Marathon #14...done. *sigh*
It wasn't the 4:20 - ish that I hoped for, but it was a solid race, start-to-finish. Far from my best, but far from my worst. I'll take it. I'm happy with it.
My main focus for this one was to NOT go out too strong the first half. I didn't. Dave and I ran the first 12+ together before separating. These miles "felt" faster than what they were. Odd. Regardless, I ran them like I wanted to...fairly "comfortable" to avoid crashing / bonking. Mission accomplished. I faded, but didn't crash. Finished stronger than usual. Loved it.
Dave and I were corralled separately, despite our nearly identical "anticipated finish" times. No harm though...nothing that some high quality paper and a photo printer couldn't fix... Breaking the rulez? Yeah. But hey... We're "Legacy Finishers!"
The weather was fantastic. Cool (ok...COLD!) at the start...perfect. I had throw-away clothes, including $10 TYVEK tear-away pants from the expo. Shed my pants, hat, jacket, gloves, and jacket by mile 2. I was comfortable in a long-sleeved T-shirt throughout the rest of the race. For the open, sunny portions where I normally get hot, the breeze helped. Enough to cool, but not too much to fight. Perfect.
Monkeys UP @ Mile 3
Spectator Fuel and Tools
Mile 3 Monkey MeetUp
Mile 12 (Merchandise Mart)
Mile 12 Monkey MeetUp
Goose Island 312 + Marathon #14 Bling
Hmm... Wonder where / when I had my port-a-potty break...
Other thoughts, impressions, recollections...
- Ever since hearing about it from an old-timer, seasoned, conversational "new friend" at the Illinois Marathon three years ago, I tried PICKLE JUICE! The Pokorny girls had it ready for us at Mile 22, after we all talked about it and schemed it at dinner on Saturday night. Who's to say if it worked or not...but...I didn't cramp this time... Hmm....
- The group (power trio) at Mile 24.x ... WOW. It's tough to cover Hendrix. But they did. Amazing. Great sound, energy. Easily one of the best on-course band's I've ever heard.
- The post-Boston security (this is the 2nd year of it) is amazing. Absolutely amazing. The "get the runners out of the finish chute" operation is superb. Maddeningly so. For the second year, I've tried to linger and wait for Dave, kind of zig/zagging through the chute, meandering, "hanging out." They are wise to this trick. Impressive.
- The Mile 25 on-course security is eerie. Uniformed officers in the middle of the streets and on the city sidewalks. It bears a striking resemblance to many of the famous Boston photos. Apparently many of the other Chicago marathoners think so as well, as this part of the course "bottlenecks" a bit as runners move toward the middle of the street, even though the street itself does not narrow.
- There was about a 200M stretch in Wrigleyville that had an absolutely INCREDIBLE pancake smell. If I could definitively locate the source, I'd go there for breakfast tomorrow. And every day. Incredible. Notable. Memorable.
- Photo cred to my dad for all but the last of the above photos. WOW. Nice work! LOVE them!!!
- This is the first race (other than 5k) that I have run without music. I had my iPod and headphones with me, but never fired them up. Thought about it, but decided against it. I thoroughly enjoyed the vibe / energy / sounds of this race. I was going to remark about how notably louder / more energetic the later miles were this time (especially Pilsen, Chinatown, US Cellular), but realized that perhaps I was just open to hearing more.
- No acute pain, tightness, injuries throughout training, running this year. I had fatigue, muscle soreness, tightness, etc of course. But it was all truly garden-variety.
- Being a major, in-your-face sponsor of the entire race weekend, I'm always surprised that the Clyborne Ave Goose Island isn't more crowded post-race. They are always fantastic about accommodating our large, arriving-at-separate times hungry / thirsty group.
- Skittles and AirHeads work just as well as GU, PowerGel. Cheaper and easier to carry, too.