Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Chicago Marathon - the BQ that wasn't...

It is obviously abundantly clear that the day of the Chicago Marathon just wasn't my day... But let's document it a little bit better, maybe having all of that additional information written down can help me reflect on the race a little bit better. At least, that is my goal with this post.

In theory, I was ready to #OWNCHICAGO. I had done all of the training. I  had run all of the miles. I was READY. (also, nervous. But if I was not nervous, then something would be wrong, I think!)
I set my race day alarm for 4 am. I made a cup of Starbucks Via (note for future marathons - check to see if your hotel has a coffee pot - hot water from the sink is not great) and then made my breakfast and my Gen UCan. I took my time getting ready. I read a few blogs from my phone (while keeping it plugged in to the charger, I wanted to make sure that I had full charge for tunes on the run) and ate slowly, making sure to finish everything that I had packed.

I text with Krista a little bit to find out when they were leaving, and I decided to leave my hotel at 6:15 after peeing several times. That would hopefully give me the time to walk over there (stretch my legs a little), use a port-o-potty, and get into the corral by the 7:20 time that the corrals closed.

As I got close to Grant Park, there started to be more and more people. I went through Gate 1, since I was in Corral C. As soon as I turned the corner off Michigan the crowd STOPPED. I overheard some people say that if you didn't have a bag, you could get over to the right (I had no idea why, but I did not have a bag, so I tried to shove through crowds to get over there). After about 25 minutes I got through and made my way toward the C corral. I had heard that there were not potties in the corrals, so I looked at the lines. Then I looked at my watch. Getting a chance to pee? It was just NOT going to happen. I didn't have to go terribly, I just wanted to get EVERYTHING out before I started running. I figured the worst thing was that I was going to have to stop 2-3 miles into the race. Oh well...

I made my way into the C corral toward the front right, which was where Krista and I agreed to meet. I found her and Joe and we chatted for a few minutes. I ended up not having dinner with them the night before as we had originally planned due to being REALLY HUNGRY and so J and I just went and got something solo. But we talked for a few minutes and started to get excited about what we were about to do.

When we started, it took us about 5 minutes to get across the start, not too long at all. Krista took off - seriously, she was FLYING. I did everything I could to keep my pace in check immediately. Note: these splits are based off the mile marker on my watch, which I can tell from looking at the map was in and out with signal, likely due to the buildings. My tangents are less than awesome, but I definitely was NOT running on sidewalks or through buildings.

Mile 1: 8:07 - little too fast, better hold back a bit.
Mile 2: 8:21 - ok, not quick enough let's go Em, settle in.
Mile 3: 8:06
Mile 4: 7:46 (whoops)
Mile 5: 7:58
Mile 6: 8:05

It was here that I started to have issues. So, running along through the park at mile 6, people were still clumped very close together. This is unlike any marathon I have run before (or half, since I have only run 2 fulls previously). Usually after the first 2-3 miles, you have some space to move around, and I definitely did not get that here. I ended up RIGHT behind some guy with a shirt on that had some kind of strange pattern. The pattern started jumping around on this shirt, which was making me feel a little uncomfortable. I got around him, but progressively started to feel worse.
Mile 7: 8:04
Mile 8: 7:57
Mile 9: 8:08

Mile 8 and 9 were particularly fun. We were running down Broadway and although I was starting to feel worse (honestly my head was feeling disconnected from the rest of my body), I tried to enjoy what was happening around me. There were drag queens onstage who were singing and shouting - admiring my socks, in particular, and they were clearly having a blast. But in the back of my mind, i was starting to get nervous. I should NOT feel this dizzy and sick only 9 miles in. I have WAY too far to go. I crossed the 15K mat and if you look at my splits (this is the last one I posted), I was hitting my goal DEAD ON.

Mile 10: 8:13
Mile 11: 8:08
Mile 12: 8:12

Sometime during the 12th mile I actually started swaying... And that scared the bits out of me. Seriously, I got terrified. And so... I pulled up. I walked over to a curb. I stretched my calves and tried to breathe. And then... I stepped off the course. I started crying immediately and walked back toward the med tent I had just passed. I told them I was very dizzy and wobbily. They sat me down, did a bunch of checks (heart rate, blood pressure, etc) and gave me a bottle of gatorade. I drank it and started to feel nauseous so they helped me get back to a cot. I text Jason to tell him where I was (he was about a mile up the road) and he started to head back to me.

I was crying. Not because anything hurt, but because I was so down about what had just happened to me. I truly don't know what went wrong or what happened to make me feel that way. My suspicions are some combination of dehydration + some claustrophobia mixed together. I tend to get very anxious in crowds, and this race WAS a crowd, big time. I had pretty much immediately decided that my vision of trying to get into NYC was NOT a good one. I am not going to put myself through that again.

So that was that. J got there and we decided to walk over to Old Town to see my cousin (turns out, they moved as you know from a previous post) but I was already starting to feel better, so we walked back to the hotel.

I want to look back on some of my mental thoughts AFTER this race, so be on the lookout for that coming up!

1 comment:

  1. I'm so sorry it worked out this way for you, I know how hard you trained. I'm proud of you for not pushing into a danger zone when you felt so dizzy. You are right about NYC thought - I've run both Chicago and NYC and NYC is even more of a crowd the whole time. Rest a bit, maybe you can grab another fall marathon on the training you already have under your belt!