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2008 Chicago Marathon

October 12, 2008 (Morning)

Exercise Type: Run

Weather: Mostly sunny, low 60s to mid 70s

My first marathon -- what an experience!

The original goal was 3:30, but my training fell off in the weeks leading up to the race so I was fairly certain I wouldn't hit that. I decided to give it a shot, though.

I didn't qualify for a starting corral, so the first 3 or 4 miles it was a lot of weaving through people trying to get to a point where I could settle into an even pace.

The first half was so much fun. I kept moving up, mostly sticking to the left side of the road, as the sides appeared to have the most room to pass people. It was also cool running so close to all the cheering spectators. I came through the halfway mark in 1:44:09, so slightly faster than planned.

The lack of training soon set in, though. As early as mile 15 I realized that there was no way I could hold pace. I soon started playing mental games of figuring out what sort of time I could salvage. 3:40? Maybe. Focus on that. But as I got deeper into the race, the legs got more and more tired and I slowed down more and more. By the end, I was just focusing on getting to the next water stop for the opportunity to get some Gatorade and walk a bit*. I had to fight thoughts of quitting or walking for a mile**. There was plenty of time to convince myself that this was the stupidest idea I'd ever had and I'd never put myself through the torture again.

All of those thoughts disappeared when I made the final turn and saw the finish line, though. There were lots of people lining the street cheering and it was just an amazing moment. I threw my arms up in the air, did a few fist pumps, and managed a bit of a kick for the last few hundred meters. It was one of the best experiences in my ~13 years of running.

In the end, I'm really happy that I did it and with my performance. I think I'll do another, with better preparation. I think that the half-marathon distance might really be the sweet spot, though.

5K: 0:25:50
10K: 0:50:35
15K: 1:14:43
20K: 1:38:50
HALF: 1:44:09
25K: 2:03:49
30K: 2:30:48
35K: 3:00:47
40K: 3:32:27
FINISH: 3:45:33

Overall: 3,899 of 31,401 finishers
Gender: 3,100
Division: 551

* The hydration strategy was to walk each water stop while I drank Gatorade.

** I had decided before the race that if I had to walk outside of the water stops, I'd rather drop out and not finish. It was a personal decision that I don't know if I would've followed through on, but I'm glad I didn't have to find out.

Distance Duration Pace Interval Type Shoes
26.2 Miles 3:45:33 8:36 / Mile Race Saucony Grid Hurricanes (Blue)