for your enjoyment - my 2007 chicago marathon race recap: (a few present-day notes in red)
i survived the '07 chicago marathon (marathons, by the way, are 26.2 miles). a little over 45,000 people registered for the race - only 24,000 people finished. on a record-setting 90 degree day in chicago (in october), the race was cancelled about 3 hours in.
as usual, my original goal was to run a 3:40 (a bq). it was 75 degrees at 6:00am, and the race didnt start until 8. probably about 6 miles in, i abandoned my goal -- i decided i just wanted to beat my old time (3:56). that quickly turned into keeping it around my previous marathon times (sub 4:02), which shortly after the halfway point became "i just want to finish". sometimes i didn't even want that... for the first time in my life i thought "i will never run again" (we all know i will though). it was just miserable. around mile 17ish i passed one of the pacers for the race who said "at this point it's all about survival and making it back." comforting, isn't it? after hearing that i thought - i just want to live, but what little competitiveness was left in me would not let me drop-out of the race so i pressed on. (apparently i was quite the drama queen)
i had some soreness from the running / walking (let's be real it was 90 degrees, i didn't run the whole time) but i also felt my eyes getting heavy and thought i was maybe about to pass out. this started at like mile 8, by the way. i had a bit of a headache which usually = early sign of dehydration. i forced myself to drink gatorade and water at every station even though i didn't want it at most of them. it's probably a good thing i did, because they ran out of ambulances in the chicago area.
over 300 runners were hospitalized and one died. [run in peace chad schieber]
from about mile 10 on - you could constantly hear sirens wailing throughout the city. there was a runner down at least every 1/4 mile, and the majority of the runners, like myself, turned into walkers. it was like a zombie movie - there were no more runners, it was a death march. at the water station near mile 23 i heard officials announcing "the chicago marathon has been cancelled due to the extreme heat and humidity - please drink plenty of fluids and walk the remainder of the race". at first i thought it was a joke but then the policemen started making annoucements over their radio/speaker things and even from a helicopter flying overhead. i ended up walking it out with a lady from boston while the wonderful crowds/fans continued to cheer everyone on, even though the race had been called off. we crossed the finish line with a craptacular time but since the race was cancelled - my time doesn't count (in my opinion). they still gave us our medals and considered us finishers of the race - so technically i've crossed illinois off my list. (i'm still up in the air as to whether or not i should re-do illinois)
after finishing, (and laying down in the shade for 20 minutes - special thanks to matt (kid i had a crush on at the time hahaha) for talking to me on the phone and making sure i didn't pass out!) i went in search of my friends who'd started the race with me; luckily we'd all made it through ok. the finish area was like a scene from a tragic movie - people were milling about in a state of delirium (dehydration, heat exhaustion, etc) and searching for their friends/family members and hoping they were not carted off in one of the ambu's.
the day after... i'm actually not that sore - though i could use a killer back massage (and have been promised one-you better follow through!). my legs are ok, but i think i'll give myself a couple days off anyway. fingers crossed, but this is the first marathon (of 4) i've come out of injury free! well, minus the dehydration/heat-exhaustion problems i'm still working on. and yes, i'll probably be back out pounding the pavement later this week, but i think i might take some time off from the marathoning industry. (hah that clearly didn't happen)
i'm not sure who promised me that post-race back massage, but i don't think i ever got it. lame.
congrats to all the 2010 chicago marathon finishers!