Running took me and my friends (DFMC friends and Team G) to Chicago this past weekend! After having gone on a few destination race trips, it is not always the race that defines the entire weekend. Sometimes it is what you do before and after the race that makes your weekend even more memorable. I had a blast in Chicago and running the marathon was only a small part of the weekend! =)
Andrew, Joe, and I flew into the Windy City Friday morning. After checking into our hotels, we went to the expo to pick up our numbers. I was very impressed by the efficiency at bib pick up! After a volunteer scanned my pick up card, I was directed to a counter and the volunteer behind that counter called out my name as I approached the counter! My information popped up on her iPad screen as I walked to the counter, but I like to think that she just recognized me from other marathon expos. haha=)
After a few hours at the expo, we went on Chicago Architecture Foundation’s boat tour on the Chicago River. In 90 minutes, we learned a little about Chicago’s history and saw the city from a different view point. Seeing the city by foot is very different than seeing it by boat! I would definitely recommend going on one of these tours if you are going to Chicago.
Saturday morning, we went to the Runner’s World Shakeout Run with Bart Yasso. We ran 3 miles along Lake Michigan and took in some amazing views of the Chicago skyline. Runner’s World had breakfast for us after the run and Bart shared some of his race stories and race tips with us. Afterwards, we walked back to our hotels with a stop along the way to see the Bean!
I read a Runner’s World article before the race that advised runners to be smart about pacing in the first 10 miles of Chicago as many tend to go out too fast because it is flat and fast. My plan was to run conservatively until the half and if I felt good, I would try to run a negative split. Unfortunately, I felt mini cramps in my legs throughout the race so I just maintained my pace because I feared that if I pushed the pace, it would bring on a full charlie horse.
Crowd support along the course was amazing and it helped distract me from my leg cramps! There were DJ’s and bands placed throughout the course. I had the most fun reading all the signs that spectators were holding. Here are just a few for your reading pleasure:
-“Do Epic Shit” (the girl holding this sign also had a matching shirt that said the same thing. #hardcore spectator)
-“You’re running better than our own government.”
-“Don’t stop” That’s what she said.
-“Runners are rockstars!”
-“Run like clowns are chasing you.”
-“Chafe now, brag later.”
-“Run like the wind.” (this was a common sign given that we were in the Windy City)
I will never forget running into Chinatown and seeing an elderly Chinese man enthusiastically showing me the peace sign (#hardcore spectator!). It was awesome. Some pork fried rice would have been a nice snack in Chinatown! It would have made me run a little faster in those last few miles!
Overall, I had a great time and managed a BQ! I am wicked proud of Andrew, Sarkis, and Joe for running PR’s!! I would definitely run the Chicago Marathon again. It was very well organized (minus the registration fiasco) and there is a lot to do in Chicago besides run!
This is the second time I have run sub 3:35 and knowing that I did not push the pace because of muscle cramps, I have hope that I can break that 3:30 barrier one day. I am looking forward to NYCM and what 2014 may bring! More PR’s for everyone, I hope!
Number of Finishers: 39,115
Men’s Champion: Dennis Kimetto (KEN) 2:03:45
Women’s Champion: Rita Jeptoo (KEN) 2:19:57
Men’s Wheelchair Champion: Ernst Van Dyke (RSA) 1:30:37
Women’s Wheelchair Champion: Tatyana McFadden (USA) 1:42:35
My Finish Time: 3:32:40 (BQ!)
Andrew: 3:53:34 (PR and first time breaking 4 hours!)
Cousin Dave: 4:00:31