Monday, October 8, 2012

2012 chicago marathon: a race report

I guess I’m not in the mood for a race report. Am I ever when a race doesn’t go my way? But I should. It’s only fair that if you’ve followed me THIS far on my marathon journey this year, this I tell you about the race. And maybe it will be therapeutic.

So as you know, I hadn’t run since my 12 mile run when afterwards, my shin hurt horribly for two days and I was barely able to put pressure on it. So I made the executive decision, with lots of input from people I trust, to just not run anymore until the marathon, and RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevate.) Only I didn’t really compress until the early part of last week. It seemed to get better and by the middle of the week (last week) it seemed to be good enough to run.

I won’t go into my pre-race shenanigans, I probably didn’t get enough rest the last few days…but that didn’t play in to anything here. Race day was here! I was in Corral J of the second wave. While I was skeptical of the wave start, I didn’t have to wait 35 minutes to cross the start line! HOORAY!! I was super excited!

Mile 1 is usually a mile where I struggle to find my pace, and this time it didn’t happen. At about the 1.5 mile mark, my friend Annah jumped in to run with me. She’s running the Marine Corps Marathon in 3 weeks and was going to make this her 20-miler. If you’ve read my blog long enough, you know that we’ve known each other since we were 9 years old. I had another friend who was there too, and gave him my jacket. He’d see us again later in the course…like plenty of times over…with an array of race goodies…pretzels, oranges, good vibes, positivity….and Advil.

So we went on our way, saw Lou around 2.5 miles. (WE STILL NEED TO GET LUNCH ON THE CALENDAR, I OWE YOU GUYS AN EMAIL!!!) So Annah and I were moseying on our way heading up to Lincoln Park. I noticed my right foot felt like it was going numb…was that the compression sock? Oooh I know better than to run with something new for such a long race. So I pushed it down. Then a bit later it started to hurt. With every step, just a little more. No worries, right? I can take some Advil when I see my friend at our next designated point on the course…at around 8 miles. Annah ran ahead when we were close and got him prepared to hand over the Advil…and so that’s what I did. This area of the course, Boystown, is lots of fun. Only this time it didn’t feel as much fun. In retrospect, maybe I was worrying about my leg. Not sure.

So we headed down to the halfway point. I was looking for Lou as she’d texted where she was, but I must have missed her. I continued to employ my “walk thru every aid station” and did this religiously. Annah is a much fast runner than me, it seemed like this might be annoying her. Eh…my race, right? Just shy of the halfway point, my shin really started hurting again. And maybe I had been running differently on it, because my LEFT leg seemed to start cramping up. Maybe in my being careful with my right leg, my left leg was taking a hit? Dunno…but as we approached on-course meeting point number 3 for my Marathon Angel, it was cramping a lot. Stopped for a second and gulped some of his Gatorade. And then we were off…

At the next aid station, Annah went to check and see if the medical people had salt. Nope. Drink Gatorade, dude said. So noted. And this was where I felt things start to go a little downhill. It’ll get better, right? Although my experience has always been that once my pace slows, it’s really hard to pick it back up. Cramp Cramp Cramp.

Miles 16 through about 23 were more of the same, only more pronounced. Shuffling along…walking…shuffling…walking. And totally demoralized. After such a great training season…THIS??? I’d rather quit than have yet another terrible marathon time. So we met Marathon Angel at stop #4 right at 35th street, the southernmost part of the course, where all that remained was a straight shot up Michigan Avenue…Annah made her exit at this point. THANK YOU, ANNAH!!!

So just 2.5 miles to go, I can do this, right? At this point, I was gonna be happy just to beat 6 hours. It was not going to be the 5:15 goal I’d hoped for, and not even 5:45 unless I managed to pull out an all out run from here on out (not likely.) But I was going to do it. I turned the corner and heyyyyy….my cousin Briget! She had been out there since 10:30 and it was now well after 1pm. She wasn’t in running gear, but she shuffled along with me, mostly walking for a half mile. I saw Heather, a friend from college, at this point too. Always nice to see familiar faces. Heather took a picture of me that according to my phone alerts, a bunch of people have commented on Facebook—haven’t really read the comments. I looked fine even if I felt like crap. I actually only looked at the picture to make sure I didn’t look like complete and total crap, because I will veto a bad picture on Facebook in a New York minute.

So I started “running” (shuffling) along…run a little, walk a little, and this was going to be my method for the rest of the race. I can do this. Shortly after Briget left, her comes Rudy. Rudy is another friend from college. I figured he’d be running…but guess what? INJURED. Not running. He runs a training group and has run a ton of marathons. He was all cheers and hugs for me. Good people.

Keep going.

So I approach Michigan and Roosevelt. Marathon Angel was there…right on point….I didn’t stop, I just kept going. Here was my hill. The hill I thought about almost every time I went up the hill at 47th. My shin was hurting so bad…don’t stop…don’t stop…look down…look down….Run. This. Hill. And I ran half of it…and then I felt like that if I didn’t walk, I would be walking across the finish line instead. And in a split decision, I felt like I couldn’t bear to do that…so I walked up the second half of the hill…at almost the top, I started running again….200M….100M….FINISH. 5: 52:46. According to the cool runnings pace calculator, that’s a 13:27 overall pace.

I wanted to do so much better. I’m disappointed that after all that hard work I’m still nowhere near my race goals. This morning my right leg hurt soooooo bad, I couldn’t stand at all on it, and it was horrible pain. I’ve found as the day has gone on, it’s bad when I’ve been immobile for a bit…like driving, or sitting or whatever. It hurts for a bit when I put pressure on it. Stairs are hard. Driving is a task. This is what happened two weeks ago, only it hurts worse this time. I’m going to give it a few days, and if it’s not better, I will go see a doctor.

In the interim, I’ve decided that I will work harder to fit the pieces of this puzzle together…weight training…better stretching. Let’s face it, I hate to stretch. That’s stupid. Improving my core…eating better. And then after my next marathon, we’ll see where I go from there. All this analysis is exhausting after every race.

Here is my pace breakdown according to the marathon’s official website. These are point to point, meaning the pace is between each the pace at 15K is the pace between the 10K and 15K. Got that? Here’s the tale of the tape:

5K 10:57

10K 11:28

15K 11:31

20K 12:21

HALF 12:36 (total elapsed time 2:32:16)

25K 13:28

30K 14:07

35K 16:48

40K 16:57 (really???)

FINISH 14:05

Overall pace, again, 13:27.

Lastly…Zoe is feeling/mocking my pain. This morning she hobbled down the stairs and said she couldn’t go to school because her leg hurt. This evening she’s been hobbling around, and playing with this old walking stick that we have. Every once in awhile she takes a step and yells out “OWWWWWWW.” She’s 6 so I guess it’s kinda cute.


Lou said...

I hate to be all "glass half full," because I know how it feels to be disappointed after a race. BUT, you just ran a FREAKING MARATHON. You finished and you ran it in under six hours. And that's pretty awesome. You had a great season, and you met so many of your goals.

Also, side note, for some reason I can never get the verification letters correct on your blog :-/

Lindy said...

Thanks Lou! I've been feeling little better. It WAS a great running season. Had my two best half marathon times...hit all my long runs. Had a great 20 miler. Lost some weight this year. Things will only get better from here.

And yes...those verifcation letters. WTH?