Numbers Game

Finishing time: 03:08:12

Splits: 21:20 (5k)/43:12 (10k)/01:05:03 (15k)/01:31:47 (half)/1:49:11 (25k)/02:11:53 (30)/ 02:34:42 (35k)

I went out aggressively for a couple reasons. Before the race, I decided to start with the 3:05 pace bunny and try to hold on; with the forecast of high winds and wanting to get into a rhythm early on, I figured that running with a group would have its benefits. When I got to the corral in the morning, I was late and pushed to the back. It took me a while to get up to the pace bunny and when I started running with the group, I realised that they were under pace, at times doing 4:15/km. Sure, it felt okay for the first few kilometers, and sure, the prospect of running an unexpected sub-3 marathon was blindly exciting; I stayed with them for a while, especially since the high buildings and my Garmin were not making friends, but as the pace showed no signs of leveling out to an actual 3:05 finish, I bailed on that group and decided to run my own race.

Another reason I wanted to start out aggressively was this over-whelming and Grammy Award-winning Drake-onian voice that reminded me YOLO. I knew that I was not likely in PB shape; I questioned if I could even hold 4:30 pace and run a 3:10 marathon. There’s a lot of uncertainty when you’ve only trained for six weeks and maxed out at 91k/week. Still, I had heard that this was an easy course, and not having planned to run a marathon next spring, I knew this would be my last for a year. I figured I would go out hard and deal with the fatigue and pain later on in the race, rather than regret going out too easily and feel like I had dogged any part of the race. I did end up fading but I did feel like I worked hard at every part of the race. Perhaps I would’ve had a faster time had I paced it better, but it seems like it mirrored the same pacing strategy of some of the elites, and who am I to argue with those nerds.

Number of gels consumed: 5 (one pre-race in corral, 9k, 18k, 27k, 35k)

Unfortunately, I did not have a great strategy for gel storage during the run. Had it been colder, I would’ve kept them in my gloves as I did in NYC, but in the first few kilometers I started over-heating and ditched the gloves. Options for storage did present themselves prior to the race in the form of belts, fanny-packs, arm bands, but I insisted and continue to insist not to run with anything strapped on or dangling from my body. The cost of my anti-accessory stubbornness is a bit of carnage. Mild regrets.

Rob Watson sightings: 2

Pre-race shakeout run along Michigan Avenue up to Roosevelt Road to Columbus Drive.

Toni Kukoc sightings: 0

Race morning schedule: race start at 7:30am, alarm set for 4:50am, plan to leave hotel by 7:00am, 10 minutes late

Reasons for being late pre-race or otherwise are most likely GI-related.

Number of people in corral: a lot

I’ve never been so crowded and uncomfortable in a corral. It was like being at that LCD Soundsystem concert where MIA opened up for him.

Bowls of oatmeal consumed within 24 hours: 3

The day before the race I had a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast with a peanut butter bagel and banana for breakfast, another one at lunch with another bagel with peanut butter, and then one race morning. The pre-race dinner was at an Italian restaurant called Pazzo’s, which was a 4 minute walk from the hotel and refreshingly not over-crowded and hectic as it becomes in Boston during race weekend. Post-race dinner was at Howells & Hoods, which touts the largest draft beer selection in Chicago. We also went to a great restaurant for a late dinner when we first arrived on Friday night. It was called Remington’s and they played an amazing line-up of music, including M83, Passion Pit, Washed Out. No connection to the Remington’s in Toronto as far as I could tell.

Times we fell asleep on the boat tour: 2, maybe 3

And this was not because the boat tour was not interesting; it was, in fact, very interesting and a great way to get an overview of the architecture of Chicago without having to walk around. Highly recommend it! They sell beers and fancy nuts downstairs!

Layers in the carrot cake: at least 5

I was hoping for a cheesecake (in the bed) post-race, but went for a carrot cake in the hotel lobby restaurant instead. It was an almost perfect carrot cake, with thin layers of moist cake interlaced with light icing, and topped with ground pistachio –not too sweet, bordering on bland.

Days off running: 7

I promised not to run, not even easy, for at least a week after the race. Unlike previous seasons, I’m totally okay with that.

Races left for the rest of the year: 3-4

1-2 cross-country, 1 half marathon, maybe 1 road race in Santa suit. These remaining races should be for funsies.

Lessons learned and people to thank: so many

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