Monday, October 21, 2019

Chicago Marathon 2019 {race recap}

Pre Pre Race: 

On Friday night, we ran the Take the Bridge race. 
{Race Recap Here}

Pre Race

We hosted our annual MRC Chicago Marathon shakeout at Centennial. We met MRC’ers from all over the USA and world. 

For dinner we had Burrata and ham. And pasta bolognese. 

We printed out photos of Hampton to place on our bibs. 

Ze photo bombed the same way CB always used to do. 

Race Day 

Training didn’t go as well as I wanted. As L reminded me, we did the best we could do. A year ago post Ironman my goals for 2019 were to: crush my shamrock shuffle time, and then “get as close to 3” as possible. 

I dealt with fatigue and other issues for many months post IM. I went to a doctor who basically disregarded all of my concerns “you’ll be the healthiest person I see this month and I’m sure your bloodwork will be 100% perfect.” Thanks for nothing. 

We walked over to the start with our neighbor/friend who was also running the race. 

Training went as well as it could. I did a hybrid Hanson-Naz elite that I made myself. But basically bailed on most of the speedwork/tempo runs due to the fatigue. I did 90% of my runs at 8:00-9:00 pace. I did increase the volume to 70-80 miles vs topping out around 60. 

So in thinking how I ran a 3:25 in Boston in horrific weather last year (despite feeling the best I’ve ever felt about a training cycle- I was trained and prepared to execute 3:10) , I decided 7:49/mile should be doable. I’ve run 3:3x in the heat and after beer festivals. My stretch became sub 3:20 because solidifying a spot in Boston 2021 would be awesome and because I had nothing to lose if the wheels came off. 

The weather was perfect. Low 40’s, low dew point, light wind. It was the kind of day we live for as runners. I was marginally bummed that I wasn’t trained to execute my ultimate goal, but with all the stress from Hampton and life, I was happy to be on the start line healthy. 

Bag drop was a cluster. It had super long lines- I waited 10 min to just drop my bag off. After I dropped my bag and was halfway to my corral, I realized I had left my sunglasses in the bag. Oops. 

I got into my corral with ease, tied my shoes again, and sat on the ground to wait. I was so cold but knew as soon as I started moving that I’d feel great. 

We used to call CB dog “koolaid man” because he would bust through my bathroom door (it didn’t latch properly). I bent down to tie my shoes and looked up to see Koolaid Man! I started crying. I asked him if we could take a photo together. At that point, I knew Sunday would truly be Sunday funday. 

I took off at the back of my corral to avoid the jag bags who weave around people to win the first 400m. My plan was to click off 7:30’s and hold on for as long as possible. Pacing is hard due to the tunnel and the buildings blocking the gps signal,  but I had practiced running at 7:30 pace a few times so I knew what kind of effort it was. People are entirely too dependent on technology these days. 

I crossed the start with a huge smile that never left my face. 

First miles were low 7:40’s and I was super happy. Then I settled into low 7:30’s. It felt too easy! I was manually lapping my splits because I knew gps would be totally inaccurate. I had the biggest smile as I ran through this beautiful city. 

I saw Pete B and was so happy! We high fived and I kept chugging along at “goal pace.”

More miles and more smiles. I got to the half in 1:39 and thought this is awesome! I was on pace for a PR and was feeling amazing. 

The second half was more mentally trying. The first half I was so amped up on adrenaline but I knew that at some point I’d get bored, so I employed all of my mental tricks to stay engaged- picking off people ahead of me, looking forward to the next time I took a gel, etc. I visualized these moments many times so I was prepared. 

Pilsen and Chinatown were a party as always. I was lip-syncing to the songs on my iPod the whole time. I couldn’t stop smiling as I clicked off more 7:3x’s. I saw so many people I knew on the course which also took my mind off knowing I had an hour or whatever left- looking for them made the time fly by. 

Hit mile 23 and the area we used to spectate at and knew with only a 5k to go I was about to clock my fastest 26.2. Smiles for days!

I knew that our run club would be out before mile 24 handing out beer. I looked forward to seeing them the entire race- I love this community so much. 

I saw them and grabbed a beer to drink- most of it went on my shirt, but that taste of savory carbonation hit the spot so hard. I decided at this point to start picking up the pace to finish under 3:20. 

I motored up michigan Ave - waved hi to Ze when I passed in front of our house and saw another friend. 

I knew at this point there was less than Half a mile to go to crush my PR- bad math / marathon brain told me I had 4 minutes to break 3:20 so I zoomed up Roosevelt (it’s seriously not a mountain- stop being so dramatic) and zoomed down to the finish. Holy shit I was so happy. 

The only time I was serious - the last 1.5 miles when I decided I had to break 3:20. 

I started crying the last 200m. I kicked it in to finish with an 8+ min PR of 3:18:18

I was out of my mind happy. Happy for a PR, happy that I felt great the entire race despite not feeling good about my training, happy that I just had an absolutely party in my city and saw so many friends. 

Negative splits!

That “blissed out holy shit just executed a perfect race” face. 

I ran into one of our friends from Copenhagen who finished right before me. 

Beer + PR = smiles. 

This was a huge celebration after Hampton had passed 3 weeks ago. I felt so incredibly happy- I thought about him so much during the race. 

L got a huge 1 hour 35 minute PR!!!  I was his coach and was so proud of him for executing a perfect race as well. 

Post race we met up at ballast point. 

And then lone wolf for Malort and stuff. 

The best running club ever. 

We met so many fun people marathon weekend. 

Monday night we went to The Loyalist to celebrate. 

The food was amazing and we plan to return again soon. 


Oatmeal pre race 

4 Maurten gels (miles 5, 11, 16, 21)
Base Salt every couple of miles
Ran on the blue line as much as possible. 
Wore the MRC singlet we designed, tracksmith shorts, pro compression socks. 
Wore Nike Vaporfly Next % - was the second time I’ve ever worn them. At one point in the race, I looked down and 37 of the 40 people in my line of sight had the same shoes on. 
Wore gloves the entire time. 
Carried a bottle of water with me until mile 24. 
No sunglasses because I left them in the gear bag. 

Going into this race with the mindset of “let’s see what happens” took all the pressure off. I had a party running through the streets of Chicago. 

I’m encouraged with the 3:18 on the training I did- i know for sure that a much faster PR is waiting as long as I can train appropriately (with speedwork) and stay healthy. 

#medalmonday Ze Pequeno edition. 

What’s next?

Get my hip back to 100%

Day of the dead 5k

Boston 2021

Stairs to get stronger. 

Slowly incorporate speedwork back into my life. 

Find some new challenges. 

“We are so lucky to be able to do this.”— Jill to me before Boston 2018. 


  1. You deserved it all, Charlyn. I'm so happy for you!!! In Hampton's memory, you had the best day possible. It's the apt way to add the first epilogue to the wonderful story of his life.

    1. Thank you so much ☺️ I loved how so many things reminded me of him- plus koolaid man. It was such a great day in a fab city!

  2. This right here is probably the best line I've ever read in a Chicago race recap - HA!

    "I zoomed up Roosevelt (it’s seriously not a mountain- stop being so dramatic)"

    HUGE congrats to you and L on your PRs!!!!! I was so happy to hear that you guys had such a good day, and was thrilled for you to PR, especially given everything you had said about your training leading up to it (but not surprised, since you're awesome and DID put in the work, even if it wasn't quite at the level you wanted).

    I can't wait to see what new challenges you may find :) I hear doing physical activities other than running can be fun at times too ;) Also what's up with your hip? Selfishly asking because I've had nagging hip pain for longer than I want to admit.

    1. He he he I mean seriously it’s tiny. But I prefer to think positive and believe that results in better outcomes than the opposite.

      Thank you so much. It’s weird to compare cycles I guess. I didn’t really train for a goal from almost the beginning due to fatigue- Unlike Boston where I had something set in stone. But as long as you’re putting in some quality + volume (+ knowing realistically what you’re capable of) it can still be good.

      The hip thing. I honestly have no idea what it is yet. It warms up when I run and is just annoying. It’s high on my right hip- I’m leaning towards some sort of muscle thing because aleve makes it go away. I need to look at a Diagram of the human body to pinpoint what it might be. I doubt I’ve got some unique issue. I’ll keep you posted.

    2. Mindset is HUGE! That's pretty much what I've learned this year, while doing tons of things I never thought I could do. It does take hard work, but believing you can do something goes a long way (which I know sounds super corny)!

      Mine is my right hip too, twins emojii. The best I can come up with is it's a combination of SI joint inflammation and overuse. I'm currently taking glucosamine and fish oil daily, plus the muscle pain Aleve as needed, and that's helped keep it manageable. I've pretty much cut out running though, because that seems to be aggravating mine. I hope you can figure yours out soon!

  3. OMG those splits! Those are amazing! Congrats on your amazing race, and congrats to L too. I am glad your attitude took the pressure off and allowed you to have such an amazing day! And I know the spirit of CB definitely carried both of you!

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  5. Awesome to see both of you guys shatter your marathon PRs!! My family marathon record is now officially at risk, but my 5K is safe for the time being I think.. Congrats to you both and you know how much I enjoy watching those little red gps dots keep moving along the course as I track you to the finish line ! Pa'ad v.