I survived yet another Chicago Marathon!!!!
This year I went to the race with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law. Instead of driving all of the way into the city, we parked and took a train into Chicago. Brilliant! So fast and stress-free!
The expo was full of energy, as usual. We caught the tail end of a talk by Paula Radcliffe, took a zillion photos, and ran into a few runners that we knew, which is always fun. I find that races are like fabulous reunions for runners.
After a pre-race dinner of burger and fries, we went back to the hotel and crashed. It was a long day of travel and I wanted to rest my legs. I laid everything out for my race, FaceTimed with Adam and went to bed.
Throughout the night I woke up every 1-2hours. So excited and nervous!! I got out of bed at 5:15am and promptly ate my breakfast of bagel and banana. No coffee. The no coffee thing is new for me, but with all of my weird GI issues during this training cycle, I chose to avoid it. Got dressed, took “before” photos, popped my Imodium and met my awesome support crew to walk to the start line.
(Yes, I dressed like a box of highlighters, but I don’t care. All of these pieces are my favorite and so comfortable!! Plus, it made me easy to spot on the course)
The security points were super quick this year, perhaps because I was there pretty early. I made to Port-A-Potty stops and headed to my corral. Definitely regretted not wearing a trash bag to keep me warm from the wind while waiting to start, but I survived.
Going into the race I knew my gps watch would be useless as Chicago has so many tunnels and tall buildings, so I chose to run mostly by feel. This was a challenge initially as my legs were frozen and so tight from shivering for an hour at the start line. Immediately upon starting, I started my mantras. Last year these proved to be helpful in keeping negative thoughts at bay during the race. This year’s mantras were: “I am strong. I am determined. I am powerful.”
I had the plan to take my Maurten gels at mile 4.5, 9, 13.5, 18, and 22. This plan was followed almost perfectly, except for the last gel. My stomach was so full of Gatorade I just couldn’t take any more. Unfortunately, because they’re so expensive, I found the Maurten gels to be super effective. They are the only nutrition I’ve ever taken where I’ve felt a difference during a run. Never did I feel I really hit a wall. Let’s be clear though, I was in a great deal of pain for about the last half of the race. My right IT band and hamstring were throwing a fit and my entire core was grumpy.
A PR this race was out of the question, so my primary goal was to beat last year. This was to be the beginning of my comeback, and that helped me dig deep and push to the end and finish under 4:30. Not a fast time by any means, but it was 25 min faster than last year. My goal is to shave off another hour. A very lofty goal, but I think it’s absolutely doable.
I learned a could of things this race:
- I still need to do more strength training on my core and hamstrings. This is the best cross training I’ve ever done in a training cycle, but I still have a ways to go.
- I need to I corporate more yoga and stretching into my training. Once again, I did more yoga this cycle than ever before, but not enough.
- I’m severely short of protein. Endurance athletes of my weight need at least 100g of protein a day and I’m typically getting well under 50g. This didn’t occur to me until after the race and I was wondering why I was always seemingly sorer than other people. Then it hit me: my muscles don’t have enough protein to build and repair!!!
Not my fastest race ever, but feeling super pumped to be on my way to a comeback.