Chicago Marathon 2017 Race Recap

Race #135
Marathon #10
State #7
Illinois Marathon #7
2017 Race #18
2017 Marathon #2
Chicago Marathon #1
Marathon Major #1

I enjoyed this race so much.

Going into this race I had three goals
A (extreme reach) – BQ – sub 3:35
B (reasonable reach) – Chicago Qualify – sub 3:45
C (reasonable goal) – sub 4 hour, technically sub 3:56 aka 3rd fastest marathon

After my test half a month ago, I decided that the A goal was pretty much off the table unless all the stars aligned. With the alert level at moderate, I took that goal off the table completely.

Then at Charlotte when I earned that 1:50 with relatively easy effort, I decided that a 3:40 would be completely reasonable. With better weather, I’m sure that would have been a slight stretch but doable.

Chicago Marathon 2017
Chicago Marathon 2017

We arrived super early. I ended up waiting a while without my jacket since Mom couldn’t come closer to the corrals with me. I didn’t mind that much and had enough time to cycle through the relatively short portopotty line twice. (The longer lines occur at the portopotties inside the corrals. I stood in that one for a little while, just in case, but then ended up heading back out to the corral. I stood relatively near the 3:40 pacer thinking that I would try to run with that group and just drop off if the pace ended up being too fast.

I lost the pace group early on but didn’t stress. Instead, I switched my screen over to the heart rate screen aka the blank screen and left it there the entire race.

I decided to run by pace and not worry about anything else.

I struggle with remembering minute details about many of these miles, especially the early, really good feeling miles. The one thought I do remember had something to do with thoughts of turning my music off since a lot of the time I could barely hear it.

I also decided to take Gatorade at every water stop, starting at the first one. I even managed to drink it while running, a major feat for me. I barely spilled anything on myself. When I did, I just wiped my face to get some sweat and then rubbed my hand so it wouldn’t stay sticky. A tad bit gross, I know.

I also really enjoyed having my name on my shirt. Laura came up with that idea and provided the duct tape, sharpie and handwriting. Every so often I would hear a cheer for “Jeni!” At one of the hydration stations, I even got a “Jen-nay” as in Forest Gump.

Mile 1: 8:33
Mile 2: 8:07
Mile 3: 8:17
Mile 4: 8:10
Mile 5: 8:18
Mile 6: 8:32

For some reason somewhere in mile 7, doubts started to creep into my head about my ability to finish the race. I still felt great. The temps had yet to heat up. These doubts come in to just about every one of my long distance races. Thankfully these lasted just a few miles and I continued on the race, on pace, for the next several miles.

Mile 7: 8:45
Mile 8: 8:41
Mil 9: 8:45
Mile 10: 8:47
Mile 11: 8:42
Mile 12: 8:45

In the 12th mile they handed out Gatorade Chews. I have used these before so I grabbed a pack but waited until I crossed the halfway point before I managed to get the pack open and pry out two chews, barely getting the second one out. If I had any criticisms of these chews (which are actually my favorite out of the various brands I have chosen) it would be that the packages are notoriously difficult to open, especially while in the middle of running a marathon.

By this time, the temps had started to warm up. I started to notice this when I no longer had to wipe the sweat off my face. That’s never a good sign. I still felt relatively good and strong. Plus, I looked forward to just before mile 16 where Laura and Aaron would be spectating in front of one of their friend’s houses.

After crossing the half marathon mark, I started trying to remember which side of the road I needed to be on. Even though I asked specifically, my running-drained brain could not remember. Thankfully, I picked the right side and got a nice boost of energy when I passed by. Laura noted that my speed increased after I passed them. Ah, that wonderful placebo effect.

Chicago Marathon 2017
Chicago Marathon 2017
Chicago Marathon 2017
Chicago Marathon 2017
Chicago Marathon 2017

Mile 13: 7:57 (I should have not been going anywhere near that fast.)
Mile 14: 8:13
Mile 15: 8:39
Mile 16: 8:53
Mile 17: 8:47

During the 18th mile, my legs started to feel fatigued, not fatigued due to lack of fitness but heat-induced fatigue. I wondered how I would be able to make it to the finish at this pace. A temporary boost of energy came from a rude runner who side swiped me somewhere within the mile. Arm bumps happen, especially in a race this size. Every time that happens, I say “excuse me” or “sorry!” If it happens to me, the other runner usually says something similar. Not this time. I muttered “excuse you.” She shot back. “It’s a race, honey.” The “honey” is what did it for me. That’s what galled me the most. Afterwards I wish I had been able to think of something like “It’s been 17 miles and I haven’t run into anyone yet.” Instead, I just shot back , “when you run into someone, you say something.” She simply glared at me and kept running.

This indignation fueled me for the next couple miles, almost to mile 19. That’s when the heat started to get to me. I knew it would likely be a bit of a slog to get to the finish. I thought about walking at mile 20. I walked a little but my stride felt weird so I started running again. I thought that I might walk at each mile marker but by the time I got to mile 21 I thought that I would definitely make it to mile 22. That was a mistake.

Sometimes during this these few miles my left big toe started to hurt which perplexed me a bit. Recently, I had twice developed a blister on the big toe side of my second toe. It only recently healed so I decided to put a bandaid over the sensitive area, just in case. This turned out to be a terrible idea. When I finally took my shoes off, I discovered the the bandaid had rubbed a nice dime-sized section of skin off of my big toe. Yeah. No wonder it hurt. (I’ll spare you a picture.)

I definitely had slowed down by this point.

Mile 18: 8:52
Mile 19: 9:09
Mile 20: 9:06
Mile 21: 9:40 (reflecting the walking at mile 20)
Mile 22: 9:05

I barely made it to mile 22. I cannot believe that my pace was that “fast.”

I ended up walking at the water station just beyond mile 22 and ended up walking through the entire hydration station. I took two cups of Gatorade and then two cups of water. I wondered then if my sub 4 hour goal was fast flying out the window. I wanted to check my Garmin but refrained.

From there, I tried to pick the pace back up by my jog was barely a jog. I ended up walking through each water stop save the last one which also happened to be the only one I did not take hydration at.

I wonder if miles 23 – 24 had some sort of incline. I thought I might have to seriously slog to the end. After mile 24 and a half or so, my legs started to feel decent again, not great mind you, but enough so that the idea of jogging through the final hydration station became a possibility.

I did wish that my duct tape name had stayed on through the whole marathon. I really did try but somewhere between miles 17 and 23 it blew right off. Yeah, that’s marathon brain for you.

I managed to jog through the end not looking at my Garmin until after I crossed the finish line and stopped the time.

Mile 23: 10:13
Mile 24: 10:17
Mile 25: 10:10
Mile 26: 9:38
Last “.2” 8:40
Final time: 3:55:49

Chicago Marathon 2017

Even with the heat, I am more than pleased with how well I ran this race. I think my training lacked what it would take to get to a BQ. If the weather had cooperated, I think that this race would have been my second fastest race rather than my third.

I had so much fun running this race! I can’t wait to run it again, whenever that may be.

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