Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chicago Marathon 2011

Marathon training is a LOT of work.  I know I could never in a million years do one (let alone two, three, or twenty).  I don't have that kind of mental determination, I would never take that kind of time for myself, and I don't believe that running at 0400 is any kind of enjoyable.  B had some great (and not so great) training runs this year, and we both knew he was more than ready for this race.  A lot of his long runs were in the 9:30-9:50 pace and he was very comfortable there.  He was really, really hoping to beat his last time, and we both knew that with the training he had been putting in, it was a definite possibility.

The only problem we foresaw was the weather on Sunday.  It's been exceptionally warm here for the past two weeks (70s, 80s) and the forecast for Sunday in Chicago was 84 degrees.  Well, they didn't miss the mark on that one!  It was HOT.  When I left the hotel at 7:30 with Spencer in tow, it was so warm, I didn't even put a jacket on him.  That's how warm it was that early.  For those of you who don't run, this sounds wonderful.  And, as a spectator, I wasn't complaining!  But for B, this is about the worst thing that could happen.  He, and many other runners, would rather run in 30 or 40 degree temps than in 70 or 80 degree temps.  You already know you're going to sweat buckets during a 26.2 mile run, and adding heat to that means that dehydration is a severe threat, chafing can be worse, and you're a lot more tired than normal.  He felt pretty much all those things on Sunday.  I saw him for the first time at mile 8 and he was already saying how he didn't feel like he "had it."  He didn't look bad, though, so I just encouraged him and told him he'd be fine.  He gave us both kisses and kept on his way.  Spence and I navigated the city (side note: crowed el trains and a jogging stroller do NOT mix; 2nd side note: I'm glad we're out of the city.  I would hate doing that every day with a baby!!) and met up with him again at mile 16.  I was nervous as I waited as he was behind his expected time and the text messages I had gotten from the runner tracking weren't the times he needed to PR.  I saw the guy he was running with and he told me that B was "a bit behind him".  So we waited some more and finally saw him.  He looked exhausted.  He said there was no way he was going to PR and was having a hard time even running.  While Spence and I were standing there waiting, even I was sweating, and I wasn't doing a darn thing, so I know B had to be soooo internally hot.  Most of the runners on the course looked way more bedraggled than at many of the other marathons I've watched. 

B came in at 4:51:39, which is about an 11 min mile pace.  WAY behind where he had been training and where he wanted to be.  He was really disappointed with the whole thing.  I felt so bad for him as it's hard to know that you have prepped, prepared, put in tons and tons of hard work, and then something you have no control over ruins your mojo.  That's the way he felt- like his mojo had been taken away from him by the heat.  He's always wanted to do at least three marathons, which is great because this won't leave as bitter as a taste in his mouth as it would if it were his one and only or his last.  I think what has also helped him was that every single person we knew who ran had a bad run.  Two women we knew who have easily qualified for Boston in the past were about 30-40 minutes slower than their average time, so B being about 30 min behind his previous time is about right.  It doesn't necessarily take away the disappointment, but it does take away some of the sting. 

He was happy about his little marathon gift- a new Tervis marathon tumbler.  I saw it this summer and snatched it right up, knowing it was perfect as a reminder of all the hard work and dedication he puts forth during marathon season. 

I'm really proud of him (and so glad that Spence was such a trouper during the whole thing!!), and I know that the next marathon will be much better.  Here's to 2013!!!!  (Yes, he's skipping next year and won't run another one until then)

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