Yesterday I was blessed to run my 22nd marathon and my 12th Chicago Marathon. While my finish time stank, I am so happy with my race.
My goal this training cycle was to create good habits. While not doing my workouts for a specific time, but doing the proper workouts. For the first time ever, I regularly did speed-work. I have a history of doing track workouts for a couple weeks of the training season and then stopping. This time was the opposite. I as able to get TWO 20 mike training runs in before race day (he last several cycles I was lucky enough to get one!). And finally, my hydration in the weeks leading up to the race was much better than previous races.
On Saturday (the day before the race), I stopped my intermittent fasting regimen and made sure that I ate three solid meals. Sunday morning we woke up, had oatmeal and a smidgen of coffee. That’s when i realized I didn’t pack my Imodium. I ALWAYS take Imodium before a marathon. After convincing myself I’d be fine since my training runs were fine, I suited up for the race. It was sprinkling when we left the hotel, so I slipped a trash bag over my body to stay dry and warm. Security felt a bit more thorough this year, but I still managed two port-a-potty visitors before the start. I took off the trash bag 5minutes before our wave took off. Within 10seconds of me removing my protective layer it started to rain. It was light at first, but it had varying degrees of heaviness for the first half of my race. Not awful, but not fun. It was in the low 60’s, so not too cold, but when the rain really let loose or when a gust of wind off the lake hit…BRRRR!
Because of previous year’s failures in races, I had two goals: better nutrition and positive thoughts only. I had the goal of taking in one GU Roctane gel every 45minutes throughout the race. I have NEVER done this before, (I usually managed 2 or 3 for an entire marathon) but i was determined to not hit the wall at mile 3 like I did last year (that was a dehydration issue, but nevertheless I had some nutrition work to take care of too). I’m proud to say that I followed my nutrition plan to a T! I also was determined to follow the advice of Deena Kastor and Paula Radcliffe: positive thoughts only. While it felt hokey at first, I repeated three mantras: “I am awesome. I am strong. I am fierce.” (I stole them from spectators’ signs). Super silly feeling, but by repeating them my brain wasn’t able to think about the pain or fatigue of the race. A HUGE win.
Other small wins: I finally found a good pair of shoes for me to run in. No blisters or calf/hamstring issues like I usually have. (Nike Structures in case anyone is curious)
Now for the big fail/reason for my slow time: GI issues. I have NEVER had such a problem during a race, but there’s always a first. My tummy started feeling icky just after the first quarter of the race. Not to get too graphic, but I was forced to use the port-a-potties twice during the race and had to walk (and pray) for a while before each one. Lost a LOT of time because of that. Not sure what the issue was, but let me assure you that I will NEVER forget my Imodium again.
– To the lady at mile 5, no, I am not almost there.
– It is always surprising to me how much makeup people wear to run a marathon.
– I am always surprised at how extremely overdressed people can be.
– Loved the new course. Wasn’t a big change, but definitely more scenic.
My finish time was awful, but I am so greatly encouraged. My legs felt strong despite my GI distress, and I made a lot of progress in my race plan, which means my next race can be SO much better.
Happy trails, friends!