I race for fun, including my intentions for this year’s Chicago Marathon.  It’s also nice when you’re having a good time to put down a good time.

Myself and Rooster after the race

This race was so built up that I was fearing it was going to suffer the high-expectations-low-results phenomenon.  Everyone I talked to — on the plane, carrying my entrant bag around, and wherever else — talked this up. “You’ll love it. There are such large crowds.  You get to see a great view of the city.” The afternoon before the race, I remember telling Rooster “I just want to run this already.”

Fortunately, it did live up to its hype.

The crowd was electrifying. The course meanders through many neighborhoods in Chicago.  So, there are diverse types of cheering from the big dragon costumes in Chinatown, the smells in Greek Town, and the mariachi bands in Little Mexico.

My favorite neighborhood was around the eighth mile, Boystown. It’s hard to remember exact details in this stretch because I wasn’t quite prepared for it.  You slowly enter hearing the club music echoing off the buildings and shops.  As you get closer, the people get more and more enthusiastic, and more flamboyant.  I also think it’s fair to say that almost everyone was cross-dressed.  There were multiple performance stages.  Cheerleaders on one. Choreographed dancers with the twirling guns on another.  And, at the aid-station cross-dressed dudes with beards, on a stage, in addition to cross-dressed dudes handing out water and Gatorade . . . and bananas, of course.  It was that try and see as much as possible, without making the awkward eye-contact kind of moment.

As for my paces, I had a hard time holding back at the start of the marathon. My goal was to hang on to a 9 minute mile, and dwindle the pace down to a 8:49 average minute mile, so I could PR.  Instead, I took some risk and slowly brought down an 8:30 minute mile to an 8:11 minute mile, for a 16 minute PR, 3:35:33. Wahoo!

It was a fun race, and it’s always nice to have home town support, including my dad!  The mass-transit adds a neat perspective for spectators.  The L runs parallel to a lot of the course, so you can hop on and catch your beloved little runner at multiple spots.

After the race on the way to the beer tent, we saw Dean Karnazes, who was about to go out for the second loop of his double marathon.  It was neat to see that he has the same effervescence for life, as he writes about in his books.

Now for the first time in a couple of years, I don’t have a big race on my plate.  I didn’t plan it this way, but it is nice to not have something lingering.  I think I am going to veer away from ultra’s for now.  I enjoy the low-key enviroment with all the camaraderie, but I don’t feel as healthy training for those distances.  Nonetheless, there isn’t anything specific in my upcoming race plans.

On my flight into Chicago, someone flying behind me reminded me of an annoying way people from the area end a statement, so. . .


4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    jeff said,


  2. 2

    Morgan said,

    Loved your recap. I’ve been eating up everyone’s Chicago recaps and it seems everyone had a most excellent day. The crowd’s were amazing and I loved all the different towns as well. Great job on the negative splits and PR!!!

  3. 3

    aquadump said,

    Morgan: Thanks for reading and for your compliments. Nice work on Chicago, yourself!

  4. 4

    […] 50 mile race this year, set an Absolute Personal Record (APR) in the 50km, as well as PR in the marathon and the 50km.  Not to name drop, but the group constantly gets visited by such incredible people […]

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