Skip to main content

2016 Chicago Marathon

Finish line - "Meh"
For my final running event of 2016, I ran the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Oct 9th. Which meant, among other things, a trip down memory lane (I lived in Chicago from 2007-2012) and a belly full of tasty regional grub.

Alex and I flew in Thursday, dropped our bags at our friends' apartment in Lakeview, and immediately hit up The Wiener's Circle for a Chicago dog with everything on it (but no ketchup, rookies). The days leading up to the event also consisted of Giordano's deep dish pizza, Big Bowl stir-fry, and all the Irish pub fare and Midwestern craft beer a boy could ever hope for. I tend to become a vacuous expanse leading up to running events, I'll admit it.

Blah blah carbo-loading blah blah glycogen. The truth is that I friggin' love to eat.

The morning of the race arrived. My pre-race ritual is very nebulous and unstructured. I sorta let my focus drift in and out. Sometimes I try to go through the course in my head mile by mile, but then other times I just let my eyes glaze over and check in with my body. Sunday was no exception. Alex came with me as usual to take care of the gear (an incredible support team of one. I dunno how she does it, seriously). We rode the train into downtown to avoid road closures and got to the starting corrals by around 6:15am.

The Chicago course is notoriously flat, and basically at sea-level, so I felt reasonably comfortable that I'd have a good race. I'll admit, I'm carrying a few extra pounds right now (shocker, based on my diet, right?), but my legs are probably stronger than they've ever been. Also, the weather was a perfect 50 degrees at the starting line with very little wind. The race got underway and, within the first couple miles, I could tell this race was gonna be...

...a problem.

Wait, what?

Yeah. A problem.

See, I felt fantastic out of the gate. So good, in fact, that my original race plan went quickly out the window. I had told myself to start at around an 8:05 min/mile pace and aim for negative splits, which would put me on track for a 3:25:00 marathon. But when I looked down at my watch after what felt like a slow, easy first mile and saw 7:46 staring back up at me, I got excited.

"Holy crap," I thought, stupidly. "I know I shouldn't keep up this pace, but that was too easy. Let's keep this pace and see if I can crush my PR!"

And, had I actually done that, I might have.

But I went full-idiot and did something worse: I sped up.

Wait...what?... No, that can't be right. My GPS watch just screwed up, right? Yeah, that's it. Don't let it go to your head, JVB. Just run your race.
....shit. That was a bad over-correction.

I reached the half-marathon marker on pace to finish with a 3:17:56 time. But I had over-exerted my body in the first half of the race, depleting my fuel too early, and I ultimately struggled hard to finish with a final time of 3:33:53.

Was it the worst result in the world? No.

Am I mad at myself for greedily sabotaging my own race even though I knew better? You bet your ass. This was my eighth marathon and I made a newbie mistake.

Am I done trying to push myself past my boundaries? Come on now, get real. ;-)



Popular posts from this blog

Last Call 50

As midnight approached on Saturday, July 11th, Alex and I pulled into the mountain town of Fairplay, CO for the 2020 edition of the Last Call 50 Mile Endurance Run. Less than 2 hours away from metro Denver,  Fairplay sits at about 9500 feet above sea level. The surrounding peaks are the perfect playground for trail runners, and this race would highlight that fact beautifully. With COVID-19 still wreaking havoc on the US, there was part of me that worried that Last Call 50 wouldn't even happen at all. But race director (and friend) John LaCroix made sure that there was a detailed protocol in place that would keep runners and volunteers safe and healthy. Part of that was implementing a wave start, with groups of about 20 people each starting the race at 11:40pm, 11:50pm, and then midnight. I was in the 11:50pm grouping. As we lined up to depart from the South Park School track, I told myself one last time, "You've got this." So many questi

2017 Bear Chase Trail 50k Race Report

  *NOTE: It's been a few months since I ran the Bear Chase Trail 50k, but I realized I haven't written up a race report for it yet, so I'm gonna do my best to remember the details. When I made the decision to register for the Bear Chase Trail 50k, I was sitting at a burger joint on a Friday afternoon with a colleague. We had just finished plowing through a pile of fries, and I was looking out the window at the late summer afternoon in Colorado. The final stretch of training had begun for the Indian Creek 50 Miler, and I needed to squeeze in a final long run before taper began. My laptop sat open in front of me on the restaurant table, and I returned my gaze to my internet browser window, which was open on . In my free time, I enjoy hunting for future events to run, and I couldn't help but notice that there was actually a nearby trail 50k the following morning. Yep, that's right. The following morning. As in... less than 24-hours later. Now,

2017 Indian Creek 50-Mile Race Report

Back in April, I wrote a brief post about my desire to move up from the marathon distance and begin exploring the world of ultra running. Shortly thereafter, I planned my 2017 race season, which would culminate in an attempt at my first 50 mile event: the Indian Creek Fifties, hosted by Human Potential Running series. Why I chose Indian Creek Fifties There's no shortage of fifty milers in Colorado, so why did I opt for Indian Creek? It came down to a number of factors that, when combined, actually made the decision pretty easy. The Timing Was Right - I had a few work obligations that prevented me from racing in September, and the weather in Colorado is actually pretty damn nice in October anyway. The Course Was Exciting - Coming from a road marathon background, I wanted to run a true mountain ultra. IC50 is a beautiful romp through Roxborough State Park and boasts nearly 9,500 ft of lung-busting vertical gain. Every step of that race is a climb or a descent. Nothing is