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5ksandcabernets: Chicago Marathon race report


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chicago Marathon race report


5k......24:23....7:51 min/mile
10k....24:04....7:45 min/mile
15k....23:51.....7:41 min/mile
20k....24:44....7:58 min/mile
half ........1:42:23
30k....28:06.....9:03 min/mile
35k.....34:55....11:14 min/mile
40k.....49:13.....15:51 min/mile

I’m not sure when I felt the first sign of trouble, when the spasming in my calves and quads began and the fight to qualify for Boston ended. All I knew then, and now: That was the worst I’ve ever felt in a marathon. Ever.

The last nine miles were pretty much a death march, and I spent those two plus hours (yep, that’s how long it took me to walk/run the last 9 plus miles) going through a range of emotions, though mostly my mind went from anger to feeling sorry for myself from mile to mile.

And so, needless to say, 4:14 at the Chicago Marathon is nothing to write home about. Not when I thought I could possibly run 3:14, and no worse than 3:20. I won’t drag on here with too much play by play. You can look at my 5k splits above provided by the Chicago Marathon people and figure out just how slow I ran. But I will say this: I ate the same way that I’ve eaten before long runs. I took my GU and salt tablets at the same point in the run as I did during my long runs; I ran the first half in about 1:42, which was two minutes slower than goal pace, leaving me in good position to run a nice hard negative split. (My half marathon PR was a 1:31…So its not like I ran the first half of the marathon too fast.)

I actually started cramping around Mile 14 and gave up on trying to BQ, but when I ran Mile 17 in 7:30 giving me a total time of 2:11, I thought I was on my way to at least a PR. But little did I know that it would take me twice as long to finish each of the last five miles. Yep. I was doing 15 minute miles from 22 on. Every few minutes or so, a pace group would pass me. First, the 3:30 pacer. Then the 3:40s. Then 3:50s. It was real pitiful when the 4:00 pace group passed me.
And it wasn’t like I could just run through the cramps. Men, take your worst bedtime Charlie Horse … Women, take your worst menstrual cramping …. Then go run. That’s how I felt the last two hours. (OK, I admit, I’ve never had menstrual cramping – but u get the picture).

Yeah, it was hot. 65 at the start and 85 at the finish. But it was disheartening nevertheless because hundreds, no thousands, of people must have passed me over the last four or five miles. Why weren’t they being affected as much as I was? Am I the only one walking?

Yeah, I saw a lot of carnage, a lot of medics on the court, a lot of people sprawled on the ground, lots of people throwing up. But of the people moving, I was moving the slowest. Seriously. The only difference between me and a dead man was the fact I wasn’t wearing a toe tag.

Right after the race was over, I told somebody that I was done with running marathons. I always cramp at these things. Always. I actually thought I was past the kind of cramping that happened at the Chicago Marathon, but the pain in my legs was as bad as it was when I ran my first marathon in 2005. That means in nearly five years, I’ve learned nothing about how to make my body go 26.2.

I don’t now. I’m just tired of embarrassing myself at these races. I’ve since backed off the “never again” stance, but I wont run another marathon until I make a trip to an allergist or a nutritionist. I wanna know whats wrong with me? Why do I cramp up all the time? How is it that I can run a 6:00 min/mile pace for a 5k, but struggle to hold a 9:00 min/mile pace for a marathon?

Until I get these answers, I am done running marathons. Done embarrassing myself. Done. Done. Done.


Blogger Billy said...

Dude Kevin, you know I feel ya and your pain. But let's get one thing clear: you did NOT embarrass yourself.

I know you had all the confidence in the world going in (and as well you should have) but you just never know what kind of fate will befall you come game day. The marathon can chew you up and spit you out but that's why we keep fighting it - for that one day when we get in a zone and it all falls together. I've yet to experience that but I'll keep chasing it. And if I happen to get a PR/BQ out of it, all the better.

We all know you've got potential. You just gotta keep rolling the dice come race day and just give your best effort. Maybe it's physiological. Maybe it's psychological. Either way, I know it'll all come together for ya one day. You've got too much GD talent to not run a BQ time one day soon.

I give you much props for laying it out there Kevin. It just didn't come together for whatever reason. But don't waste your time feeling sorry for yourself. Keep swinging for the fences. Keep swinging brother. I know it'll all come together one day and this will be but a distant memory.

Proud that you gutted it out and finished. And Boston ain't going anywhere.

October 13, 2010 at 9:39 PM  
Blogger Iyo Ngwe - Burundi Trip '08 said...

i once ran 4:13 at chicago under similar conditions. keep your head up. there's always another race to run. way to finish knowing that you weren't going to get your goal, that takes a lot of mental strength.

October 13, 2010 at 10:19 PM  
Blogger Just_because_today said...

I can tell you you did great, you finished, how many people out there can't even run a mile but I know exactly what you are feeling. Some marathons come together, arms swinging to the music, waving to spectators and feeling you got it that you got it. And then others suck from beginning to end. This one did. There will be others and you might never figure out what makes one good and others bad but we keep trying to find it

October 14, 2010 at 8:13 AM  
Blogger lindsay said...

+1 to billy's comment

Dude what is up? You ROCK month after month of training and your legs pick race day to act up. I can imagine the frustration. I am certainly not poking fun of you over here - don't think you are an embarrassment! We know you are capable of amazing marathoning, we just need to figure out the cramp drama.

Your nutrition seems dialed in pre and mid race. That would have been my first culprit but like you said it's the same routine as long runs and you don't cramp like this during them. You were most prepared for the weather being from Texas... what about running in calf sleeves? Only other thing I could think of. Were you well-hydrated? Maybe your body is extra sensitive to dehydration?

Kevin, I am so sorry that you are continuing to have these issues. I wish I knew a way to help! Hopefully you'll find a good doc / sports physician who will be able to help. You are a GREAT runner and I know I will be stalking you in Boston one day!

October 14, 2010 at 10:29 AM  
Blogger Sean said...

sounds so familiar - my personal worst is the 2007 chicago for similar reasons. i cramped for years until lately. i finally got my BQ earlier this year without any hard cramps. i'm not sure what has worked, just a progression of training or trying every nutritional trick in the book. for my latest marathons i drink nothing but sports drink the 24 hours before a race - that seems to help.

don't give up yet.


October 19, 2010 at 11:38 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

So sorry the race didn't go as you planned! But remember - while it FELT like everyone was faster than you, there were probably plenty of others at the same pace or slower who just never caught you, since you were so speedy in the early miles.

October 27, 2010 at 1:07 PM  

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