Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Off-Season

Thanks to my wife and a friend, I briefly considered racing the NYC Marathon because it's only four weeks after Chicago and I'd still be in pretty decent shape to retry for 3:10.  But with NYCM only 1.5 weeks away, I think I'm just going to stick with my original plan and make it a jog/walk and start enjoying my off-season with a camera.

Speaking of which, with my photo-a-day project done, I've missed taking photos.  Luckily, I've found something to keep me motivated this off-season - submitting photos to stock sites.  Starting to build up a library  at, and upon acceptance, and  My goal in all this?  To see if I can get a few hundred photos on each site.  This is not a race so there's no time frame.  It's just another layer of enjoyment and motivation for a hobby that's become incredibly addicting, much like running.

Monday, October 10, 2011

2011 Chicago Marathon recap

I had only one goal for this race:  run a 3:10.  You see, I've grown tired of training for and running marathons, and I just want to do end this year with a bang with plans on taking off next year.  That said, I carried a 24oz water bottle as opposed to 16oz, and filled it with ~2tsp salt.  Also carried 6 Roctane's and picked up an additional clif shot at mile 17.   I logged the most training miles I've ever done for this race.  I missed out on tempo and speed mileage until the last month of training because of a twisted ankle, but I thought the additional miles and the multiple Tabata sprints addressed that.  So come the day of the marathon, I was ready for battle.

The gun went off with Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run on the loudspeakers to amp up the runners, myself included.  My goal was to run the first 10k feeling easy.  It felt easy even though I may have gone out a little faster than planned.  After 10k, I planned on running at about 7:00 - 7:10.  My next checkpoint was 13.1 @ about 1:35:xx to have a shot at my goal.  Check.  Next was mile 20 @ 2:25, which would leave me with ~45 mins for the last 10k.  Check.  I had still planned on gutting out at least 1 or 2 sub-7 miles in the 20's.  Then the wheels started to fall off.

I felt the initial cramp twinge around mile 17-18, but shrugged it off and drank more water and gatorade.  I didn't want to pay it any respect because I had a very specific goal that wouldn't accomodate cramps.  I tried to pick up the pace to get the sub-7 miles as planned, but both legs now were telling me to stop or they'd lock up.  Still didn't listen.  By mile 24, the twinges started to become knots and I had to take walk breaks.  At about mile 25, I was reduced to a stiff legged walk for several hundred meters.  My entire right hind leg just locked up.  Attempts to stretch the hind muscles caused the quads to cramp up.  I hadn't experienced that since my first marathon.  Gracious spectators rooted me on with looks of pity and encouragement.  I almost felt bad for making them feel bad for me.  Some of them offered me a beer for comfort.  I was almost tempted. 

In the end, I could only smile and be thankful for the battle as countless runners passed me by on the final 800.  I armed myself well and gave it my best shot, but it wasn't meant to be.  I was also very happy and excited for my friend and colleague and long run training partner Craig who passed me at about mile 26.  He set a PR by 10 minutes.  How awesome is that?

Note:  Prayers and thoughts to the family of the North Carolina fireman who collapsed 500m from the finish and  died 2 hrs later in the hospital.  I saw at least a couple of runners in the last 3 miles being treated with IV drips and it reminded me of how tough this event really is. 

Mileage splits:
1- 7:17
2 - 7:01
3- 7:08
4 -7:04
5 - 7:17
6 - 7:21
7 - 7:06
8 - 6:55
9 - 7:05
10 - 7:02
11 - 7:01
12 - 7:02
13 - 6:52
14 - 6:38
15 - 7:12
16 - 7:07
17 - 7:12
18 - 7:19
19 - 7:24
20 - 7:32
21 - 7:42
22 - 7:57
23 - 8:15
24 - 9:11
25 - 12:35
26 - 9:11  (.73 miles)