Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chicago Marathon 2010

We flew up late Thursday night and took a cab over to my friend’s house. I got up Friday and had an easy 5 mile run with 3 - ¼ mile surges at marathon pace. I got back to the house and went off to breakfast. After that, we took a cab to the Expo. Sunny, Christopher and I met up with both on-line forum friends from all over the country and local friends from Dallas. I purchased my gels, Body Glide and race-day socks (I often do the big “no-no” and purchase a pair of socks at the Expo and wear them for the first time in the marathon). Once done at the Expo, we went to lunch, back to the house to relax, and then to dinner. Basically all weekend was eating and commuting to the next meal. On Saturday I got up and went out for my Aussie Carb Loading run. 2 mile warm-up and it was really bad; my left glute was pretty painful. I kept stopping and stretching it and still it hurt. Once I got to the last 3 min all out, everything felt good, so with a lot of concern I was ready to move on to the carb load. Another three meals and an easy day lying around the house and I was ready. I got to bed by 9:30 Saturday night. I usually sleep well before a marathon and I got 7 ½ hours Saturday night. Got up Sunday morning at 5, and took a cab to the start. Ran into several friends, took my stuff to bag check and got into the corral.

Mile 1 - 6:53. The first two miles were crowded and the GPS is useless under all the bridges and tall buildings. I missed the first mile marker so I averaged the first 2 miles. It was around 62 degrees at the start.
Mile 2 - 6:53. I see Sunny, Christopher and John for the first time here.
Mile 3 - 7:03. Steve and Shaheen take off in front of me but I am taking a very conservative shot at sub 3. I know with the temps, a PR is the more likely outcome. I take my first gel here.
Mile 4 - 6:56. I am running with Paul and Chad at this point. The pace is easy and these guys are very funny. Paul knows this course like the back of his hand, so he is coaching me where we are turning ahead of time.
Mile 5 - 6:50. I am starting to feel good and I figure it is time to get on pace if I want a shot at my ‘A’ goal.
Mile 6 - 6:52. We are moving nice and easy and each mile feels better than the last. Still I know the shade and cooler temps will not last much longer.
Mile 7 - 6:52. Our pace is very consistent. We probably run past Wrigley somewhere around here, but I am terrible at noticing things as I pass them.
Mile 8 - 6:53.
Mile 9 - 6:47. Somewhere along here we lost Chad. I take my second gel.
Mile 10 - 6:53. Paul and I catch-up and pass Shaheen. This mile is about the best I feel all day. I am thinking I can hold this pace another 10 miles and then see what I have.
Mile 11 - 6:53.
Mile 12 - 6:56. Paul starts to pick up the pace and I am holding steady.
Mile 13 - 7:08. Oh, I seem to be slow for some reason. I should have pressed a little more here, but that is the challenge of the marathon… You should just run what feels good because when you start pressing at mile 13, you are going to be mentally worn out by the finish. I see Sunny, Christopher and John here and I throw my shirt to Sunny. The people around her thought she was a groupie picking up my shirt.
Mile 14 - 7:05. Now I am thinking sub 3 is not going to happen but if I can hold around this pace I can have a good PR.
Mile 15 - 7:08. I take my third gel here.
Mile 16 - 6:59. I am happy I am able to break 7 min pace if only so slightly. I see the family here for the third time.
Mile 17 - 7:15. There goes the pace again… Why can I not press a little harder at this point? It’s like I am scared of the heat, but the legs feel fine.
Mile 18 - 7:08. This is where I pass Steve. I try to keep up the pace so he doesn’t pass me right back. I don’t look back, but I figure he is right there.
Mile 19 - 7:15.
Mile 20 - 7:21.
Mile 21 - 7:29. Wow, how slow am I going to go? I remember when this pace was good in a marathon.
Mile 22 - 7:26. I now start to do the math: If I can drop it back down to 7 min pace, maybe a can get a 3:03.
Mile 23 - 7:33. Down the stretch I notice relative to everyone else I am pretty consistent. I am passing a lot of people. There are some people that will run fast for a ½ mile and then walk.
Mile 24 - 7:28.
Mile 25 - 7:24. I feel OK and the legs feel good, but still this is my pace. The sun is pretty hot by this point. I am really struggling with the math. I think I might need a 6 min mile to pull off a PR.
Mile 26 - 7:08. I get to the 25.2 sign, and I realize I only need a 7 min mile for a PR. I see the family here for the 4th and last time. I am pushing the pace pretty good here relative to mile 26. I pass about a dozen people going up the last (and only) hill.
Mile 26.2 - 1:34. It was in the upper 70’s and sunny by the finish.

Total - 3:05:48. PR by 28 seconds.

I finished 923 out of 36,159 runners; 106th in my age group

This was more like my ‘C’ goal, but considering the weather, I am happy with my time. I still think I can push a little harder, but it is always hard to know when to pull off the gas and preserve yourself for the last 10K. That is seven marathon PR’s in a row: Chicago 2008 (3:28); White Rock 2008 (3:25); Austin 2009 (3:23); St George 2009 (3:11 - first BQ); Houston 2010 (3:09); Boston 2010 (3:06); and Chicago 2010 (3:05). Currently, the ultimate goal is to break 2:50 -- The Berrones Line. I like to shoot high.