Race Recap: Chicago Marathon

I know that it has been a while since I wrote in this blog, I am working hard to decompress from Chicago, not even a week removed from it. I definitely did not have a great race. It was a mental and physical screw up for me. And I do need to talk about that. This entry is going to be the race recap. So Spoiler alert. I ran 4:08. My second slowest race ever.

But I do want to review it fully, because I think that reviewing everything on the race might help me get more prepared for starting to train again, even if I want to just forget it.

So, I got my nails prepped pre-race, in order to do something that is not that normal for me before a race. I know that a lot of the elites like to make their nails match their kit or something, but I was gifted some nail stickers from my friend Kristen (my run lover from an Oiselle challenge several years ago) that she got from Sarah Marie Design Studio. And I liked using them and wearing them.
And they were marathon themed. I also had my race day outfit laid out to make sure that I was not forgetting anything. I did remember to bring everything, so I was happy about that, and I borrowed a handheld water bottle since I could not find the lid to mine. The weather was starting to look like it was going to be a little warm, so I wanted to carry to be safe.
I felt ready.

The next morning I woke up around 4 am to make coffee and sit a bit. I had plans to take the red line over to Grant Park and be there around 5:30. When I attempted Chicago 2 years ago, I got there much too late, and honestly, it really stressed me out because I pretty much had to go right into my corral, had no time to go to the bathroom, etc, and I wanted to make sure that I had enough time to make it work this time.

So I was there with plenty of time. Plenty of time to think. I literally text both my Coach, Mat, and my husband. I said that I didn't want to do this.. I don't know why I put myself through this. All of those things...  Finally Caroline arrived. She talked me off the ledge, and I got ready to run.
And then, we were off.

My watch went bananas in the first mile, clocking the first mile in 4:28 (Wow! broke the 4:30 barrier! *eye roll*) And then my watch was off for the rest of the race, so I hit lap on every mile that I remembered to hit lap (there are a few two mile laps in there. Oops.)

The run in general was relatively uneventful. I mean, there is just not much to report. I ran into Coach Mat around mile 6, he told me to be patient. I hit the halfway point slower than my goal, but at that point I didn't know how bad it was going to get quickly. I hit the half timing mat in 1:49:29. My splits got progressively slower after the 10K mark. I was not telling myself to slow down, I just was running and trying to move forward. In reality, the only times I was paying attention to my watch was when I was going through a mile (so I could lap the watch).

But although I was slowly down (and not noticing it), I was just running. I was just moving forward. And to me that was important. Right around mile 12 I ran past the aid station where I quit the race in 2015. When I passed that moment, I knew I was going to finish the marathon.

And I did. It was not pretty. After mile 14 my hip flexor started to KILL me. It was seriously causing me pain. It was my right side, and it was definitely the same one that gives me trouble on and off all the time. I have seen my PT/ART guy SO MANY times to get work done on this particular issue. I learned that I still have a lot of work to do because I had such issues in Chicago.

I started walking through waterstops just past the halfway point. I did that all the way through the remainder of the race. My paces were BAD despite only walking waterstops. I slowed down to something like 11:00min miles. I was thrilled to get to mile 17 where the girls were. And by "the girls" I mean, that was Cowbell Corner for my Oiselle teammates, and I was so glad to see them. I worked hard to pick it up when I ran through them, and that was difficult, but I am glad that I feel like I put on a brave face to see my friends.

I got through the rest of the race slowly, but uneventfully. I crossed the finish line and felt very happy to be done. It definitely put a bit of hunger in my heart to really race a marathon WELL, after I got better and started to feel more motivated again.

I finished the race in 4:08, and decided that I was going to never go back to a major marathon. Admittedly, I may make an exception for Boston, because Boston. But sitting around for several hours before the race, stressing and thinking, I just cannot make that work.

So the positives from this race? I finished. And I feel confident in my decision to skip major marathons.

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