Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Race Report: Chicago Marathon 2016

Race information

  • What? Chicago Marathon
  • When? October 9th, 2016
  • How far? 26.2 Miles
  • Website?


AHave funYes
BNo injuriesYes
CBreak 4 hoursYes


I entered the lottery for Chicago this year as a back-up plan.  The real hope was to run a BQ at St George the weekend before. Of course the hills and weather ate me alive there, but I still had Chicago to run. I hit the expo at McCormick on Friday evening and ran into so many familiar faces. After much chatting and buying some gear I had finally left after about 2.5 hours. I ran the International 5K on Saturday morning with Jennifer as sort of a shake out run. It was a bit chilly, colder than marathon day. I spent the rest of the day being relatively lazy. 
Race day I got down to the start with about 90 minutes to spare. I immediately lined up for the port-o-let and watched the other runners


Race day I got down to the start with about 90 minutes to spare. I immediately lined up for the port-o-let and watched the other runners scramble around in a frantic manner. I had realized on the train ride down that I had forgotten my gels, but I didn't panic. I had some candy on me that would have to do as a substitute and knew I could grab stuff on the course as well. I dropped off my bag at gear check and headed to the start corrals. It wasn't long before it was away we went.

Miles [1] to [9]

The early miles ticked away pretty steadily. I was locked in pretty much right at an 8 min/mile pace if not a hair under. I felt much better than anticipated which was probably helped by how relaxed I was at the start given that it was my 2nd marathon in 8 days and I had no intention of running for time. Thoughts of running a 3:30 soon creeped into my head even though I knew that would be pretty stupid of me to attempt.
Miles [9] to [17]
I used a restroom just past the 15K mark. I got back into my groove after exiting, but not for long. My quads started to complain so I dropped my pace a bit to see if that would help. They just screamed louder as the course wound through the west loop area. It was here that I noticed my watch went haywire. I would later notice that my GPS signal bounced over Lake Michigan and made it look like I was running on water. It added an additional 4 miles to my distance. I'm so glad I had set my watch for manual splits. Just past the aid station around mile 17 I pulled up to the side of the course to see if I could stretch and loosen up my quads. I felt a tweak in my hamstring and knew that wasn't good.
Miles [17] to [23]
I tried running again, but the hamstring wasn't happy. I began a stretch where I did a lot of walking and a little jogging. I knew I didn't want to drop out, nor did I want to walk the final 9 miles so I did what I could. This section of the race was a big of a slog even with the good crowd support in Pilsen and Chinatown. I really just wanted to be done.
Miles [23] to [26.2]
Once past The Cell I began to look for beer. I knew the Hash House Harriers usually set up in this area and that sounded magical at the time. I did finally find a group of people handing out beers and grabbed one and walked and sipped for a bit. I looked at my watch and realized I still had time to break 4 hours, if I hauled a bit of ass. I picked up the pace as well as I could, but still took long walks through the next couple aid stations. At mile 24 I realized I had about 20 minutes to cover the last 2.2 miles. I eventually picked up the pace for good. From the 40K mark to the finish (42.2K) my splits indicate that I had run a 7:25 min/mile pace would would mean I finished with my fastest mile of the marathon. After crossing I was still full of energy and more annoyed at everyone standing between me and the eventual beer. Just give me my medal and let me through!


I finally grabbed my beer, then my gear and changed. I went to the post-race party and had another beer and chatted with some friends for a bit before finally heading to the Weathermark to meet up with Bootlegger friends and swap war stories.