2014 Chicago Marathon Recap – Part Three

Mile 14: 10:38
Mile 15: 10:33
Mile 16: 10:25
Mile 17: 11:00
Mile 18: 10:54

At around Mile 17 I started walking more of my water stops. Up to this point I would get my cup, drink it, and start running again. I started walking the entire water stop.

Mile 19: 10:34
Mile 20: 11:03
Mile 21: 11:42
Mile 22: 10:36
Mile 23: 11:12

At around Mile 20 my calves started hurting. I was familiar with this pain, I had encountered it during the last mile of my first half marathon. I don’t think it’s linked to dehydration, just the effect of running all the miles. After I upped the mileage for half marathon training I never had that calf pain again in my subsequent half marathons (4 of them). The pain got bad enough that I stopped to stretch my calves. I knew tight calves could lead to more heel pain so I didn’t think I had much to lose by stopping to stretch.

I took that extra gel that I had picked up and was glad to have it.

Mile 24: 11:15
Mile 25: 10:44
Mile 26: 10:55

At this point, the bottom of my feet started cramping. This was something new. And painful. I was unfamiliar with this, so I was worried that it would eventually cause me to stop running. During these last miles I also had to be super vigilant about my pace because it was very easy to come up to someone running slower than I was and just fall in behind them. It felt like I was expending a lot of mental and physical effort to pass people and not slow down. There were a lot of people slowing down and walking at this point in the race.

At one of the water stops I spotted a woman carrying a stick with some balloons attached to it. I had a momentary moment of confusion when my fogged brain tried to process that. The 4:40 pacer! I was SO happy to see her. I cannot convey in words my complete and utter joy with being caught by the pacer. I wanted nothing more than to just follow her and let someone else do the thinking. She made a stop at the last water stop and I decided not to stop and continue on and finish the darn thing. I just wanted to be done running.

That last mile passed in a blur. It was a straight shot down Michigan Avenue until the final couple of turns to the finish line. The markers now counted down the last 800m, 400m, 200m. I remember thinking to myself… “One mile left. I’ve done one mile intervals. This is easy.” Similar thoughts at each successive marker. I thought briefly about slowing down and savoring it. I decided the desire to stop running was far, far stronger than that desire.

I knew after the mild uphill on Roosevelt the finish line would be in sight. I crossed it. And I became a marathoner.

Finish: 4:40:29
Average Pace: 10:42

Age Group: 790/1651
Gender: 8892/18404
Overall: 23938/40595



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