2011 Chicago Marathon – 3:45:26

The race didn’t go as I had hoped, but I will start from the beginning.

We awoke at 3am and I felt fully rested. Other than lingering tightness in my hamstrings I was feeling really good. My stomach was also feeling good, but no magic happened in the AM which is a sign I will likely need to stop mid-race at some point.

For fuel I had one Hammer Bar and one serving of Perpetum.

My race day outfit. No throw away clothes needed, it was 50ish degrees with temps around 67 when we finished, high for the day was in the 80s.

Coco is all race ready too.

We had no problem getting down to the start and meeting up with Drew. We parked in millenium parking garage at 5am before it gets crazy and then we wait it out at a local coffee shop. If you buy a small coffee you can chill and use their bathrooms.

Around 6am we made our way toward the corral area. By 6:30am we made it our respective corrals and waited in line at the porta potties one last time. Always good to go a 100 times if you have the opportunity. By 7:20 we are in the corrals and the 10 minutes fly by and we are off.

The weather felt perfect and my legs felt good. I was executing my pace as I had hoped. I hit 5K at 24 mins, 10K 48 mins, 15K 1:12 mins….like clock work the miles click by as planned and I feel really good.

By Mile 11 I know I will need to make a pit stop. At least my stomach isn’t rumbling with violence and it’s a normal gotta go feeling. I make my pit stop, putting my half marathon at 1:43. I wanted to be at 1:39-1:40, but I still feel good about a potential PR or at least being in the vicinity of my previous time since I had a pit stop last year as well. I see our friends cheering which was a fun surprise. By around mile 15 I get the gotta go feeling again, now I’m frustrated. On the positive it wasn’t the gut wrenching feeling, but another just gotta go. I’m annoyed to have to stop again, but I know it’s something I won’t be able to ignore. Now my pace is really off. I set back out to get in the zone and things get worse from here. The stopping doesn’t help my hamstrings. They feel REALLy tight. It’s mile 16 and I already feel a limited range of motion, shooting pain and I know that the next 10 miles are going to take forever.

Each mile the passes from this point forward the pain increases, my range of motion limits and I’m completely frustrated. My movement is more a shuffle than a run and I feel soreness in my feet and other locations and my body is compensating with my awkward stride. I’m now enduring this race. Around mile 19 or 20 a man comes up to me saying “Fly Runner” and introduces himself. I’m sorry I now can’t remember his name, so if you are reading this please comment! It was so nice to chat with someone at this moment since my body feels completely broken. I had become so disappointed in myself. It definitely helped to have someone take my mind off of it for a bit. He spots a loved one and goes to the side to get a moment with them and I shuffle onward. I hope his race went well and he enjoyed the moment. I was ready to be done, ready to say today was not my day and move on to the next.

I finish and am absolutely unhappy with how things went, but there is nothing more I can do. I make my way to the family meet up area and find Rob. I burst into tears hugging him saying how long the 10-11 miles feels when all I wanted to do was to go home because I was hurting so much. He comforted me and told me it’s another one done and that there are no promises that the marathon will go well, it’s a long amount of time for many things to happen. He reminds me that it’s another one done and there are many more ahead. Rob finished 3:33 and is feeling pretty good, just the usual soreness that comes with a marathon.

We meet up with our friends, clean up and have some lunch at Palmer House while we await news of Drew’s finish. Drew had a tough race as well, but finishes in 5:21 and adds his second marathon (two in the same year) under his belt. We meet up with Drew, Carrie and his family to hear about his experience. His family was able to see him multiple times on the course which had to be so awesome!

Drew’s mom gave us a little gift, gummy candies in the shape of sneakers, too cute! πŸ˜€

I’m not the best at putting these types of races in perspective. I know that running means getting disappointed sometimes and facing issues. Maybe I won’t ever PR again, who knows, but that won’t stop me from trying. I love running and I want to do this forever. So I have to just focus on recovering from my soreness and keep working on my strength and flexibility as I set my sights on the next set of races.

16 thoughts on “2011 Chicago Marathon – 3:45:26

  1. You did your best and you finished which is all that matters! I know many people say the same but you should be proud no matter what. So many people wish they can do one marathon yet you conquered many!


  2. 3:45 w/ two potty pit stops, that is still a great time! You are one very strong athlete and an inspiration to all, including myself. πŸ™‚


  3. Thanks guys! I really appreciate it. It’s hard to put in the time and energy hoping for a better outcome and it just doesn’t come together. I’m ready to recover and restart training. πŸ™‚


  4. Sorry it didn’t go as well as you would have liked. Just so you know-you are still my running inspiration. We all have let down races and you like you said, just hit the reset button after some race and there will always be another full for you to do . πŸ™‚


    1. Thanks Hollie! πŸ˜€ Even after 4 years of running, I’m still learning that disappointment is something that will come with racing sometimes. On to the next!


  5. A 3:45 on an off-day is still great! But I totally understand when you have so much time invested in training, you want things to go perfect on marathon day…I guess that is what is so bittersweet about the distance. Recover well, and go get ’em in Boston!!

    On another note-I wonder what are the chances of the Chicago Marathon organizers making this race later in October? Even with the hot weather last year, I still had fun and would love to get another shot at the course under better conditions. 4 out of the last 5 years being warm should be a sign…


    1. I haven’t heard any rumors of a date move. If I hear anything I will let you know. It always seems to be either really cold or really warm, no in between. I always have to pack for every type of condition.


  6. Hi! I enjoyed meeting you during the race and chatting for a little while. Indeed, at mile 21 I went to the side to steal a quick kiss from my biggest supporter and wonderful wife, something I really needed that far into the race to make those final five miles bearable… πŸ™‚
    Running through pain is extremely though, and it happened to me last year on this very course, so from my own experience I can say that you did an awesome job finishing in 3:45!


    1. Hey Werner! Thanks for saying something during the race and also for posting! I’m glad you god to see your wife, I’m sure it was a big help to see her at mile 21. I hope you had a great race and got a chance to enjoy the city!


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