Sunday, October 8, 2017

Day 1, Week 6: 2017 Chicago Marathon: Will take bananas from complete strangers.

Some running nuts such as myself like to accidentally (or, as some nuts do, intentionally) sign up for marathons on back-to-back weekends.  In case you haven't been following along, I ran Twin Cities last weekend and Chicago today.

If you ever either accidentally or intentionally find yourself in a similar situation, let me give you some advice on how to accomplish this feat and survive:

  • You're going to have to give up a time goal for one (or both) of them.
  • You need to pace yourself during both races; don't destroy yourself on the first race or you're going to suffer A LOT on the second race.  I mean, you're going to suffer anyway; it's a marathon for cryin' out loud.  But the goal should be to reduce suffering, not increase it.
  • To help in that "reduce suffering" goal, make sure you take it easy during the week between the marathons.
  • Make sure you fuel properly before both races and eat well before each race.  Also make sure to eat right to give your body needed nutrients during the week between the races.
  • Get into a good mental headspace in both races.  Remember, your mind gives up long before the body does.

So of course I violated every one of the above tips.  Surprise!  I had time goals for at least parts of each race that I was going to hit come hell or high water, I completely destroyed myself at the first race, kept on training during the week in-between, kind of ate crappily this week before Chicago, and was pretty much ready to sit down today after mile 22 but didn't because 40,000 people trampling you just cannot feel good.

But I hit my goals.  That's what matters, right?  That and the bling.

Bling bling!

And now, let's race recap.  But I won't bore you with a mile-by-mile breakdown, because I don't even remember most of the miles--just things that happened.  Instead, let's break this race down into two big parts: the Training Run and The Rest of the Race.

Part #1: The Training Run (13 miles at 9:35 pace)

First, I got my warm up in during the walk from the hotel to the start line.  Saw some tall buildings and some neat-o Art Institute lions.

See the "26.2" in that red building off to the left?  I know you do.

I was lucky enough to be in the last corral, L, which I determined was for lovers, not losers.

It was a beautiful morning for a 13.1 mile training run.  Others were there for a race, though, that was longer than my run.  I just went along with them.

I froze in that tank top for a good 50 minutes.  That'll teach me to check
my sweatshirt in my gear bag so early.

And before we knew it, we were off.  And I was running a good 9:35 pace...and then those pesky tall buildings kept messing with my Garmin and it kept telling me I was running a 16 minute pace.  LIES.

So I had to run the first half pretty much by feel until about mile 8 or so, when my watch told me I did an 8:38 pace and I was all HOLY COW but didn't even slow down that much because I am stupid.

Nothing says "Training run done!" more than a selfie with total strangers.

So, as usual, I ran the first half way too fast. And by "way too fast" I mean a freaking sub-2 hour half marathon (1:57!!!).  So much for a 9:35 pace, eh?  Just in case you were wondering, that's an 8:56 pace. This came back to haunt me in the second half of the race.

Part 2: The Rest of the Race (aka My Legs are Really Tired Now)

Not too much to say about this half of the race, other than I tried to just run 10:30s from miles 14-16 and I felt like I was just never going to make it that way--not after busting out a sub-2 first half.  So I whipped out the old "run 5 minutes, walk 2 minutes" strategy and did that from about mile 16 onward.  That really got me through to the end of the race.  Below is a quick run-down of anything notable that happened on the back half of the course:
  • So many runners touching me.  So many.  *sob*
  • When a volunteer slaps you on the back and you realize you're sunburned
  • Yay cold sponges!
  • So hungry by mile 19.  SO HUNGRY.  I grabbed any banana from any human I saw holding one after that...I ended up eating at least 4 bananas from mile 20 onwards.  My next race shirt should read, "Will take bananas from complete strangers."
  • Lots of stupid poses for race photogs.  Some of them unknowingly involving other runners around me.
  • Literally singing through the last mile.
  • To the dude that stopped suddenly in the middle of the course on Mt. Roosevelt (the last little hill in the race about 600 meters before the finish) to bend over and do some stretching: I'm sorry for almost knocking you over, but dear Lord give a girl some warning before you stop suddenly in front of her.

I managed a 4:36:00 finish time (my watch below said 4:31 and some change, but who's counting?  Oh, wait, they are; they counted my two pit stops and the time in mile 19 when I had to get a rock out of my shoe) which, people, is only 5 minutes slower than last weekend.  See what happens when you lose 15 pounds and start lifting the weights and bike riding?  At least that's what I'm blaming this craziness on.  Damn you, fitness and healthy eating.

Seems I ran an extra mile zigging and zagging around people.  So I really ran an ultra.  Woot.  It was also my 26th marathon...a mile for each one.

BTW, I am not Hannah Bradford.

Dallas (my goal marathon) will be my 27th; no more back-to-back craziness I swears.  Really.

Some marathon morals:
  • Is that last sentence a lie?  Most likely.
  • I literally growled at a spectator trying to cross the road in Chinatown who almost made me run into her.  Not my finest moment.
  • The one word that could define this race would be "zig-zag."
  • Is a hyphenated word one or two words?  Buh.
  • It will be interesting to see how the training week goes with its "12 x 400" and "18 miles" and all.
  • No bacon cheeseburgers on the course.  Totally bogus.

Tomorrow's workout:  Maybe weights...maybe nothing.  Maybe some other race photos where I ruined it for other people that I just found....

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