Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Chicago Marathon Race Recap, Part I

So, here we are. 2 days later and I still can’t quite come to terms with the fact that the marathon is OVER. That I’m no longer “in training”. That I am a MARATHONER. It’s all too crazy to comprehend right now. So, let’s just get back to the review, shall we?
When we finished last time, I was walking out my hotel door and making my way to the start corrals.
Me in the hotel lobby heading out the door!
Our hotel was about a mile and a half to the start like, so it took me about 20 minutes to get there. There were TONS and TONS of other runners making their way there at the same time. Some were running, some were walking, some were wearing next to nothing, one was BAREFOOT (!!)… but, regardless of the differences, everyone was excited. You could literally feel the excitement in the air and the unmistakable race-day energy.
I got to my corral… to be honest, I have no idea when. It’s all kind of a blur. I do know I found everything no problem.  There were a LOT of people, but TONS of signage and lots and lots of very friendly volunteers who were helping people. 
I hoped in line for the porta potties (and the lines weren’t even that long!), did my business, and then got into my corral. I was in the 2nd wave, so I couldn’t get straight into my corral, as we had to kinda wait for the first wave to start. I don’t know. It was kinda confusing, but I just stood around until everyone else start moving. Great plan! 
I got into my corral and then the waiting game started. TORTURE, I tell you! Longest hour-ish(??) ever. Just waiting and waiting. In the COLD. I was just SO ready to start. In fact, I was SO ready that I made mistake #1 in the corrals. When I first got into them, I was right next to the 4:10 pace group. Excellent! But, I KNEW I was supposed to see the Hubs and all my other supports (best cheer group EVER) just after mile 1 and that I’d need to be on the end to see them… so, I separated from the pace group and made my way to the end, which start creeping forward and forward. I saw the 3:55 pace group go bye me before our wave even started, just from people pushing forward, inching toward the start line. I think this was my first mistake. I should have stayed with my pace group. I SHOULD have known better. Lots of should haves. 
Anyway, our wave started right on time and I was off! With in 10 seconds, my garmin started FREAKING OUT. I had heard this would happen, so I wasn’t surprised, but it still sucked. I had a pace tattoo of the times I wanted to keep, but it didn’t really help. I had no idea where I was in relation to the times and I just had no idea what pace I was keeping. I felt GREAT and tried to tell myself to slow down, but clearly that didn’t work. 
View from the Hub and Cheer Squad's first viewing place. They got there in enough time to see the CRAZY FAST elite runner's go by. SO cool! I'm jealous!
I was SO EXCITED when I saw the Hubs and all the  other wonderful people who came out to cheer for me at miles 1, 3, and 12—just where we planned (and, yes—I planned…. To the exact spot… it was SO helpful and I saw them and they saw me EACH time we planned for). They made a HUGE, WONDERFUL sign and were just amazing. I legit had to choke back tears each time I saw them. It was amazing. SO emotional seeing them each time. 
Why, yes-- yes I did make this from Google Maps and then added my flair (aka: orange stars for each place I'd see my cheer squad) in Paint. Skills, right there.
 Check out that SIGN! It was the BEST SIGN I saw all day! And, definitely the biggest! AMAZING!!! SOOOO lucky to have them!!! (Thanks to my FIL for the pic!)
Ok, so back to the running… honestly, miles 1-15 were a blur. A great, fabulous blur. I felt amazing. I felt fast. I felt fresh.
 Me, just past mile 3-- all smiles! (Thanks to my FIL for the pic!)
My garmin never quite re-gained it’s bairings… sometimes it’d tell me I was doing a 9:00 mile, sometimes a 26:00 mile, sometimes a 3:30 mile. It was completely useless. Based on my pace tattoo, I KNEW I was going too fast. I’d see that I hit the mile 10 marker 2 minutes before I was supposed to and TELL MYSELF TO SLOW DOWN… but, I guess I just didn’t. I did the beginners mistake #1. Big time. I just felt so good, that it didn’t seem to compute that I WOULDN’T feel good in a few miles because I was feeling TOO GOOD then. STUPID, MEAGAN. 
Hey! That's ME! SMILING!! This was when they saw me between mile 11-12ish. I was still feeling GREAT and SOOOO happy to see them!!!
There were times when I’d come up to someone also wearing a 4:10 or 4:15 pace group sign and I’d tell myself: “Run with them. They’ll be at your pace.” And, I’d stick with them for a few minutes and then freak out thinking “but, what if they’re going SLOWER than pace? You can’t trust THEM! What if they don’t know their pace just as much as you don’t know yours? Just pass them. It’ll be OK.”STUPID, MEAGAN.
I decided to forgo any of the water stops after the cluster f the first one ended up being. I decided I'd just use the water bottles I brought in my fuel belt for the first half and then hit the water stops the second half.
The Hubs LOVES this pic. This is AFTER they already started clearing out a BUNCH of the cups after one of the early water stops. Crazy!!
Anyway, I flew through the first half and felt great. I has music on the whole time, but couldn’t even tell you 1 song I heard. I tried hard to take in everything and read all the great spectator signs and just RUN.
Spolier: My second half splits are SO MUCH SLOWER than this. You've been warned.
As my Garmin never worked, the race stats are the only numbers I have for you. Looking at it now... yeaaah... 9:11 average paces?!?!? STUPID, Meagan!!!
I passed the half mark feeling great still. The miles kept ticking by. At mile 15-16ish I (right before the 25K mark) stopped for the bathroom. I had literally felt like I had to pee from the start, but ignored it because every time I saw a porta potty the lines were crazy! I didn’t want to lose time, so I kept pushing. Finally, around 15.5 I had to stop or I would have legit peed my pants. 
So, I stopped.  I waited a solid 5 minutes to get into the porta potty. Stupid lines. I think my 25K average pace would have been even faster than the Half pace, if it hadn't been for that stop.
Anyway, I was PISSED I had to stop and PISSED that there was a line and just immediately started mentally falling apart. My legs immediately tightened up and started having some intense spasms. Everything started hurting. I texted the Hubs when I was in the porta potty asking if I’d see them again b/c I really needed to know I’d see them again and telling him I was hurting—really badly. My mental game FELL APART in that porta potty. Hot, I know.  
Needless to say, it was all downhill from there. Running up to the porta potty line at mile 15.5-ish was the last pain-less, enjoyable moment of that race. But, I feel like i should say again-- I loved EVERY SECOND of this half. Every second. I vividly remember thinking "OMG! I'm running a MARATHON! I'm TOTALLY GOING TO DO THIS! I CAN DO THIS! OMG! I want to do another one already!!!!"
As a side note: I mentioned the water stops were a cluster. They were. Actually, the whole race kinda was. It was just SO CROWED. People would pull up and stop RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU outta nowhere the entire time. It was just so crazy. I had to zig and zag like a mad woman just to avoid plowing over someone who stopped outta nowhere right in front of me. It was SO crazy. I didn't train like that. I was not used to that. My body doesn't start and stop so suddenly like that. I literally had to come to a complete stop MANY times because the person in front of my would just STOP outta nowhere. I also took out about 10 different people. I almost got taken out about 2 dozen times. It was madness. I think a LOT of my aches and pains came from this. More on this in the next recap (get excited).
Second half still to come…

1 comment:

  1. That is the greatest sign ever- how freaking cool!!!!!! Bummer about your Garmin freaking out- mine has never done that before.
    Now that everything has sunk in are you ready to run your 2nd?????