My first marathon, Chicago 2006

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  snowski12000 12 years, 2 months ago.

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  • #5673


    I guess we'll start with the expo. It was really cool, but sooo overwheling with all those vendors. I found a cool bumper sticker, and met Hal Higdon. I later felt a little embarrassed for getting star-struck over someone like that, but after spending so much time on his program it was kinda cool.

    Alarm goes off at 5:40am, I was too excited to be tired despite the fact that I'd gotten hardly any sleep.  My sister who ran it with me and the rest of my fam arive at my condo around 6:15. We do our little pre-game routine re bibs, chips, etc. I MADE SURE to pee 3 or 4 times before we left. We're out the door around 6:40, and wait in the FREEZING cold for about 10 minutes for a bus. The bus was packed with runners which was pretty neat.

    We arrive at Grant Park around 7:30 and I'm just in awe of how many runners there are. My sister and I say goodbye to the rest of the fam and make our way to the 3:50 pace group. We stand around for a while trying to keep the mood light. Finally the horn sounds and we're off, I note that it takes us about 7 minutes to cross the finish line.

    The first few miles were absolutely amazing, the crowd support was so incredible, and the massive wave of runners was close to mesmerizing. So many thoughts were rushing through my head, I couldn't believe that what I had been working so hard for over the last 5 months was about to materialize.  I was so pumped up that the freezing cold and wind just wasn't a factor.  However, I knew we were starting off too fast. I begged my sister to slow down, but she demanded that we keep up with the pace group. I just hoped to myself that we wouldn't crash at the end.

    I had 7 or 8 friends posted at various points of the course and ran into most of them. It was so great to see them out there, and I hope they know how much it meant to me.  Things are going great throughout most of the race, mile 15-19 might have been the most encouraging because I was feeling relatively strong and said to myself, “If I make it to mile 20, I don't care how hard I crash, I WILL finish this race!”

    Then around mile 21 it happened. It started with some mild tightness in my left quad. By mile 22 it was the most sever, excrutiating cramp I'd ever experience. At 23 the same thing was happening with my left hamstring. Eventually they both just locked up! It took every ounce of energy just to put one foot in front of the other. My legs felt like they weighed 100lbs each, and I said to myself, “If this isn't the wall, I REALLY don't want to know what is!”  It wasn't my cardio that faltered, but the muscle tightness/cramps that got me. In the future I will have to look into ways to address this (any tips here would be much appreciated).

    We turn the corner and the finish line is one of the most beautiful sights I've ever seen, I let out an audible, “YES!” but that was just about all I could say. I know there was a huge crowd on hand, but I barely noticed them, all I could focus on was the finish line getting closer and closer. We finally cross it, I throw my arms around my sister and tell her over and over how much I love her.  I must have looked REALLY crappy because 3 or 4 different staff members asked if I was alright. It was such an incredible race, and despite my pain, I couldn't have been more elated, the whole experience was somewhat surreal. Here's the splits according to my Garmin, and thanks for reading!

    Mile 1- 9:43
    Mile 2- 8:51
    Mile 3- 8:04
    Mile 4- 8:20
    Mile 5- 8:23
    Mile 6- 8:29
    Mile 7- 8:37
    Mile 8- 8:39
    Mile 9- 8:41
    Mile 10- 8:27
    Mile 11- 8:31
    Mile 12- 8:45
    Mile 13- 9:11
    Mile 14- 8:19
    Mile 15- 8:35
    Mile 16- 8:27
    Mile 17- 8:24
    Mile 18- 8:43
    Mile 19- 8:53
    Mile 20- 8:48
    Mile 21- 8:50
    Mile 22- 8:47
    Mile 23- 8:47
    Mile 24- 9:04
    Mile 25- 9:11
    Mile 26.2- 11:15
    FINISH- 3:51:37

    Thanx for reading 🙂

  • #21865


    Good job. To be completely honest, you did better than I expected. With some proper training, the sky is the limit for you.

    As for the cramping issues, a lot of that would be taken care of with better training. More miles on the legs will build your ability to handle the stresses of running for so long in one morning. Also, cramping can be caused by race day issues like electrolyte imbalances (make sure you are taking sports drink or using gels when you take water) or pacing (your pace got a little hot around miles 3-5, this could have taken its toll on you later).

  • #21866


    great race and report… I second Ryan's suggestion on electrolytes… another thing to consider is that with the cooler weather you might not have had enough fluids… from what I heard it was windy and cool enough that whatever you sweated was probably evaporated quickly & might have given you a false sense of how mugh replacement you needed…

    enjoy your recuperation, congrats…

  • #21867


    Thanks for the responses. Ryan, I'm you're probably right that putting more miles in will help me deal with the stress of running for that long at one time.

    With regards to the electrolytes, I took 3 gels during the race (I think around mile 8, 15, and 21).  However, I only drank water. I was tempted to take Gatorade, but I've never drank it during a run before so I wasn't sure how my stomach would react….didn't wanna risk it.

  • #21868


    You probably made the right choice with the Gatorade having never taken it before. The general guideline of never do anything on race day that you haven't done before is a very good idea. Next time, I'd suggest taking it in training to ensure you can handle it and get used to handling it (I had some trouble with Gatorade Endurance when I first started using it to get ready for Chicago last year but got better with practice) and plan on using that. When you're taking gels, though, take them with water as that is how they are supposed to be used.

  • #21869

    Janus, Nice job on your first marathon. Now that the first one is out of the way you'll have good idea of how to prepare for the next . I'm sure if you would have had better weather it may have helped some. Great job. Ski

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