Monday, October 8, 2012

Chicago Marathon Spectating Report and Des Moines Marathon Goals

For the second year in a row my cousin, Anna-Lisa and I "aggressively spectated" the Chicago Marathon. I say "aggressively" because you have to move QUICKLY to keep up with her boyfriend, Jason, who kicked butt with a huge PR of 3:14 and change. Way to go, Jason!

Our morning started at, well, the start (line), and sadly despite our our combined spectating and racing experience, Anna-Lisa, Adam and I failed to see Jason in the hordes of runners. A-L and I couldn't wait long to be sure we missed him though. As soon as the 'C' corral folks ran up we ran off to try to catch Jason (who was in 'B' corral) at mile 4.5. Despite speed walking to the train and SPRINTING, I mean huffing and puffing, chest hurt, cold induced coughing sprinting we missed him. When we got the text message update from the 10k though we saw why- he was averaging 6:59 pace! He was blazing fast- no way were we going to see him at mile 4.5!

We had to climb through trees, then scale a fence with a 20 foot drop to cement ground
 (that's what's in the abyss behind A-L) to secure our start line spot. That's dedication!

So we walked the few blocks over to Mile 10 and watched the wheelchair racers, then the male and female leaders and luckily had a great view of Jason who was smiling and looking great! Then we were off again, continuing our race against the clock to beat Jason to mile 16. Luckily we made it with time to spare. By this time we were getting to know his running mates. The cow. The man dressed as Minnie Mouse. Once these folks passed, we knew Jason was close behind.

Waiting for Jason at Mile 10.

We then hustled over to Mile 21.5 in Chinatown which was bursting with energy as usual- what a great bit of spectator support, so motivational! The runners looked absolutely fabulous. The cool temperatures made for a wonderful race day for so many people. Jason was all smiles as he gave A-L a quick kiss before he made the turn toward the home stretch.

Jason's all smiles:)

We then walked the 0.5 miles over the 25 mile mark, saw Jason one last time- he still looked great with a  big smile, then we realized the cops had pedestrians boxed in so we couldn't get back home or even to the lakefront path on foot. Strangely, they were letting cars through so we hailed a cab (the cabbie happened to just have finished volunteering for the marathon, which was cool) who drove us across Lake Shore to Soldier Field so we could hop out and walk over to Grant Park. He was a bit confused about our request, but 2 minutes and 5 dollars later we were where we needed to be to go meet Jason.

It was really a perfect race day and I definitely wished at multiple points that I had opted to run Chicago this year. But I was glad I was able to be the navigator for A-L to help cheer Jason on to a PR race! Congrats, Jason!!

3:14:18- Amazing time. Congrats, Jason!!

There are multiple reasons I didn't run Chicago this year, but one of them was that I'm running the Des Moines Marathon in two weeks. I'm looking forward to this race because I get to run it with my friend Sara, and visit her family and hometown. Also, Iowa is a new state for me in my 50 in 50 quest.

So what are my goals for this race? To have fun and not get short of breath. The latter goal may seem a bit odd but I do not have a time goal for Iowa, I'm doing it for fun and for fun alone and with the Outer Banks Marathon just 3 weeks later, I intentionally want to treat this as an easy long run. I intend to thank every volunteer and remain at a conversational pace (don't worry, Sara, this doesn't mean I'll talk your ear off the whole race!). If I can do this and help Sara reach her time goal, that would be amazing. But if I need to let her go ahead so I can keep running easy that's fine too, I'll cheer her on in spirit!

In preparation for this race, I've done four long runs of 15, 17, 19 and 20 miles. I had a really hard time deciding what distance to run today, two weeks out. I initially planned to run 23 but I'm really not sure what benefit a 23 miler two weeks out would have and thought it might even be detrimental. So I went out today without a real plan. I ended up running 10 miles and feeling GREAT doing it. I was going to add 6 more on the treadmill for a total of 16 but I quickly glanced through some training plans (Hal Higdon, Run Less Run Faster) and most recommended 10-13 miles two weeks out so I decided to Believe in the Taper and well, taper. So 10 it is, giving me time to write this blog post instead:) I know I'm trained enough for my Fall marathons. I just have the usual taper doubts and jitters but as I've advised so many people over the years overtraining even 10% in the last few weeks is much worse than  under training. Believe in your training, and believe in the taper, and I plan to do just that.

Congrats to all the Chicago Finishers!!!

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