouragement from.  These cards and well wishes mean a lot!  Secondly to all my friends who have helped me get through this past summer with "fish tank" accident and then the diagnosis of my dad's cancer- despite these events you guys were there to help me not only with my physical disability with running but some of my mental roadblocks along the way.  To those who donated to Girls on the Run- International (130 runners raised $100,000 which will support 600 runner's scholarships to participate in the program). To my BRB (best running buddy)- Melanie- Our runs together mean a lot to me- it was easier to get out at 5:30 am. and get the miles in. Looking forward to many more years of running together. To my amazing family: especially my sister who is always there to help and support me in everything I do, my sister in-law who has put me and Matt up starting in 2003 when I first ran chicago and subsequent year's of one of us doing the race,  my parents (including awesome in-laws who are likes 2nd parents to me) who help watch the kids so we can get our runs in and who were there on the sidelines cheering us on, my kids who have never asked me why I run or cried about me having to leave for a run, and lastly my husband who has worked his own training schedule around my own, helped me revamp my training schedule when I was freaking out about missing all of June running, and says at the end of the race "I'm so proud of you".  I am lucky- so lucky to have my running buddies, friends and family who support my craziness!  So as I'm finishing this post I'm finishing my first beer after a month of no alcohol prior to the big race- Cheers! Here are some pictures from the weekend.

Hal Higdon talking at the Chicago Marathon Expo- he is the guy whose marathon training schedule I have followed every year I've done the marathon, other than this one d/t decreased training time.  His new book is out and it is on my "to read" running book list.

Me on race day- My shirt is white in this picture, but midway during race I looked down and it basically looked like I was sweating "poop"- serious no idea what happened, but my shirt after race had brown stain at my bra line- the shirt is back to looking like this, but no idea what that was about.  My marathon aroma during this race was little much.  Towards the end of the race I realized that the bad smell I was blaming on other's running around me, was actually coming from my own body- basically imagine smelling a homeless person in 80 degree weather who has run 26.2 miles- that's what I smelled like- I know too much, but typical chattynatty.

Me waving with the skyline in the background at mile 13/14.

Girls on the Run International gave all my supporters Cheer Squad shirts.  The kids had fun at the race cheering me on, but notice how the guys in the picture chose not to wear pink- John Henry, and Mason wanted nothing to do with the pink :).  That's o.k. I needed a shirt to change out of due to the sweet smell of accomplishment I was wafing everywhere.

Again- how lucky I am to what I have!


  1. LOVE this! Can't wait to continue training and planning our next race. You are the only reason I keep going... thanks for all the years of support, and here's to many more!

  2. Great job! I have committed to doing Chicago 2012. My first half is at the end of this month. I am so excited! Congrats on a great race!!

  3. Hot Mama- if you can run 13.1 you can run 26.2. Looking forward to seeing you out there for 2012- I'm planning on doing the same.

  4. BRB- can't wait to run a 13.1 race with you and then talk you into a 26.2 in the future!