Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chicago in more detail

I already posted about my first day in Chicago, and how I lost my Metra ticked and walked 3 miles from Downtown to the expo, blah, blah, blah.  It wasn't all bad though.  It was my own little mini tour, and I did finally get there.

That night, Doug bought a whole lotta wine.. and we drank it.  Here is a little video I captured while Randee was describing Angie's methods of motivation and coaching. !Contains adult language!

Saturday morning, after a quick 2 miler on the lakefront path, Angie and I met up with Cely from Running Off The Reeses and Mehgan at the The Original Pancake House literally just around the corner from our hotel.  It was fun to meet people in person that we had only previously communicated with online.  We all chowed down fatty pancakes and Angie's omelette contained at least a dozen eggs.
After breakfast Angie, Doug and I met up with the rest of the Bitches in front of the John Hancock tower.  It costs $15 to go to the observatory but a woman told us that we could go to the lounge just one floor lower (or higher?) and hang out for just the cost of one drink each.  Sold!

Serious face

When we left there, the Bitches went to Nike Town for the eighth time (I don't really care for Nike all that much) and I went to H&M where I ran into a guy from Charlotte that I fitted for shoes at the store a few weeks ago.  How random!  At some point Doug and I went to get souvenirs at the Water tower Mall.  I have some good friends who are Socks fans so I stood in this position in front of that cubs store for a good half hour while trying to explain to Doug how my camera worked.

I was glad to have Doug there since he was the only one who supported and understood my consuming a total of 5 Italian Beef sandwiches in 3 days.

Doug and I both thought that this particular Italian Beef was less than stellar.  We had to ask for  the aujus!
We had dinner in the room that night where I ordered my 3rd Italian Beef in little more than 24 hours.
The next morning was race morning!  We were all up bright and early, getting ready.
Then walking to the start.  Look at how innocent all these first timers look.
Inching toward the line!
I took off a little fast.  I'm not sure what my splits were since I was having some trouble with my watch.  I couldn't hear it beep and ended up hitting the split button twice every time.  I also completely missed the two mile marker.  I never saw it.  I didn't hit my sub 5 hour goal, but I haven't once been upset about it.  This race has taught me more than any other.  The three factors that contributed to me coming in 7 minutes over my goal time would have to be

  1. I didn't train past 17 miles.  Hmmm, is it any wonder that I started crashing at 16?  You would think I would learn my lesson by now about cheating on my training.
  2. It was hot.  This is the one and only reason I would be the least bit jealous of the Bitches training in Texas all summer.  Sure, they thought the heat sucked too, but I don't think it affected them as much as it did me.
  3. My shoes.  Let me first defend the Minimus by saying that I did not get a single blister and I do still maintain that they are the most comfortable pair of running shoes that I have ever owned, AND I do still plan on buying another pair.  However, I don't think that my feet can handle the minimal padding over a span of more than 15 miles.  They really took a beating and I think a little more cushion would have made a big difference in my comfort level.
Immediately after the race I was feeling pretty shitty, physically.  I was not motivated at all to start thinking about another race.  But over the last several hours I've been thinking about all the things I can do in my next round of training to keep improving my performance.  All the things that ached and gave out that I can put some more focus into.

The Bitches met up after the race, and they found Cely as well.  Doug told me where the were, but I had ideas of my own that I didn't think they would be up for.  I already talked about it my last post, but it was awesome enough that I'll talk about it again.

Last year, the day after the marathon, Marla (My friend and former Chicago resident that I ran with last year) and her boyfriend took me for my last tour of the Windy city before I headed home.  As we were walking the lake shore path near Navy Pier we passed by a little beach.
Then as soon as I had signed to run Chicago a second time, I decided that this would a mandatory post race pit stop.  Because even though Chicago was hot, the lake had to be cold.  It was the best thing I could have done.  The water felt amazing on my legs, and the sand was a warm massage on my feet.   I just stood in the water, enjoying the view, basking in the glory of my accomplishment while the cold waves rolled up and over my sore thighs.

The one post race thing that I didn't do but really wanted to was have a celebratory deep dish pizza and beer.  That's what Marla and I did last year.  After a good nap we took our sore muscles over to a wonderful family owned restaurant just a couple of blocks from Marla's apartment.  We heroically climbed the stairs to our second floor table and dined with our medals around our necks.
Between my two trip to Chicago I accomplished quite a bit.  Last year, I saw EVERYTHING.  Name something iconic, and I either ate it or saw it.  However last year I ran really crappy race.  This year, I didn't much of the city and the only thing I ate was Italian Beef, but I ran a great race and PR'ed!

Chicago has treated me well, and I now officially in the "what's next?" phase.  Hmmm.  Marla did just move to Seattle... and I've never been there before... and I'm sure it's plenty cool there in November...

Thoughts and prayers are with the family of the Greensboro firefighter who died on the course Sunday.  In a Greensboro area news report, one of his fellow Firefighters said that he died doing something that he enjoyed.  It's a tragedy that makes you ask, "What happened?" and "Why him?"   He was only 10 or 15 minutes ahead of me and by all accounts he was a healthy avid runner.  Did he have an unknown condition?  Did he make any mistakes along the course that any one of us could/or does make at any time?  So may people complete this great physical challenge so often that you forget about the very rare, yet very real consequences that can occur.

-Hugh Jass


  1. I bet that water felt so nice! I love the pic, you look so happy!

  2. I learned the same lesson with my Merrell Pace Gloves. I love them and will continue to wear them, but I used them during a tri and I decided that they probably aren't the best for long distances and/or races. But I still heart them!!

  3. @ S&R, it was soooo nice.

    @ Heather, Agreed. It doesn't mean they are a bad pair of shoes. It just means we have learned that there are different shoes for shoes for different occasions (As women, how did we not know that already?).

  4. I too have relegated the Minimus and Merrel Trail Gloves to modest runs. After about 10 miles my feet begin to ache. I blame me, but I cannot swap me, only the shoes. I am loving the Saucony line.

    Chris Johnson

  5. I have been having trouble posting to your site. Now it lets me do so as "Anony." Let's try this post without the anony and see what happens.
    I was raised on the south side, Hyde Park, and would love to someday do the Chicago Marathon. So jealous.
    My heart goes out to the NC Firefighter as well. Sobering to be sure.

  6. ...and now it works...

    You did not id your pizza. Chicago Deep Dish I assume. I was scarfing Uno's when there were just two joints in Chicago. Still THE best pizza. Sorry NY Style, a flat wagon wheel don't cut it.

  7. @ Chris, I choose deep dish over Brooklyn style any day. The one I had last year was from a place in Lincoln Park called Paquod's. You had to scoop it out like a piece of pie and it was delicious.

  8. I would have been your Italian Beef partner too! I'm thinking maybe Chicago will be in the cards for me next year. I know the hubs would be up for it... he's from up there.

  9. This is why it is best not to think too much about your race immediately after the race - too much physical and emotional fatigue to really analyze what happened.

    I try not to pick too much at you about things like your fancy watch or your minimalist shoes. Sounds like Chicago took care of that for me ;-)

  10. Lol, Adam, I like having you around to balance things out. You're just keep'n real.

  11. I always do that too. During the race, I think...I can never run another race. Just the thought of the next one pisses me off. But then about an hour or two after I finish, I wonder what's next. :-) Great job! Even though you didn't make your goal, you were SUPER close. You should be proud.

  12. Congrats on your PR! Your post-race standing in the lake sounds like a great idea for your leg muscles.

    I like your tip for the observatory if I ever make it to Chicago. Your first photo reminds me- I had the pleasure of driving through an Occupy Philly demonstration last week. Except the Philly demonstrators drew the % backwards.