Yesterday I mentioned that I ended up running the entire course of the marathon. It was an awesome day, albeit hot for an October marathon. As you can imagine, there was a lot to soak in during those slow 26.2 miles. On our 12+ hour car ride the following day, Rock and I discussed the race and compiled a good, bad, and ugly list.
First on this list is Rock. Ever since I got pregnant my pace slowed down for a bit and I asked Rock to run on his own because I felt guilty for slowing him down. Then when Mary arrived we had to start coordinating our runs so that we could each fit one in. What you might not know is that Rock is also an RRCA certified running coach and this year MDA Team Momentum grew so much that we shared head coaching duties. On race day we started off together and took turns along the course bouncing around to help people. It was so fun running with him again for those 26.2 miles and I feel we really make an awesome coaching team. It is something that makes me really proud.
The course itself is the best! Chicago does things topnotch and Carey Pinkowski is an incredible race director. Over the years he has learned from the race’s mistakes and now he has it down to a science. Despite having 45,000 athletes to take care of, the expo is seamless and the course itself is one in a million. Imagine 45,000 runners and 1.7 million spectators and a beautiful flow between everyone. The volunteers are amazing and the cheer stations are remarkable.
Boystown. This is one of my favorite spots on the course. Last year there was a drag drill squad and this year there were some awesome drag queens along the course. The music is pumping and the vibe is spectacular. I looked forward to that stretch for a good while.
Charity Mile. Chicago really embraces charity participation. This past year 195 charities raised over $17.7 million. Take a look around the course and you will see charity bibs everywhere. When you come up to mile 14 on the course, all of the charities have their tents set up and the cheering is wild. If you run for a charity, this is a mile you look forward to. You get to see your team and have them shout for you. It really provides a mental boost for anyone who is struggling near the half way point.
Selfies. I can’t believe I even have to type this. But can we talk about how many times we almost ran into someone because they would stop short and pull out their phones to take a selfie? This seriously shouldn’t be happening on a race course. And if it does happen, you need to have some common courtesy and carefully pull of to the side. Don’t stop in the middle of the pack to snap a pic of yourself with the United Center in the background.
Texting. Oh I sense a social media trend here. Seriously though, pulling your phone out and having your head down as you run with 45,000 others causes some major problems. Again, pull off to the side, just as you (hopefully) do when driving or walking.
Ignoring traffic patterns. Just as you would not pull your car across several lanes to make a left turn to the bathroom without looking, you shouldn’t do it on a race course either. There were so many collisions and near collisions because people forgot to play it safe.
Bloody nipples. Boys, you gotta nip up. I sometimes wonder if they just forgot with the 3:30am wake up call or if it was just never an issue during long training runs. Nip it up!
Cramping. Oh man, everyone was cramping during this race. I’m going to blame it on the heat. But I would definitely recommend hydrating a lot during the entire week before the race. And if your race day calls for heat and humidity, consider having something salty like chicken noodle soup the night before. It will help you retain water and ease potential cramping.
Puking. We found a buddy puking on the sidelines at the 26.1 mile marker. It was pretty nasty. But he jumped back in and shrugged it off, “I started off a bit too hard, but I’ve got room for beer now.” So this actually was less ugly and more funny with the positive twist he added to it.
What are the best, worst, and ugliest things you’ve seen along a race course?