I ran the Chicago Marathon this past Sunday. It was a terrific experience (especially now that I am viewing the race through rose colored glasses and the soreness is gone).
6:45 am Sunday: Jill, Andy, and I pose for the “before” shot.
It was hot, this I will not deny. And my watch malfunctioned a little bit, but I dialed into my pace, hitting mile after mile right at 9:55 or 10:00. I felt a little icky in the first couple of miles from nerves. At miles 6-8 I started feeling a little sore in my left hip, but that went away. By mile 11 I was happily cruising along in a little bubble of exhilaration. This mild euphoria lasted until around mile 19, when I started to feel the effects of the heat and my legs got a bit sore. From 19 to the end I stopped every 2 miles to spray with Salonpas (a big help) and I stopped at every aid station along the course to drink. It was much more fluid than I had planned on drinking, but it was very hot and I wanted to take necessary precautions.
Twelve miles in I am enjoying the race.
I finished in 4:32. I estimate I walked less than 5 minutes of the entire race - enough to spray, give my quads and hip flexors a little break, and drink (rather than slosh myself with) Gatorade. I was crabby and tired at the end, but I am so relieved that this went better than L.A. I am still riding that high 3 days later. I was nervous up until mile 17 that things would crash like L.A., but after I was still running past 18 miles I knew I would better my time.
I think the heat cost me 10 mins. Right up until the 30K mark I was on pace to run 4:22.
I can’t wait to do another, and to spend some serious effort now getting faster and stronger. I think I’ll wait another year and do Chicago again, and do some half marathons and shorter distances in the meantime to buy me the space for some speedwork.
Thanks to all my spectators, especially Ben (who was at miles 3, 12, 21, and 25), and to all of those who listened to my incessant marathon chatter for the last 7+ months, and who encouraged me along the way.
Andy’s triumphant fist punch underscores his joy in running the marathon.