Sunday, August 12, 2007

The 2007 Chicago Distance Classic Race Report

Going into this race I had no idea what the expect or what to assume I could do. I hadn't run much in the previous week and half and those runs that I did do, I either had to start walking within a few miles or less or I just "got through them". Weather reports for the day were horrible...hot and humid...which is killer for any kind of race.

We still had in the back of our minds that if Jason ran 1:45:59 or less he would qualify for the 'C Corral' Start at the marathon which I was placed in due to my 2006 Chicago marathon time. However, we had missed a 15 mile with 12 at Marathon Race Pace so our plan was to try and keep 8:15 as our base goal pace.

We woke up at 4am to make sure we were up and had some coffee and breakfast in us and were awake enough for the start. We went to bed at like 8:30 the night before and so we had gotten plenty of sleep. We drove downtown and parked and walked/ran to Jackson and Michigan to meet my mom and her husband who were going to see us racing for the first time. We walked to the start and told them where they could see us the easiest and then had them head off. We hit the portapotties one more time and then headed to the start.

We positioned ourselves between the 8min/mile and 9min/mile signs and a bit behind the 1:45 pacers. I was feeling so unprepared for this race and I got really nervous when we started. When I have done everything I can do to prepare for a race, I'm not as emotional for the start. This time though, I was having trouble breathing and might have had some watery eyes (no idea what that was about)....but then we were off.

Anyone who does Chicago races is familiar with this start as I think it's the same for the Shamrock Shuffle and the Chicago Marathon. So we are moving pretty well, trying to keep the first mile under control and a nice easy pace to ease on into the race. We hit Mile 1 at 7:44. I looked at Jason said...alright guess we are going for 1:45 then (we would have to pace 8:00min/mile to make that).

We went past the 1:45 pace group and hit Mile 2 at 7:44....again. Alright then....maybe it's still just a fluke. I started keeping track of how much of a buffer we had (so 30 seconds at this point). We saw my mom at this point and waved and smiled. We flew by Mile 3 at 7:40....ok, might need to slow down as these have typically been our Lactate Threshold paces. Saw Mom again right before Mile 4...which came in at 7:37.

(Jason says: at this point I was getting pretty annoyed with our fast pace. Well, maybe more worried than annoyed, but whatever. I never seem to think that I can run as fast as I probably can and so I freak out a bit when I go out as a quick pace. Negative thoughts creep in and I worry and it makes my breathing worse. It's something I need to work on.)

We stopped for a shot of gatorade and kept going. Mile 5 was at 7:50....Jason said he was really worried about keeping these paces up. I told him that if we die we die but we have built up a nice buffer. I wanted to get an idea of what it feels like to start a race at a certain pace and maintain it (basically) throughout the race. By this time in the race it had really heated up. I was noticing that I had goosebumps (or as Micheal Jordan called them...Chill Bumps) on my arms. This happened during a previous LT run where we ended up a bit dehydrated.....but I was still running ok, so it wasn't a huge problem. Nothing too thrilling for the next two miles just plodding along. Mile 6 : 7:49, Mile 7 : 7:52, Mile 8 : 7:59. We got another shot of Gatorade right before Mile 8.

Miles 9-11 were on the lakefront path. We love running on the lake front path...but for some reason (read : we had gone out to fast) this part was really difficult...it felt non-ending (Jason says: oh, wait, there's the sun. The sun is hot. Why won't the sun go away. Why does it hate me so.). Mile 9 was done in 7:53 and Mile 10 in 7:59. We had yet to have a mile over 8 minutes which was great......

and then...well, and then....I don't know if the going out too fast hit...or the heat...or whatever but we started to slow down.

(Jason says: Somewhere around mile ten or eleven I started to get really down on myself. I was completely exhausted and I was worried that my quads were going to give out on me like in Chicago last year and I honestly just wanted to cry. Or sleep. Or cry myself to sleep. It was everything I could do to keep from walking. But, I was extremely disappointed in my performance during that last four miles of Chicago last year and I wasn't thrilled with my mental state the year before that in the last four, so I decided to get tough, it's hard for everyone, and just push through. That seemed to help a bit. I still slowed down, there wasn't a choice in that regard, but I didn't walk)

Mile 11 was in 8:29, but to be fair to this mile we did have a longer Gatorade stop with the addition of grabbing a glass of water (we walk through the water stations so they tend to be a bit slower). But it was horrible. We turned onto the road that goes to the Planetarium and I thought that the mile marker was going to be right there, but it was still a ways away.

Between about Mile 11.5 and 12 there were some official race photographers...those are going to be HORRIBLE pictures of me. Right before we hit 12 I told Jason to go on ahead. I was feeling really really bad and I didn't want to screw up his chances for qualifying for the 'C Corral' because I had to slow waaaay down. He went on ahead and I went forward working on that last mile. Mile 12 was in 8:18.

(Jason says: Leah was worried that we weren't going to make it because our time was too slow, but I had been doing my own math and my watch said we had plenty of time. Still, I didn't want her to push it too hard on account of me, and I had no choice but to go as fast as possible, so I agreed to go ahead without the usual arguments.)

For those of you that ran this race...how fucking horrible was that finish!?!? For those of you that didn't, it was about a quarter mile north, quick left turn and then right back south ...right next to the people going the way you just came...then you headed around the softball fields.....back up north for the same block.....another quick left AND THEN back south to the finish. At this point I had lost sight of Jason in front of me...the 1:45 pace group passed me (along with everyone else actually). I couldn't get my legs to do anything that my brain was telling it to do. My feet were burning burning up, and I kept feeling like I was leaning way back when I was running.

Finally, I made the final turn onto Columbus and saw the finish line...and just put whatever I had left in my legs into turning them over for the finish. I took a quick look at the finish, saw Jason and ran towards him. At this point I felt like a cartoon character running. It felt like my legs were way way out in front of me and I was leaning really far back. I crossed the finish line, ran towards Jason and stumbled. A medic was there in an instant and said are you ok...I said, "no".

He got some people or Jason (Jason says: two medics were holding her upright, and then I came over when I turned and saw this (making the horrified husband face)) to help me walk because I couldn't support myself. They told Jason to get a wheelchair (Jason says: the guy kept telling me to get the wheelchair, but I didn't see a wheelchair. I was all frantic like a guy trying to get his wife to a hospital on TV. I think I almost killed a couple of people). Those of you that know me have to know how thrilled I was to have to be wheeled around in a wheelchair. They took me over to some fans and I was insisting that I was ok, that I just wanted to go. But every time I would get up I would stumble and get really dizzy. Finally someone else from the medic tent came over (she seemed to be in charge) came over and said...loudly, "You are not fine. You can't walk. You are coming into the medic tent and laying down" (Jason says: there were actually three doctors who all came over at the same time and I'm pretty sure they were ready to use physical force. One of the doctors turned to me and said "she has here own ideas about what she should do, doesn't she?" Yes, yes she does.). So I did just that. I layed down and they put ice packs under my head and stomach and then ice cold towels on my legs and then took some blood pressure readings, asked my name if I knew where I was, etc. The good news is that my usually high BP was low (low for me) I think I wasn't thinking about them taking it which helped. I had to lay there and drink some Gatorade and cool down for about half an hour.

Of course at the time, I was clicking through my mile times on my watch and getting frustrated that I couldn't see them or understand them. I did realize that I had finished in 1:44:54 which was awesome as it's a big PR...especially on such a hot day. This also means that Jason should be able to make it into the Preferred 'C' Corral.

I am kind of frustrated with myself for being pretty stupid on the last mile. Now that I think back on it, I really don't remember anything. I really don't remember the last 0.1 miles and that's usually my favorite part of the race...but I have no recollection of it. I had no need to keep pushing it as I had already qualified for the corral based on my Marathon time from last year.....but I still wanted to. There is something wrong in my brain that makes me compete until...well apparently until I literally drop.

So final time 1:44:55...Jason's finish time by the way was 1:44:35. This is a PR by about 2-3 minutes. Plus, we get to use this as our 12 with 7 lactic threshold run, getting out of that crap.

But let's all realize what this really means. Leah's back bitches. 56 days until the Chicago Marathon and I am right on pace for a BQ time. I think with cooler weather I would have been 2-3 minutes faster given the time on the last 3 miles

(Oh and I had no hamstring pain. The time off must have been just the right cure!)

15 comments:

Theoutofshapeguy said...

Congrats on the preferred 'C' corral! You deserve it. But more importantly, thank god leah's back!

Running Jayhawk said...

Welcome back! :) You guys always impress me...way to kick some assphault!

Fran said...

congrats to both of you! and for Jason qualifying for the C corral. I remember you mentioning that a while back about a possible issue with Chicago. Glad it's not an issue anymore.

Thomas said...

Eek, pretty dramatic finish to a race. Congratulations on the PR, and for surviving the ordeal. I guess you were dehydrated?

Bob said...

Wow crazy story, I am glad you are ok, you really need to be careful with the heat. Congrats on a PR and yes you are right on track for a BQ and then some. Good job. :-) Take care of that hamstring!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on running a great race under tough conditions. Glad you didn't do yourself any serious damage. Great race report.

Jonathan said...

Congratulations to both of you. That's a 3:30 marathon if you're doing the math. Watch out Jason, or you might accidentally qualify for Boston too. Leah, for God's sakes, be careful! Way to run though. Question, does Chicago require proof of time to get a preferred coral?

Nicole said...

Wow! Congrats to both of you! I'm glad I wasn't the only one that thought that last mile was a nightmare...

Firefly's Running said...

Wow! Awesome job! Rest well and enjoy the recovery time!

Ryan said...

As if there was any doubts. Nice job, guys... lots more work to do. Nice to see you yesterday afterward.

PS - not that I want to jinx you, you may want to book a Boston hotel now... you can always cancel without penalty!

Cuckoo said...

Great job on the PR! You two simply amaze me all the time. Congrats Jason on qualifying for the preferred corral at the marathon. And Leah what a finish you had, glad you were ok! Now you have a nice race story for the memory bank to share with future kids and grandkids.

Suma said...

Thats great!! Iam always thrilled whenever I get into your blog..You always do pretty good...

cheers,
suma valluru
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https://www.esumz.com

Nicole said...

You guys are totally awesome!

Laurie said...

Awesome job! Congratulations on your PR and qualifying for the C corral. You guys rock!

Bridgette said...

GREAT JOB GUYS!!! :)