It’s the Monday of the Columbus Day weekend here, so I must have been running a Chicago Marathon yesterday. Indeed — the 34th annual Chicago Marathon took place yesterday but everything was about its 10/10/10 date. The symmetric set of numbers was in all advertisements, posters, street signs, on our bibs, the medals, the (nice, for once) race shirt. Everywhere, and yes, I will admit that it was also part of the reason I finally registered earlier in the year shortly before the race sold out.
This was the sixth time I ran this race (and my 14th marathon overall). And I still can’t run this course all that well: never got a Boston qualification here. As I had mentioned when I blogged about my third Boston Marathon earlier in the year and the recent Chicago Half-Marathon, I have had some recurrent issue with a sore achilles which limited my running throughout the year. It had gotten better but a quick summary of the miles in my running log showed that I had been running only about 80% of the training miles I had in prior years. And not a single 20-miler. I knew I’d have to pay for that.
Plus, as so often, the weather. Not quite as hot as the record-heat of 2007. But close enough: high 60s at the start and high 70s or even low 80s towards the end. But I have to compliment to the race organisers. The race was very well organised (following the experience of 2007) with extra water stops, extra sponges handed out at several spots (!!) and very good communication when during the race the alert level was raised to yellow given the heat and humidity. The searchable results now show a fair number of non-finishers, but at least nobody seems to have died. But it looked ugly on the course. I think I ran by three or four sets of paramedics assisting runners who were ‘down and out’..
So how did I do? Fair, I suppose — I ran pretty well for sixteen miles, then needed a first short walking break and continued to run well towards and past the 18 mile waterstop where a bunch of friends and fellow Oak Park runners were helping. But not long after that, I crumbled and needed to alternate walking and running for most of the remainder. With that I came in at 3:41:41, or a 8:28 min/mile pace. And which is by two seconds slower than the previous ‘worst’ from 2007. But heck, at least it’s still more than three minutes faster than Dubya in Houston in 1993 … I also got beat by a few local running friends as well as by Chicago’s own marathon juggler. So there. Maybe I’ll train a bit more next time.