My 10-10-10 Marathon

4 weeks post Ironman, the family and I headed to Chicago for a nice relaxing weekend in windy city.  Well, maybe not a relaxing weekend.  The Chicago Marathon is one of the largest Marathons.  Close to 50,000 people running, and who knows how may spectators?

This marathon was somewhat stress free.  I didn’t have a whole lot of time and miles wrapped up in it, and didn’t really have any expectations.  My plan of attach was to run with HardyBreeed Eric and his wife Nicole.  Eric was in the same boat as me, and planned on pacing Nicole to a 3:45 marathon.

We headed up to Chicago Early Saturday morning before the race.  We were staying at the Palmer House Hilton which was just a couple of blocks from the start line.  When we got in town we walked to the Chicago Hilton, where there was a shuttle to the Expo at McCormick Place.  The shuttle wasn’t the quickest thing in the world. We had to wait at least a half hour for a bus, because the line stretched the entire block of the Hilton.

Walking into the Expo was amazing.  Thousands of people, all looking to get their packet and check out the exhibitors.  This is that largest Expo I have ever seen and by far the coolest.  Nike had the largest spot, and had a ton of 10-10-10 apparel.  I picked up a cool black track jacket, I had to have a souvenir.  Nike wasn’t the only one there though.  Asics, Newton, Saucony, North Face… you name it, everyone had a booth.  Selling shoes, clothes and anything else that had to do with running.  We were there more than a couple of hours, and could have easily spent a couple more.  Shopping all day was not conducive to running a marathon, so we called it a day and went back to the hotel.

Marathon morning, I walked to the start line in corral C. I met everyone at the 3:40 pace group, which Alex and Billy were proudly pacing.  The race started and it took around 3 minutes for use to make it the starting line.

We ran the race to stay on pace around 8:30 mile.  By mile 10 or so, we were off pace by a minute or so.  I think all of us had taken a bathroom break.  The race was still amazingly crowded with spectators and runners.  At mile 14 Eric dashed off the the bathroom again, and Nicole and i kept running.  About a mile later, Eric was still not on, and Nicole was having trouble.  At that point I was on my own, I had a good first half at 1:52, but wanted to catch back up the 3:40 group.

My legs felt great, and I had already been taking in plenty of Endurolytes, Gel, Gatorade, and water.  I quickly brought my pace down to 7:50s to catch them, and before I knew it I was back on and then passing them.  I don’t think my legs were ready to keep that pace up for the rest of the race though.  I quick got sucked back in by Alex and Billy.  At this point I decided I would just try to stay with them.

The last couple miles were the hardest.  My legs were getting tight, and cramps were setting in.  I stopped briefly to to rub my cramping quad, and to my surprise it subsided quickly and I was able to continue.  My pace slowed way down though.  I was off the back of the group and could not catch them.  I was happy to see the finish, and crossed in 3:41:09.  A negative split on the half  by a couple minutes!

After crossing the finish, I walked one of the longest finishing shoots ever.  Water, then Gatorade, then bananas, then BEER.  I think I hit everyone of the stops and made my way out to find my family, which was like trying to find a needle in a haystack.  I eventually borrowed a phone from a volunteer to call, and only then was I able to find an meet up them.

What a day!  This was one of the most fun races I have ever done.  So many people from Springfield, really made it feel like a hometown race.  I will definitely do this race again and would encourage everyone else.  The big race was a different kind of experience.  HardyBreed congrats go out to everyone that ran! (You know who you are)