I’m finally getting around to writing my race report on Chicago Marathon 2017. Lately I’ve been so busy with my team at LivestockCIty, but that’s another post for another time. My original plan was to try to get into NYC Marathon for 2017 until I heard it would be the 40th Anniversary at Chicago, AND Chicago moved their deadline up to be before NYC’s (I wish they would move it back!). Knowing that Chicago was easier to get into than NYC by lottery and it being the 40th one (I also ran the 40th Marine Corps Marathon in 2015), I decided to apply for Chicago for 2017, and luckily I got in again.
This was my second time running Chicago. It is where I ran my first marathon just three years ago when I had a knee injury for a good bit of the year. My finishing time then was ~4:47, which placed me around 25,000 out of 43,000+. I was aiming to improve that time in 2017, and towards the end of my training several months ago, I felt like I may be faster than before. In terms of marathon training, 2017 definitely was the best training cycle I ever had. I only missed one training run from the schedule (due to illness). It wasn’t easy to get in all the runs in, but it’s funny how priority really helps.
Like last time when I went to Chicago, I went with my friend Kevin. Kevin helps with driving, and it is nice to not be alone in the city. He also helps with driving, especially on the return home with a 12 hour drive ahead of us. Our first stop was the race expo to pick up the race packet. Chicago Marathon has one of the best expos you will find at a race, and the process it super easy to quickly pick up the packet and shirt. Runner’s World was there too, and they were holding some Q&A event while I was at the expo. We didn’t stay too long. Time can slip by quickly at the expo, and it takes some time just to get out of that area and to the hotel. Knowing we still needed lunch, we left to go find some parking.
Fast forward to race morning. It was about 56-57 degrees early that morning. The temperature doesn’t seem bad for running, but it was expected to get up in the 70s later that day, which it did. I listened to music before the race but not during. Usually I do, but Chicago is an unusual race. There is so much going on that I don’t need the music. I’m really tuned in to the crowds and everything going on. In the beginning, my Garmin GPS watch was acting crazy! For the first mile or two, I tried to not go out fast, but my watch was not accurate, and I might have been running faster than I wanted. The tall buildings in Chicago really make it tough on GPS watches. Anyway, I did stay on goal of being under 2:10 for the first half of the race when I crossed 13.1 miles around 2 hrs, 5 min. Perfect. But it was getting hotter, and I was feeling the heat. So in the second half, I slowed down some and ran it about 18 minutes slower, but I NEVER walked! I was pretty pleased with that, because in my first 2 marathons, I had to do a run/walk to some extent. I finished with a time of 4 hours, 23 minutes – my best marathon time to date. If we had the weather that we had back in 2014 (at least 10 degrees cooler), I think I could have fared even better. But on that day, I was very happy with my performance. The one thing that I dealt with in the previous two marathons were stomach issues and nausea – it can be crippling. I did not have that problem this time around, and hopefully I have figured out how to prevent it from happening. I do not think I ever “hit the wall” in this race like I really did at Marine Corps Marathon.
For 2018, I am thinking about another marathon. I usually keep running during the winter months but not quite as much. It is good to just run to maintain and not force anything I don’t want to do. Having a down period definitely makes official training go better. I might enter the lottery for NYC marathon. That is one I would like to do soon.
The last goal I had for 2017 was to run 1000 miles, and I passed that mark yesterday!
Happy New Year everyone!