Sunday, October 9, 2011

10/9/11: Chicago Marathon Race Report

Yesterday I ran the Chicago Marathon. It wasn't pretty and it wasn't fast, but I got through a tough race and finished in 3:33.

The weekend actually ended up becoming quite the family event. Jen hadn't been planning to come for the weekend but was able to get a last minute trip with airline miles. Then Christine and Adam decided to drive up from Indiana to join in on the fun.

Dad Lewellen was able to reserve the corporate condo right in downtown Chicago. It was an amazing place on the 39th floor with fantastic views of the city and the lake. We all hung out there for the weekend, and it was a ton of fun spending time with everybody in such an amazing location. The condo was also a very conveniently located for the race and made logistics really easy.

(View from the condo out to the lake)

(Nighttime view down Michigan Avenue)

The race itself was a really tough one. With very little training post Lyme Disease, I assumed it would be tough and that something would go wrong. However, I didn't expect that everything would go so wrong.

The race started off fine. I was cruising along and clicking off 6:45 miles basically until mile 10 or 11. I felt very smooth until mile 7 or so but started to cramp up a bit at mile 8. This has happened before and in fact happened at the same point during my 2:55 run at Philly in 2008. I hoped it would go away as it had before, but unfortunately that was not the case.

I started dialing back the pace around mile 11 to 7:00 - 7:15, and I felt pretty good until mile 14 or 15. I ran through halfway in 1:30 and was hoping that I could cruise the rest in 7:15 to 7:30 pace and still have a pretty solid sub 3:10 finish. Alas, that was not the case.

My legs started to get very tired in addition to the cramping in my side still continuing. Mile 16 to mile 20 were a grind, and I was slowing down a lot. By mile 20 I was toast, and my stomach was really starting to act up. I started focusing more on getting my stomach better, and it seemed to work for a little while.

But by mile 22 I was in rough shape and had to start mixing in some walking. I continued to spiral down and hit a low just after mile 24 when I threw up everything in my stomach. I was actually surprised I threw up, and it didn't feel the same as some times when it had happened in ultras. I think it may have been more related to pushing my body too far when I wasn't in great shape than specifically what I was eating / drinking.

I still felt terrible after throwing up but was able to run most of the last 2 miles to the finish.

So it was not a great race, but I suppose that is to be expected 3 months after getting Lyme Disease with very little running inbetween. I was happy I was able to push through the lows and finish the thing. I'm also hoping that this will help kickstart me back into being in good shape and that I can really get things back on track from here.

Chicago was a great race. Aside from having the amazing support of family being out there cheering, it was a really fun and scenic course. The logistics at the start were disastrous, but otherwise it was well run and well organized. It got pretty hot again this year (into the 80s on parts of the course), but the heat really wasn't too bad, and it was a beautiful day.

I hope to come back to Chicago someday, and I plan to run it a whole lot faster next time. Thanks again to the family for making it an incredibly fun weekend!

(Right around mile 4. Running 6:45s and feeling strong)

(Veering towards the family from across the street at mile 12 or so)

(Coming to say hi at mile 12)

(In a world of pain about 400m from the finish. I remember feel WAY worse than I look in this picture)

(That wave was about all I could muster at this point)

(Post race on the bridge across the river)

(With Jen, Christine, and Adam in front of a silly Marilyn Monroe statue)

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