Welcome back to Part 2 of my 2012 Chicago Marathon Journey. You can read part 1 HERE.
I ran the 2011 Chicago Marathon and it was a blast, so much that when my L told me he signed up for the 2012 edition, I went straight to my PC and signed myself up. Ever since registering earlier this year, I had been looking forward to running this year's Chicago Marathon with my man. There was no doubt in my mind that after running my goal race- the Fox Valley Marathon that I would support my best friend 3 weeks later in the Chicago Marathon for his first marathon ever.
This race was entirely about him.
I think everything went as smoothly as it possibly could. It's always a challenge to run with someone else- different fitness levels, pace, injuries, etc play a big role in compatibility of running partners. We would run together at least once a week during our training which I enjoyed immensely. Going into this race, our goal was to finish healthy. And we did.
The first half went great, we were cruising along and enjoying the race atmosphere and crowd support. Next thing I know after 13.1 I hear L tell me he needed to walk because of various pains. I was heartbroken for my L, who had dilligently followed Hal Higdons marathon plan to get him to the finish "with a smile on his face." L made the decision to take the 2nd half much easier than the first because he didn't want any lasting damage to whatever was hurting. And for that (among many other reasons) I am proud.
We mainly walked the 2nd half. It was a long day, it was cold, it was taxing on our bodies, but we finished this marathon with smiles on our faces.
I took 200+ photos during this race. Here is a slideshow of some of the photos from our 26.2 journey.
The neighboorhoods are all unique and amazing. From the drag queens in Boystown, to the Dragons in China town, to the Mexican dancers in Pilsen, Chicago is shown off in this gem of a race. Crowd support is like none other. The signs made "run like your butt is on fire" to "Your training lasted longer tham Kim K's marriage" to "My arms hurt, how's your legs" were all hilarious.
Beer at Mile 23
The Hash House Harriers were handing out beer at mile 23, and I gladly accepted a cup. It went down like sweet nectar of the Gods. Delicious.
I cant stop smiling and saying how proud of L I am. His job isnt compatibile with the time suck of marathon training due to travelling, but he made time for it. He isn't into running like I am (which is absolutely fine)- he made an excellent effort to do the work necessary to be a successful marathoner. We made the most out of the less than ideal situation and made it work for us. We held hands, danced "Gangnam Style" and enjoyed the moment as much as we could.
Ive always respected runners/ walkers of any and all abilities because just getting out there is one hell of an achievement. Running a 6+ hour marathon is in some ways much harder than the 3:40 I ran 3 weeks prior. Mentally and physically it's tough to be going that long especially when things aren't going according to plan. The encouragement we received from (and gave to) other runners and volunteers was amazing even 5+ hours into the race. People were cheering like they had just started. Their energy was infectious.
This marked my slowest marathon time to date. But #7 will never be known as a PW, instead it will always be known as my PF- Personal Favorite. I;ve seriously never been so excited to run a race as I was to run Chicago with my partner. Time was never important, only being together through to the finish was.
Injuries/ House Keeping
This race was the first time I had run in 3 weeks (Fox Valley was the last) Wanted to give my ankle issues time to heal.
The ankle was a little cranky for most of the race, although at somepoint I stopped noticing the mild pain. 2 days later, it isnt in any more pain than pre race, although it has discomfort in a different place now.
My left ITB was hurting again during the race. The first time it started being cranky was Fox Valley. Ive never had an issue with this before ever, but now after 2 runs having ITB crap, im going to have to buy a strap or find exercises to do to stregthen my knee.
Took Gatorade prime/ Salt tab pre race
Gu @ mile 10
Salt at mile 12?
2 Goose Island 312 beers immediately post race.
1 day out, left ITB is tight and has discomfort when bending, ankle hurts higher on the leg than before (but seems MUCH better- i could absolutely go run 4-7 miles, but am not sure if it would be beneficial to it healing) My fall running is currently on hold until these issues get sorted out.