Chicago Marathon 2009: 3:33:54 PB

October 18, 2009 § Leave a comment

I ran and finished the Chicago Marathon 2009 in 3 hours 33 minutes and 54 seconds, this was an improvement of 31 minutes and 26 seconds from my previous personal best.

We arrived in Chicago on the 9th and the day we were leaving Reykjavik the weather was interesting, we had winds of about 40 m/sec. There was some doubt whether the flight to chicago will leave on time but all of that uncertainty was put to rest when the plane took off on time and my buddies Villi and Joi were on the same flight and they were running the marathon as well. We reached our hotel at around 12am on Oct 10th, we stayed at the Westin Michigan Avenue, it was a great location for shopping right next to the John Hancock Building, Bloomingdales and Macy’s. Our daughter has been so well trained to travel that she took everything in and she was having fun as well inspite of the jet lag and all the shuttling between airports.

Villi, Joi and I went to the Marathon expo center and got our bibs and running chip on the 10th, spent some time looking at all the running stuff. I bought myself 2 pairs of ASICS shoes, Performance Trainer and a Kayano. The Kayano felt like a massage for my feet.  In addition, got all the Nike Chicago Marathon memerobilia. Did some serious damage to the wallet, hey what the heck its not like I am going to run the 2009 Chicago Marathon again.

In the evening we went to Carmine’s an Italian restaurant ate some spaghetti with meat balls, this time around I did not over eat just enough to feel full and satiated.  Since the race was starting at 7:30 the next morning we hit the bed. I woke up at 3:00 am as I could not sleep after that, read the book The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown, got some granola with yogurt, nuts and dates my typical Marathon breakfast.

The weather was cold, at 3:00 am the temperature was -1°C. We left the hotel at 6:10 and walked the 2 miles to the start. It was amazing to feel the energy of everyone getting ready to start the run. Villi, Joi and I found our spot near the fountain in the park. I was planning to run with my wind jacket and had my bib pinned to that, Villi and Joi advised me to run without the jacket based on their experience in Boston which was cold to start with but got warmer during the day and Joi had to throw away his jacket. That was slight change of plans, never the less I decided to run with the official Chicago Marathon T-Shirt on-top of my CWX cold top. We deposited our bags and squeezed our way to the front of the pack, we jumped over a fence to reach the 3:50 pace setting group. It was exhilarating to hear the start of the race, 33,608 runners ready to hit the road.

I started sprinting right away, my strategy was to push hard and keep at it until the finish. I think I was running at a pretty good pace at the start and caught up with many runners in the 3:30 pace and ran with them until the end of the race. I was expecting to see my wife and daughter in the half marathon stage but could not find them in the crowd and I slowed down a bit to find them. Never the less, kept on chugging. The weather was still cold and it never got warmer, I started feeling the strain around 27th km, slowed down a bit and walked during the drink stations. I think the saving grace for my run was the initial push that I did in the first half of the marathon, I ran 20km in 1:34:15. There were several instances where my body was ready to give up but I never gave up and kept running and I was delighted to finish in 3:33:54.

The next goal is to qualify for Boston Marathon, i.e. shaving 18+ minutes from this run!

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