Chicago Marathon

Chicago was one of the first trips I did as a solo traveler and my first time in the US that I could remember (I don’t think me going when I was 4 years old counted!) so I was really excited to be going back, especially when I was going to be running my fifth and last marathon of the year there! 

The Chicago marathon is one of the six major marathons so it was a big deal and the city was completely outfitted for it. Banners, ads, and basically everyone was in the mood for the big race.

I spent some days before the race to take in the sights. Since I had done all the sightseeing already I didn’t really need to go to all of the museums or up all the towers so it was more just wandering around. I walked along the waterfront which is simply beautiful and saw the beautiful skyline. I walked down the Magnificent Mile where the running stores like Adidas and Nike was packed with people. I walked around the loop which is the name of the inner city after the loop of elevated trains that go around. It was just a pleasure being back in Chicago and enjoying the city. What I really enjoy about Chicago is that it somehow combines a hectic metropolis with kind and laid-back people so even as the city was a stand-in for Gotham in places, it doesn’t feel like that. It feels local somehow.

The weather was mixed up until the race. One day was very sunny, another would be extremely cloudy where the skyline would be erased almost.

After the race I went to the Second City to watch improv which is always funny and can really recommend. Chicago is such a nice city and the race was phenomenal.

Race information

Goals

  • Finish – Completed
  • Set a PR – Just a few minutes shy

Pictures

Splits

  • 5K – 00:33:17
  • 10K – 01:05:40
  • 15K – 01:37:42
  • 20K – 02:10:02
  • 21.1K – 02:18:46
  • 25K – 02:44:41
  • 30K – 03:19:19
  • 35K – 03:55:43
  • 40K – 04:32:40
  • 42.2K – 04:47:07

Training

I didn’t do any training since my Scotland half marathon but I did fly in early to get used to the timezone which helped a lot.

Pre-race

Basically the entire city was running in the marathon. Or at least it felt like it. My entire dorm was going to the race, what felt like the entire hostel was going to run. So I woke up early and went out to get some cereal for breakfast. After breakfast and getting dressed I got out and on the completely packed train and took it downtown. The place was filled with runners but luckily it wasn’t hard to get to the baggage check or even a long toilet queue.

Race

The race started in slightly cold and wet conditions. It wasn’t raining but it had rained throughout the night and just before the race so the surface was wet. The start went off well. The streets were wide so there was not shuffling around or even a lot of jostling and overtaking to find your pace which was a relief. My feet got wet quickly though despite it not raining.

The route itself was really nice. Super flat, generally nice surfaces (even though they were wet) and the neighborhoods we were running through were really nice to experience. Around 8K it started raining and we all got wet but luckily it was warm enough to not be dangerous and even a relief to get some of the heat out.

I had a great time coming in to the half marathon and I really thought that I could get a new PR. I calculated in my head that if I could keep the pace I could probably do with a 5-10 minute improvement. Unfortunately I think my race preparation wasn’t done well. I dropped one or two energy gels on the way which meant that I ran out of energy gels early on. I started taking the gels that they handed out but it wasn’t the same ones that I had which were tried and tested. So after the half, I got stomach cramps which slowed me down and at 30K, I completely lost my legs and my pace slowed down a lot. 

There was still hope however, I had been doing so well on the first half that I could potentially still make it but as I closed in to the finish line I ran out of time but I finished strong and made my second best time ever.

Post-race

I picked up my stuff and stretched out while enjoying the many snacks in the post race bag. I then treated myself to a deep dish pizza and hobbled back to the hostel where I relaxed and did as little as possible.

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