Chicago Marathon

by rchackman

When: Sunday, October 13, 2013 @ 7:30 AM

Where: Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois






















I am very late to the game here with this update! I got so wrapped up in extending my training for an ultramarathon that I didn’t come here to write about my experience at Chicago. I will tell you what I remember of the day and my take-aways from my first stand-alone marathon. I say first “stand-alone marathon”  because I had actually run two marathons prior to Chicago…but they came after a 2.4 mile swim and 112 mile bike. Needless to say, my legs were tired before I even started those marathons.

  • Really happy with my time

I really was not sure heading in to the race whether my  goal of a sub 3:30 marathon was even warranted. My best marathon out of the two iron-distance marathons was 4:12:xx (9:38 mins/mile). Even then, it was my first 140.6 and I certainly held back a little to ensure a finish. The second marathon, I consciously decided to take it down a notch and simply enjoy the run after surviving a brutal bike course at the 2012 Great Floridian iron distance triathlon. I finished that one in 4:35:xx (10:31 mins/mile). So based on my iron distance marathons and my PR at the half marathon distance in 2011 of 1:37:48 (7:27 min/mile), I believed I was capable of the sub 3.5 hour finish. At Chicago, I was able to beat that by 10 minutes.

  •  Nutrition

Pre-race nutrition was fine as I had no issues before or during the race. Had around 500 calories of food about three hours before the race. Had some coffee as well. Pretty sure I did not eat enough during the race though. I hit a wall around mile 22 and was just holding on for dear life. I knew I could break the 3:20 mark and fought every step to do so. Toughest 4 miles of my life.

  • The race itself

I felt really good the first few miles after starting out at the pace needed to run a 3:30 marathon (8 mins/mile). After the third or maybe fourth mile, I just decided to go for it. I probably picked up my pace to around 7:30 mins/mile and tried to stay there until the end.  Through it all, the race and the 18 weeks of structured training, I couldn’t have been more pleased with my finishing time!

I could easily break the race into three different sections. My nutrition may have been a factor but perhaps that is just how the race went down:

  1. Miles 0 – 12: Damn, I feel good. It’s like I am running on a cloud.
  2. Miles 12 – 22: Reality – progressively feeling the fatigue set in.
  3. Miles 22 – Finish: Hold on for dear life if you want that sub 3:20.