Tag: race

Fitness Swellness: Chicago Marathon 2017 race report

 

Chicago Marathon 2017 post race party

“Do you really want to run another marathon in a month? NO. So keep up this damn pace, Karen.”

 On Sunday, I ran the Chicago Marathon. It was my tenth marathon and this was what I asked myself a few times around the middle of the race. I’d been toying with idea running another marathon in early November if Chicago didn’t go well.

The last time I ran a marathon was two years ago in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon 2015. It is the longest break I’ve taken between marathons. Prior to that, since starting racing that distance, I’d done two a year (and one year I ran three).

Because of this longer than usual break between fulls, I wasn’t quite sure how my race would go. This time I changed my training a bit. I ran more frequently: typically five times a week versus my usual three times a week (mostly it was the addition of two runs either at a recovery pace or easy pace). I also did a few random workouts other than running, such as hip hop dance class, yoga and Spinning.

I was pretty diligent with my five runs a week, and got all my hill training done but faltered a bit once it came time to focus on speed training. Speed training is my least favourite, plus I had a few road trips that distracted me. And then about three weeks before race day, I caught a cold, which put me out of commission for more than a week. So I missed my 23k long run, and all of the other training that would’ve happened in that 10 days. All of which made me fret about not being prepared for the race.

 Chicago Marathon 2017 starting chute

I’ve run Chicago once before and it remains my marathon PB. And even though I’d run it before, I recall very little of the race, other than there being so many great spectators, and that the route is flat.

I ate more carbs than usual for the week prior to the race. And worried about the weather forecast, checking it once a day starting two weeks prior and working up to checking it multiple times a day.

Having registered so many months before, I don’t recall entering an estimated finish time or a past marathon time, but somehow I ended up in corral D (aka a 3:40 marathon), so either I was ambitious or they based it on my 2014 Chicago Marathon time.

And so Sunday race day finally arrives:

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Race day morning, we didn’t budget enough time to get into the race area, check a bag, and use the portapotty so ended up having to race to our corral, which we got into right before they closed it off at 7:20 a.m. There was time for a quick photo, though, and that beautiful glow to the buildings behind us is due to the beautiful sunrise glow.

I had printed a pace band for 3:45 in kilometres, and also put on the Nike pace band in miles for the same time. I would have many technical difficulties that day, though. My Apple Watch did not have the NRC app because I’d had to reset it a couple of weeks prior and I had issues redownloading the app, so I had prepared to use the app on my phone; however,  I did use the stopwatch on it so that I could check my time at each mile marker and compare to my pace tattoo. Also, I usually listen to Google Play Music when I run, and I had issues getting a phone signal for the first few k.

My music app did work when I tried it again a few kilometres into the race but it just stopped playing music around the halfway point. The NRC app on my phone also stopped alerting me of my distance and pace. Also, I must accidentally hit something on my stopwatch on my Apple Watch as it started timing laps and I didn’t know how to get out of that mode. So from about the halfway point to the finish, I had no clue what pace I was doing. So many technical difficulties! On top of that, I could feel a blister starting on my left big and second toe (and I rarely get blisters) and on my right foot, I felt like I could feel the plate inside the sole (that makes the shoe similar to a track spike — I blogged about the shoes on iRun). It made me wonder if I hadn’t tried out the Zoom Fly shoes enough before doing this race. I’d only had them a few weeks and missed some runs due to that cold…

 Chicago Marathon 2017 selfie

The first 27k or so went really well, though! My pace was quick and I was anywhere from two to three minutes ahead of the 3:45 goal time. I wasn’t sure if I could maintain that pace but I figured I had to try.

“This is your race to lose, so just don’t, you got this,” I told myself, when I could tell my strength (both physically and mentally) started to falter.

After about 27k, as it got later into the morning, it got very hot and sunny. My legs were feeling tired and I grabbed Gatorade at each station (I had been relying on the Gatorade I had with me — I used a fuel belt), while also splashing myself with water to cool down. I watched those few minutes I’d banked slip away from me. And then I could tell I wasn’t even going to PB, but I had no idea by how much time I was losing given my technical difficulties with my phone and my watch.

On the bright side, I never experienced that feeling of not wanting to go on (in past races, I’ve often felt like it was just crawling by). I focused on just trucking on through and watched as each mile marker announced I was closer and closer to the finish. In that way, the race went by nice and quickly for me.

The race attracts runners from more than 100 countries. And the sidelines are packed full pretty much the entire race. I watched runners stop to hug members of their family. And was boosted by the exuberant spectators with the cheers: the group of women cheering, “You got it, you got it, you got it, let’s go!” The signs with creative messages like “Run like millennials do from commitment!” and “Run like you forgot to turn off the frijoles!” and more than a few making fun of Trump.

Chicago Marathon 2017 medal

 

As for the route, I’m not super familiar with Chicago and I know the race goes through more than two dozen neighbourhoods, but I don’t feel the route is that scenic. To me, it all melds together as non-descript streets, other than one leafy residential area (I believe it was Lincoln Park) and of course, the skyscrapers of the downtown portions. It’s the spectators and that made certain parts of the route stand out. The huge Mexican contingent cheering and running was amazing, and there were people handing out paletas to runners. There were also at least two spots where people handed out beer, and one station with Jello shots. The cheerers, they make this one great race. And the post-race party afterwards was just fun, with live music and there was a free beer you picked up in the finish chute area, plus another free Goose Island beer (there was a ticket attached to the bib) at the post-race party. Everyone hung around in the sunshine and celebrated their accomplishment. I loved watching runners and family find each other and there were big hugs and joy all around.

Chicago Marathon Goose Island beer

So how’d I do???

I finished at 3:55:07, and given the hot conditions, I’m happy enough with that. I know a few runners who had bad races, and a few with great races. It’s my second fastest marathon, and I placed 9,407 out of 44,472 runners, and 2,637 out of 21.476 women, and 414 out of 3,543 in my category.

Chicago Marathon 2017 at Cloud Gate

After the race, and on Monday, there were loads of runners wearing their medals and/or race t-shirt, and we would congratulate each other, there was a beautiful friendly vibe that I somehow forgot about from the race in 2014.

And now what? Well, I have to decide if I will run another marathon this fall… (gulp).

 

Leave a Comment October 13, 2017

Fitness Swellness: Run the Global Energy Race by Dempster’s!

Running with Billie Jean

My main reasons for running are personal: I run to stay fit, for a sense of accomplishment, to get me outside, to eat pretty much whatever I want to (hah!), and to stay sane (it is the cheapest form of the therapy!).

But as I’ve learned in the past 10 years of running, tying in giving back to help others as part of your racing makes it an even more worthy pursuit. Whether that’s fundraising for a charity (I’ve done so in the past for cat rescues) or even just participating in races that support a cause you believe in. Last year around this time, I raced in support of kids’ mental health programs, and this month, on September 24th, I’ll be running in support of food banks in the Global Energy Race by Dempster’s in Toronto.

The race actually takes place in three locations in Canada that day: the Base de Plein Air de Ste-Foy in Quebec, the Dyke Trail in Richmond, B.C., and in Toronto, it’s in Ashbridges Bay Park (where I used to train regularly!). There’s a fun 3k run/walk, which I considered doing with my dog, Billie Jean, but I’ve opted instead for the 10k run.

Here’s the best part: for every kilometre every participant completes, Canada Bread (Dempster’s parent company) will donate two slices of bread to local Canadian food banks. How much bread does this amount to? Well, last year, more than 10,000 slices of bread were donated.

I donate non-perishables regularly to the donation bin at my grocery store so giving to food banks is something I do try to support. I’m also keen to take part in this race as it’s part of a global movement to support healthy living, and it’ll be extra fun as I’ve rounded up two friends to join me that day, too!

Want to join the Global Energy Race? C’mon, do it for the good cause…and for the yummy carbs you can enjoy before and after the race! Register here today (and if you’re 16 and under, your registration is complimentary! Free! You just have to register on the site, though)!

And also, be sure to follow along on social media: @globalenergyrun #runwithus

See you at the start line!

(sponsored)

 

5 Comments September 14, 2017

Fitness Swellness: Famous Canadian Beer Run recap

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I don’t think I’ve ever run a “fun run”, as in a race that isn’t timed, but I guess there’s a first for everything, and my first fun run was the Famous Canadian Beer Run held on September 18, 2016.

Having run the RBC Race for the Kids 15k the day prior, I wasn’t gunning for a fast 5K time anyhow (that plus the fact I haven’t been training consistently). The weather was very hot and humid that day, which always brings me down in speed by a ton. but I wasn’t focused on pushing to go fast by any means anyhow. But I did in small stretches find myself pushing myself to go a little harder, motivated by the mere factor of just wanting the race to be over with (I was uncomfortable in the sunshine, and I had a puppy I was sitting for the weekend waiting for me at home). I ran most of the race with my running pal, Shawna, who was pacing the last wave of the race, I lost her a few times as I kept stopping to take photos, but I could always hear her shouting how close we all were to beer at the finish. And she was always easy to spot given her fun run pacer outfit:

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There was a frustratingly slow race kit pickup (which was only held on the day of the race) but there were lots of positives to this run including the drumline along the route, being able to see the city from Ontario Place, and of course, the beer, cider and vodka cocktails at the end of the race. The “medal” being the plastic beer stein was a fun touch, too. I didn’t get to hang out at the finish long since I had to get back to puppy-sitting, but I’d consider running the race again if the race kit pickup is improved (I should add that the organizers sent an apology email immediately after the race, and a survey for feedback recently, so they are making the effort to improve from their inaugural race this year, which goes a long way in my books!).

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For more of a recap, check out my post on the iRun website here.

Processed with Snapseed.

 

Leave a Comment September 28, 2016

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