Race Report

#75: 10/13/19 — Chicago Marathon (Illinois: 5:32:33)

Oh wow! I’m a “marathoner!”

This is a continuation of my #firstworldproblems sob-story on running marathons with little training and being really slow. 🙃 I guess I should also add that I’ve been on the ‘Keto Diet’ for almost two months. While I’m glad I’ve seen success and have lost 14 pounds to date (sooooooo needed), I also realized during this race that the lack of sugar has definitely impacted my energy and heart rate! I have noticed that without overloading on carbs and sugar, I am slower than my normal slow. Muuuuch slower.


Remember, I started training from injury on September 2, so I knew this was going to be a push. Chicago was my 4th marathon, 11 years ago! I can’t believe how much this race has changed! I can’t believe what a world-class event this has turned into! When I did Chicago back in 2008, I registered and I ran. It didn’t seem like that big of a production. There wasn’t a lottery, and I actually don’t recall if it was an Abbot world major event. 🤷🏻‍♀️ I applied for the lottery a year ago and got in. I just wanted to see if I still liked this race after all these years.

While I loved the energy, this race confirmed for me that I am just so over the mass-produced marathon (other than NYC, of course)! The expo was a zoo. The hotel was a zoo. The city was a zoo. Getting to the start, while not as bananas as Marine Corps Marathon (4 hours of walking before you even start running), the whole event was chaos and too much of a noob event for me. These mass produced marathons draw so many first-timers, and I don’t know what it is, but there’s a significant lack of etiquette and self-awareness in the people that run. I get it. They’re all stressed out about their time and the logistics and the day, but does it mean you have to be a total jerk? Doesn’t mean you have to shove people in the corrals to get you get closer. We ALL start moving at the same time! Will you win if you’re five people closer to the front? Don’t think so. Doesn’t mean you need to elbow people through the water-stops because we’re in your way. We are ALL trying to get fluid. Sorry, but you do kind-of have to slow down near the tables to actually GRAB the water. It’s just how it works–don’t get angry that someone is breaking your pace (and if we’re at the water stop at the same time, you’re definitely not in the lead to win). It doesn’t mean you have to toss a mostly full cup of something carelessly onto someone else because you’re in such a hurry. There are soooo many trash cans—at least empty the cup or drink it before you spray everyone, and really, there are a lot of trash cans. Help those volunteers out—pitch it in! These are the things that I personally expereinced during this race and quite honestly, I’m just over it. You really do not get this type of behavior in a smaller race (500 runners or less) or a a trail race. THOSE are my people. Working together, not against you. Encoraging you, not pushing or shoving you, and most importantly, having consideration for other people.

Back to Chicago. We flew in on Friday night. A month before, I couldn’t even decide if I was actually going to run this race because of my hammies. I’m healed, but as you’ve heard over-and-over again, my training went to hell-and-a-handbasket. With the cost of the race already invested, we decided to do it. The last big, big that I ran was Boston, and it’s been 11 years since Chicago, so I kind of didn’t know what to expect. Our hotel was the W Lakeshore. Tiny rooms with beautiful views. Reilly settled right into ‘his space’ on the window sill. There was no sofa, so where was he going to lounge?  We visited the expo on Saturday. In and out–you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all. There’s nothing I need to buy and the crowds were overwhelming and annoying. 

On race day, the W Lakeshore actually had shuttles to the starting line–which was really surprising. Made that easy. This hotel is not near the L, so it was going to be a production getting there. I got down to Millennial Park, and as expected, it was a shit-show 💩 of a crowd. I was in Wave 3, Corral J–which means I started running sometime after 8:35 a.m.

People as far as the eye can see!

I chit-chatted with some strangers at the start, and as expected, about 10-wide and deep, everyone around me was a first-timer. 🙄 But, what I was really excited about was the fact that I was going to see some work people local to Chicago along the way! I’m so used to showing up on my own and maybe seeing Reilly and Nish at the finish (if the logistics are reasonable). My orders to them were ‘save yourselves…’ do not come to the finish line. It will be chaos. They went to the Planetarium instead. I saw Courtney and Matt right before mile 7 with Bloody Marys in hand–now if it had been mile 20, for sure, I’d have some.  I saw Gordon right after mile 8 with chocolate milk for me in hand (how dreamy), and then I saw Karla right at mile 9.5 and again at mile 21.  Seeing them within the first 10 miles made the front go by SOOOO fast! It was really cool they got out of bed to look for me!

I carried on through the crowded, rowdy streets of Chicago and I finished. The last 6 miles were straight into the wind. I felt like I was running sideways at some points. It was also cold. Not complaining because it’s better than hot, but it was cold with the wind. My heart rate was definitely better in this race versus Budapest, but I was still painfully slow. These slower times really do disappoint and are hard to accept. This was my second and likely last Chicago Marathon. It was a great event with tons of energy! The city sure does know how to party, but I’m good. Back to my smaller races (except, of course, if I get into NYC anytime ever).

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Seth Kramer

Congrats on another! I have a soft spot in my heart for Chicago, the city, not as much the race, as a midwesterner, but I’m totally with you on the big races…Eeesh.