Let's start with the end: I finished the marathon in 3:03:17. My streak of sub-3 hour marathons has ended at three.While this race was tough, there was nothing that really surprised me about it, though the end of a marathon is always harder than I remember the last one being.
Chicago is a fun city and Laura and I really enjoyed the Chicago Marathon. Our hotel was out by Chicago Midway Airport, and public transportation to the expo and the start was a breeze. We rode the train and bus to the expo on Saturday afternoon, and after spending some time at the expo getting free stuff and eating free samples, we went with our friends Brit and Jared to grab some pre-race pasta.
The next morning we got up early to catch the train to the start and get ready for the race. The start line was pretty crowded already at 6:45 AM, but it was still easy to get to everything. We took a couple of start line photos, then headed to our respective corrals for the start.
After waiting about ten minutes for a port-a-potty, I made it to the start line with about fifteen minutes to spare. With five minutes to go, I threw off my Goodwill sweats, and shivered slightly until the start.
As the race got going I knew I was dressed perfectly besides not wearing my sunglasses. The forecast said it would be "mostly cloudy," but at the start of the race and for almost the entire time, there wasn't a cloud in the sky.
During the fist few miles I chatted off and on with another Team World Vision runner, Andy, about our past race and race goals. I settled into a pretty good pace of about 6:45/mile, and felt really good.
Honestly, for most of the first 20 miles I felt really confident that I was going to get my "A" goal of under 2:58. My legs felt good and the pace felt nice and smooth. Then, around mile 21, I started feeling it. I did a little quick math and knew that if I could run right around 7:00/mile I would break three hours, my "B" goal.
Unfortunately from mile 21 on my pace got slower and slower. I was getting passed by a lot of runners, and every time I tried to speed up I couldn't hang on to a faster pace for more than a minute. My legs were very heavy and I was really hurting.
I tried to pick it up at the end, but even that didn't happen. Oh well. It was a fun race and it was cool to run through the big city with so many other runners. The crowd was awesome, the course was flat, and the weather was near perfect.
Laura also finished the marathon, and I was super pumped for her. She's been dealing with a foot problem for months, and we were both glad it held up and that she was able to finish the marathon.
So far I've helped raise over $1100 to bring clean water to communities in Africa. The Team World Vision post-race party was pretty awesome with pizza and soda and dozens of other World Vision runners. I can still accept donations through mid-November: fundraising page.
Chicago was a great race and I definitely put it up there on my list of marathons. I don't know if I'd do it again, but I wouldn't rule it out.
After running my second slowest marathon (not counting
pacing), I will say I'm really motivated to improve my training. I've
already got my sights set on a PR next fall. Fortunately I'm feeling
completely healthy and I'm headed into winter training motivated and in