Chicago Marathon 2016

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Chicago Marathon 2016

Postby WayneC » Tue Oct 11, 2016 7:43 am

Well, things went as expected, but not as planned or hoped for. I have been hobbled for several months with right piriformis and hamstring issues and more recently with a sore left heel. Training had been less than ideal, so of course so should be results, but I think it is good to set high goals. Reality raised it's ugly head in Chicago however.
It was a great day for racing with a starting temperature of 12 deg C under sunny skies and a light breeze. The CVRR gang of Brian, Danny, Mike and myself treated ourselves (and our supporters) to the VIP tent for the race. We had about 100 meters from our hotel to the private enclave of the Balboa Hospitality Tent. There we had a covered area with tables and chairs, a private bag check, a mass of porta potties, breakfast and lunch buffets with beer and post race massage. There were also big screen TVs and computers so that our supports team could monitor the race and our progress. (or just drink beer) There was also access to a private viewing grandstand at the finish line. In other words, pretty cush! We felt like stars. We did not hang out too long before stripping down and doing some strides and dynamics prior to heading for the start corrals.
We weaved along the side of the thousands of people already in their corrals and eventually made it to the A corral where we were lucky enough to be. We were only about 15-20 seconds off of the line when the race started. It was a nice wide start several lanes wide, so even with thousands of people, things spread out very quickly and I could run freely.
Our CVRR group had planned to go out together and test 4:13 pace. With all of the buildings around and a long tunnel shortly off the start the GPS watches were not picking up well however. My watch clicked off early at 3:50 and I knew that was not correct. 4:15 for the first Km off of Danny's watch and we locked that in for the first 5 km. It felt fast though and I doubted that I would be able to hold that for the whole race. Mike started pulling away from Danny and I as he was running more like 4:10 pace. Perhaps we would see him later. We covered the first 5 km in 4:15 pace and just relaxed as best we could, trying to keep the intensity even. At 7 km we were shocked to come up on Brian who was planning to go sub 2:50?! WTF! Right at that time the 3 hour pace bunny came up on our shoulder and went by Brian. We thought that would wake him up, and perhaps it did just a little, but it was not his day either.
The wind was moderate and definitely in our face at times. It was strong enough to be blowing the cups from the aid stations across the road, but not so much that it held us up too much. The roads were wide, although the pavement was pretty rough in a lot of places and there were a number of bridges with carpet attempting to mask the grates. The course is generally quite flat with some minor rolling. There are a number of straight stretches that went on for a few miles, but in other sections it was quite turny. Overall, I think it lived up to it's reputation as a fast course. There was also great fan support all along the course, although I could not tell where I was at any one time as the course weaved around the city. There were aid stations about every mile, which for me created more of a hazard than a need. I drank 12 oz of superstarch just before the gun went off and I carried one throw away 10 oz bottle of superstarch in my hand for the first 12 km, but took in very little after that. There was a hint of nausea in my stomach that made me nervous to risk much more. For the next 30 km I only was able to take in 4 oz, which might have hurt my performance for sure.
Danny and I slowed to 4:20 pace for the next 5 km and then 4:25 for the next 5 km. And so it went, as the pace slowly dropped off. :( Around 17 km I looked back and Danny had disappeared. I was on my own! :shock: The body was not feeling good. My left hamstring and glute were tightening and my tender left heel was breaking through the tape job I had done prerace. :( 4:27 for the next 5 km and half way at 1:32:06. I went by Mike at this point, limping along with a sore knee. :( I was reassessing my goals as I went. Sub 3:05 went out the window as the 3:05 bunnies and their entourage came barging through. The next goal was to keep in front of the 3:10 bunnies. Sub 3:07 perhaps. I knew that even with that time I had a good chance of a podium finish. (one of the advantages of getting older). The pace continued to drop however as my gait shortened with the tight hamstring and I pranced gingerly on my increasingly painful left foot. 4:32 pace for 20-25km, 4:35 for 25-30 km and 4:42 for 30-35 km. At this stage of the race there are three groups of runners. The first group are the ones who are dying. They were all over the place. People stretching out cramps, hunched over on the side of the course, or just walking. The next group are the ones who paced well and have something left and are actually racing to the finish. I was in the third group, those who are just hanging on. I tried to keep pushing, but 4:47 for 35-40 km showed I was done. Energy was low, but the nausea held me back from taking anything in. There was no bonking, but no push either. The final stretch includes a 200 meter "hill" of maybe a 5 degree grade. Normally not a problem, but tough at the end of the race. I ground my way up and then turned the corner for the final "sprint" to the finish. There was one guy from Portugal who I had been tracking and I moved past him just before crossing the line. Yeah for me! 3:10:48 finish time. 4:31 average pace and fourth age group.
Overall I was happy with the race and the finish was predictable based on my training and recent injuries. I was hobbling after the race with a limp on the right leg and I was only able to toe walk on the left foot due to severe left heel pain. In other words, I fit right in. :) I slowly made my way along the gauntlet of blankets and medals, fruit and protein drinks, power bars and beer!? :shock: Nope, not ready for beer yet. The nicest thing was a cold wet towel to wipe off with before meeting with my adoring admirers in the VIP tent afterwards. :D Ready for some healing time now.
Doc
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WayneC
 
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Re: Chicago Marathon 2016

Postby CGP » Tue Oct 11, 2016 10:50 am

Good run nonetheless Wayne.
Well, your age class winner, a Brian Pitcher sure went for a fast one; 2:42:44 & 1:16:34 for the 1/2 marathon point!
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Re: Chicago Marathon 2016

Postby WayneC » Tue Oct 11, 2016 7:46 pm

Yes, he was in a league of his own. American record time!
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