Here is the short report.... All I can say now is it was a really rough day. The weather was a killer and pretty much doomed me for the BQ. I went out to try for the BQ but by 12 or 13 miles I knew it was not going to happen. I slowed down from there and spent the last 10 miles just jogging in around 9:30 pace. I was getting cramps in both my calves and thighs and every time I tired to go faster they would lock up. So I just stayed at the slow pace to try to make it in. Definitely not what I wanted but nothing I can do about the weather. So now I am two for two in struggling in marathons. This might not be for me... More later (maybe)...
Pre-Race: I went up Saturday to Chicago with my family and it was very nice to have them along for the experience. They just did some shopping while I picked up my packet and rested in the hotel. That night we went to the World Vision team dinner. I got to hear Bart Yasso and Ryan/Sarah Hall speak about what World Vision is doing to help in Africa. I slept good in the hotel and got up ready to go. In the last few days before the race I was concerned about the weather mainly because I have spent that last month running early in the mornings in very cool conditions. Looking back at the log it has been a month since I ran in 70 degree weather.
Race Plan: Based on the weather being warmer and I knew I need to slow down the pace or I would pay the price but didn't know how much to slow down. I finally made the decision that the reason that I was running was to try to get the BQ so I would stick to that plan and see what happens.
Miles 1 - 4: Chicago is a massive race but I was able to get to my corral pretty easily and had about 15 minutes before the race to stretch and relax. The start was pretty cool. Massive amounts of people lining the streets cheering. I got sucked into the group I was surrounded by and ended up running first 2 miles at 7:15 pace which was faster than I wanted. After this settled down a little but still ran first 4 miles at 3:10 pace.
Miles 4 -8: I got into a good rhythm here and pace was around 7:20 which was better but still a little fast. It was during this stretch that I got through the initial excitement of the race and was able to realize that I didn't have my best today. It was already feeling harder than it should at this point.
Miles 8 - 13: I was still holding the pace together at this point and actually came through the half at around 3:15 pace. I was not feeling the best. I was having some problems with my stomach. Not sure if it was from the Gu's or fluids I was taking in. I got water or Gatorade at every aid station to try to stay hydrated. I saw my wife and kids at mile 12 which picked me up.
Miles 13 - 18: During this stretch is where I really started to feel rough. The stomach was feeling bad and I was loosing the energy in my legs. At this point I knew that I had a few minutes in the bag for the BQ so I thought if I could slow down to 8:00 minute pace I could still make it in with the BQ. I was able to do that to around 18.
Miles 18 - 22: My idea of holding 8:00 min pace was starting to slip as each mile was getting a little slower. I think it was around mile 20 or 21 that I got passed by the 3:20 pace group. I tried to hang with them and was able to for a little while but then they started slipping away. This was the final realization that the BQ was not going to happen. Looking back I lost a lot of motivation at this point. My legs were cramping and I was feeling sick. The pace started dropping big time here.
Miles 22 to Finish: Not much to say here just trying to survive to the finish. I felt like I was barely moving. Several times I thought of just packing it in and quitting but I was running for World Vision and all of the sponsors that gave to the cause plus I couldn't do that as an example to my kids. So I trudged on to the finish and I was very glad to see it come. I thought I was going to fall down after the finish. My legs were just fried. After getting some fluids and food I was able to shuffle back to the hotel.
Post Marathon Analysis: First of all I will say that I feel better today about it then yesterday. Looking at the positives. I completed the my 2nd marathon, will raise over $1000 dollars to help starving kids in Africa and had great love/support from my family. Looking at it this way sounds like a great day!
Now for the other side. So with a day to look back and think about what went wrong. I know that I went out at a faster pace than I could hold given the conditions. I think if I would have went out at a pace for a 3:25 I might have been able to hold it. However, that still would not have achieved my goal so I don't regret going out too fast. I had to give it a shot. I feel better crashing and burning like I did knowing that I gave the BQ a shot than I would have if I went out easy and ran something like a 3:25. I don't know if this is just something that is a training issue or what but the warm weather really effects me. I ran a half a few years ago and got the same results. As far as training goes. I thought it went good but the part of my training that could have been better is longer MP runs. I was just getting to the point where I could handle the higher mileage when I started to taper. I think with a consistent higher mileage base I would be able to do more MP runs leading up to the marathon. So I will put my head down and keep going. I have no idea what is next as far as the marathon goes but I definitely want to run some shorter races to hopefully get some confidence back. I am in need of a PR at some distance just to know that I am heading in the right direction.
I would like to thank all of you on this blog for the advice and encouragement along the way. I probably wouldn't have even made it to the starting line without you all and it has made the journey much more enjoyable!