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Chicago Marathon Race Report


The day before the race we got groceries for dinner, then went home to put our feet up. We ate spaghetti & pizza & watched “The Short Game,” a documentary on kid golf prodigies. I tried falling asleep to This American Life, but sleep was lost to each of us.

4:30am wakeup – coffee’s, bagels, almond butter, bananas. Geared up. Us three bundled, left a dark home into a dark morning walk to the L. The train was filled with bodies in throwaway layers & sleepy eyes, swaying to the jerks of the high rise track turns. Exited off the redline at Jackson; herds of runners with side slung clear bags walked through the security checkpoint/s, body scans, bag checks, and ushered to prospective corrals, the sky still black – the only thing lit – the glit of mass-windows from tall buildings in clusters. Amber and I separated from our friend and teammate, Alyson, heading towards the ADP tent, which was kept warm with water & snacks. Announcements were made that we would head to the start line 30 minutes prior to gun; it was a cold morning & we hadn’t prepared for tossaway clothes. A lovely woman navigated plastic garbage bags for Amber and I, which we were able to maintain warmth within. We were lined up behind the elites, got to see the thin gams of Jeptoo, the American’s hoping to solidify some top finishes, Sarah Porter-Crouch and Jake Riley, two old flames I miss. We examined the differences in the bodies, the similarities, was there a formula? No. Was there a type? No. Ber & I at the start, critical of too-thin thighs were hungry to see a variance in elite bodies.

The anthem was sung to the sky. The elites went, us then, which was a bit anti-climactic, or our spirits were, because it began with a start, and startled were we as we pushed start on our watches for gun time accuracy. To be considered for an OT cash prize ($2500) at Chicago, you needed to have garnered a 2:42:59 off gun time (wmns). Two small forms of anxiety – how much time would lapse between gun and our actual crossing of the start line, and would the course run long? I felt my training indicated [close enough] proximity to a 2:43 that factors such as these could change the race. (Un)luckily, I didn’t give myself the opportunity to take hold of these factors. I, in my naivete & with a watch disillusioned by the scrapers, didn’t consider pacing till mile 7. My only beacon was oiselle runner & teammate in the team comp, Allison Maxson, who was going for the OT. Keeping her in sight was a helpful indication. Maxson ended up with a 2:39. The buildings & tunnels likely threw these times askew – my gps held the following:

5:46, 5:36, 5:27, 5:46, 6:03, 6:02, 6:09, 6:10, 6:09, 6:11, 6:07, 6:11, 5:57, 6:06, 6:13, 6:14, 6:31, 6:18, 6:20, 6:30, 6:38, 6:30, 6:38, 6:50, 6:35, 6:35.

Chi-Marathon tracking indicates:

5k (6:07’s) 10k (6:06’s) 15k (6:12’s) 20k (6:16’s) HALF (6:09’s) 25k (6:15’s) 30k (6:28’s) 35k (6:37’s) 40k (6:43’s) Finish (6:35’s)

Naive. Yes. Despite the efforts to “start out conservative” and run a smart race – I just really enjoyed the feeling in my legs that first half & I wanted to believe in the possibility that it could continue further.

Once I realized what I’d done, an unconscious “banking of time,” I didn’t believe that I lost the opportunity. It was at mile 15 that I understood the deficit. Was I giving it everything? An unfair question at 15 – it’s likely that even if you aren’t, you feel as if you are, or it’s complex, because you need to wager systems of reserve in order to estimate pacing for 11 more miles. I tried not thinking. I tried to keep below the 6:12 marker. The pace rose. At some point I developed a second tier goal – pr. When you’re ¾ of the way through, know there’s a cash prize lost to you, know it’ll take another race & another training session to try to obtain your goal, it makes those last miles a lesson in dissolving negativity. However, though I made some obvious mistakes, I felt stronger mentally.

Want to read more? Go HERE for the rest of the article.


-Courtney, C.A.

Noble Chiropractic
119 Grand Ave
Bellingham, WA 98225
(360) 671-7067


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