Chicago Marathon 10-10-10

(aka the marathon that will live in infamy)

So yesterday, I finally did my second marathon.  In short, it was a terrible day for me.  One thing went wrong after another.

Here is a recap of the day’s timeline:

– 5:40 get up

– 6:30 leave the house

– 6:45 dropped off at wells/jackson, have to walk east to the start line

– 6:55 get in the port-a-john line (because it’s better to take care of this before rather than after) (lack of a certain item left me unhappy)

– 7:19 get out of port-a-john and hear the national anthem playing.  Try to get in the chute.  Have to walk south to finally enter.  Keep trying to walk north.

– 7:28 finally get to pace group.  No sign of Ken or Pete.

– 7:30 race starts

– 7:36 cross the starting line

– 7:40 ish left foot hits a pot hole while crossing under michigan ave.  I twist my left ankle and hit the ground with my knees and hands.  I didn’t see the pot hole because it was extremely crowded.  Like a wave on a rock, a bunch of runners broke around me.  And a few tried to help me up.  I sucked it up and started hobbling forward.

– 7:50 my left thumb is still killing me from the fall, but I finally catch up to the pace group.  At this point, I also realize that similar to the Shamrock Shuffle, the GPS runkeeper couldn’t quite handle the huge underpass in the beginning and gave me more mileage than was my due.

– 8:04 I cross the 5K marker at roughly 27:19 which was the same as in the Bucktown 5K

I lose track of the time, so I will start talking about it at milestones.

– 5 mile marker I take my first Gu gel because my energy level isn’t great

– 10 mile marker I take my second Gu gel — still feeling tired.  Hard to avoid all the people sprinkling water via hoses.  Didn’t factor that in to my iphone.  Had to try and stay in the middle of the street to avoid water damage

– 12 mile marker the pace group begins to pull away from me.  I basically took too long in the aid stations and didn’t have the energy to catch up exactly

– 13 mile the voice control on my iphone keeps activating.  This is because the headphone controls got too much moisture.  Unfortunately, this has happened before.  It was so annoying that I had to take off the head phones and pack them away.  I was still carrying my iphone in hand.

– 13.1 mile (halfway) I actually cross the line pretty much on pace, so the pace group was arguably going a little fast.

– 14 mile pace group is still in my sights, but my fatigue and lack of music is really taking me out of the zone

– 15-16-17 mile sun and heat are really building up.  I’m having a lot of trouble moving and I walk a bunch.  As a side note, I’m a crappy walker.  Old people (80+ years) walk faster than I do, so it really starts to eat at my pace

– 18-19-20 mile I’m moving like crap and really off of my pace.  I’m supposed to meet Su and friends at 18th and Halstead so I try to get some steady pacing going.  I see them and I’m pretty sure I looked like death jogging.  Not exactly a Kodak moment.

– 21-22-23 mile  I really feel like crap and am mostly walking.  Gatorade, water, gel, bananas.  Nothing seems to be able to give me back energy.  The sun is really beating down on me and the shady spots are few and far between.  I went to completely walking after simultaneous blisters burst on my left and right big toes.  For some stupid reason, I didn’t go to an aid station to get it wrapped.

– 24 mile text Su not to meet me at 18th street (25.2 mile marker) because I wasn’t really in mood to race anymore; however, I wanted to finish and earn the medal beer.

– 25-26 mile  I can’t believe how long this Michigan leg of the run is when you’re walking at turtle speed.

– 26-26.2  I sprint at 50 yard dash pace so that I can feel good about something at the end.

4:41:46  cross finish line

– few minutes later, drink some water and some gatorade, have half a banana.

5 min later start drinking a wonderfully cold and refreshing Goose Island 312 beer.

20 min later try to get up to fetch another beer, feel woozy, sit down

20 min later try to get up to fetch another beer, feel woozy and nauseous, on request guy next to me fetches someone with a wheel chair to take me to the med tent

I passed out on the wheel chair and dropped my iphone, but it was recovered.  After lying me down on a cot, they start stuffing me with ice like a sausage.  It feels really good.  They said my blood pressure was low and want to give me fluids.  It’s safe to say that I appreciate the help from the med tent, but I think the nurse who had to prick me 3-4 times (and failed on all of them) really ought to think about a new profession.  The better nurse gave me an IV in the back of my palm and that really hurt.  The best nurse finally added an IV to my forearm and that was much better.  I went from being too hot to too cold so all of the ice was removed and blankets added.  It was not the best “hospital” experience to say the least.

Finally, they let me go and I had to walk pretty far to get picked up by Su and Sandi.  My original plan of walking back to 18th and State was aborted (obviously).

So why did it all go so wrong?  I have a few theories:

– My lack of running before the race.  Because of the foot problems I had from the long practice runs, I wasn’t allowed to run for almost 2 weeks right before the race.  This not only got me worried, but really removed a lot of conditioning from my body.

– I hadn’t done a long run using the new orthotics.  I think that created the blister dilemma and really had me running in a different form than I would have liked.  I think the answer is that I need to abort the Nike Frees (even with the orthotics) and go back to a more supported shoe.

– My stomach had been bothering me since Tuesday.  I never really shook it until maybe Saturday and that really hurt my attitude as well as being able to stock pile the right foods in my body.  I (stupidly) ran a 2 mile run on Saturday 3pm to help with the stomach.  Though it did help with that, I think it wasn’t the best thing to do about 16 hours before the big race.

– The pot hole.  I think this really changed my stride.  Post race, my left ankle is severely swollen and makes walking and climbing stairs very difficult.

– The weather.  Regardless of all of the above, had it been a wonderful 40 degrees, I think that I could have pushed through a lot of things.

In summary, am I whining a bunch about what happened?  Absolutely.  Now I can put this mess behind me and ponder whether I’ll do it again.

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