Sunday, October 19, 2014

2014 Chicago Marathon

Oh hello.

 Every mile was NOT magnificent...

Did you miss me?  I thought maybe you did.  I've been going back and forth about just shutting this blog down altogether, but then I also want to remember these races someday... and my life, since my memory is terrible...

So, what have I been up to?  Well, most of you know we moved.  Staging our house, selling our house, moving, being homeless, making offers on several different houses, and finally buying a house, and then moving into said house, have consumed pretty much the last 4 months. 

And guess what?  The house is 100% complete 1973 through and through, which means not ONE change has been made to it since then.  Not ONE.  So we have lots and lots and LOTS of projects ahead of us.  It's exciting and fun but also so overwhelming at the same time that you don't even know where to start because you want to do so many projects at once.  I find it hard even deciding what we should work on this weekend.  Is it the backyard, or painting the hallway, or painting the bedroom, or installing new light fixtures, or getting a new thermostat, or tearing the falling down fence down, or.... (the list goes on).
So. Much. Brown. Everywhere.

I also ran Hood to Coast (I should probably post about that at some point?), Baby J turned 1 (that too?), I started a new job, and now, I ran the Chicago Marathon.
You'll notice I didn't mention TRAINING for said Chicago Marathon.  I did, a little, but it was by far the least amount of training I've ever done for a marathon.  In the 12 weeks before (my normal training cycle time), I did Ragnar Ultra (that's good!), I ran 14 miles, did Hood to Coast, which was 17 miles across 24 hours, ran 10 miles, ran 17 miles, ran 13 miles, and ran 18 miles (in that order).  I should have done the 20 I planned to do instead of 18 but I let myself quit early.  Then Baby J got sick and then I got sick and I did not run at ALL during the two weeks between the 18 miler and the race.  I just couldn't.  Not deplorable but not exactly a perfect training cycle, eh?  
 Baby J's first plane ride!

Then let's talk about race weekend.  The day before the race I entertained a baby on an airplane for 4 hours (NO EASY FEAT!), didn't drink any water because I didn't want to have to get up to go to the bathroom on the plane, didn't eat any food until night just by accident because we were racing to get to the expo in time, and then for my one meal of the day I ate a delicious (but not smart!) four huge layers of cheese pizza casserole at the famous Giordano's.  Not exactly a recipe for success. 

So, let's sum up the race.  It was really three different races.
Race #1: The first 8 miles.  I ran the first half marathon, and although I didn't feel great, I felt okay the first 8 miles.  I knew my legs didn't feel fresh or bouncy or anything that you dream they'll feel on race morning - they certainly weren't raring to go.  But I was doing fine, taking my time, enjoying the crowds, having a blast out there on a gorgeous day.  

5K #1 Split: 31:52 (10:16)
5K #2 Split: 32:01 (10:19)
5K #3 Split: 35:27 (11:25) (this includes the pit stop in mile 9, and here comes Race #2...)
Feelin' great (but terrified) before the race!
Race #2:  The second 8 miles (miles 9-16).  Now comes the intestinal distress part of the race.  Thank GOODNESS the Chicago Marathon has a TON of aid stations (20 I believe, which is incredible), because I waited for and used the port-a-potty FOUR times during these miles.  Ugh.  I seem to have a race related intestinal disease, because while I didn't have an issue in any of my training runs, I've now had issues at Ragnar, Hood to Coast, AND now Chicago.  I stopped my watch each time and these four stops added up to 15 minutes by the end of the race.  Fun times. 

Despite this, I ran the entire first half marathon (except for these stops and walking through aid stations) and finished in 2:17 (not including stops).  But the last few miles I was promising myself that if I just made it through the first half I could start walking after that.  But after I started walking, it was pretty much impossible to start running again. You can see that I was still trying to hang on, since these include stops.

5K #4 Split: 38:38 (12:27)
5K #5 Split: 35:22 (14:35)
Such a great cheerer!
Race #3:  From 16 to the end.  After my 4th port-a-potty stop in mile 16, I suddenly felt better!  My stomach problems were gone!  I was ready to run!  YES!  I felt great.  EXCEPT.  Except.  Except when I started running, I had incredible shooting pain in my right knee.  No wait, it was in my right hip.  No wait, it was in my right glute.   Basically, my right leg hated me.  Whoever invented the IT Band has another thing coming.
At Mile 17
The weird thing is, I never once had any IT Band during any of my training runs either.  Though I'm sure taking two weeks off before the race didn't help in this case.  So I kept starting to run again, and I would have to stop after only a few steps because my knee would hurt so bad and I would fear I would do real damage, when what I was really trying to do, but get a personal worst by 20 minutes less?  I just wanted to enjoy the rest of the trip and sightsee and I didn't want to be crippled!  So I walked.  But man.  It takes a LONG time to walk that far.  And my knee was still killing me, it was just killing me less.  So those 10 miles were 10 miles of pure torture.  Not to mention that they were pretty embarrassing at first.  As everyone else cruised by and I'm the ONLY person walking.  The last 5 miles or so were a lot better because tons of people were walking by then.  I did try to walk as fast as I possibly could, mostly because I just wanted to be done!

5K #6 Split: 51:16 (16:30) - Yep.  Ouch.
5K #7 Split: 50:41 (16:29)
5K #8 Split: 48:15 (15:32)

But then I was finished!  Thank goodness. My finish time was 5:55:48, my watch read 5:40 (without the stops). 

And marathon #4 was in the books!  Only TWO HOURS off my PR.  Ha.  I'm on the every two years plan (2008, 2010, 2012, now 2014) so I'm relieved I'm off the hook until 2016.  I'll have to plan another bucket list race for then - maybe NYC (if I can ever get in!) or Big Sur?  
Lots of delicious pizza & Portillos eating and sightseeing ensued.
This race was GREAT though otherwise.  It was flat as a pancake, I can't believe it's even possible for a race to be so flat.  On the one hand, that was lovely, but on the other, I don't think it helped my knee.  I'm more used to the rolling hills of the PNW.  The crowds were INCREDIBLE!  Incredible.  They say 1.7 million people spectate this race which is hard to believe, but there were sooo many people.  I wore my name on my shirt and they were all shouting it and that was so great.  Elvis and the Beatles sang to us on the course and cheerleaders did cheers and people made crazy signs and it was just awesome.  TWENTY aid stations were amazing and I was certainly never hurting for water.  I do wish they'd had more bananas earlier, I think the faster people ate most of those.  I totally recommend doing this race - it's a true bucket list race and I'm so thankful I got to go and experience the race and Chicago with my family and bestest friend.  

So long folks!