October 7, 2012 7:30 AM
Written by Owen:
The Chicago Marathon. Just saying those words bring so many emotions. It's second only to Boston on my list of prestigious marathons. Leading up to this race I was so excited, but also worried. Not about the running, just the logistics of getting there. I want my family to be there for as many of my marathons as possible, but I just can't afford 5 round trip airfare tickets for each of these races. So we decided to drive.
It's about 800 miles from our house to Chicago. Our Explorer is a V8 and gets terrible gas mileage. So I did the math and figured it would save a bunch of money (and wear and tear on our car) to rent a car. We rented a little Toyota Corolla that averaged about 35 mpg and we were off!
We decided to break up the trip into three segments on the way there, Thursday night we were headed for London, Kentucky. Picked in part because it's a little over halfway to Ro Ro's house (Great Grandma), and in part because it was cool that we were going to London. Charlotte, NC to London, KY was about 5 1/2 hours.
|The trip begins, three kids in one back seat for 1600 miles of driving!|
|Work went a little late on Thursday, so we didn't get into London until almost midnight.|
|Staying at Ro Ro's, we had a blast.|
|My mom with four of her grandchildren.|
|Ro Ro with four of her great-grandchildren.|
We had breakfast, and then packed up the car for the last leg of the trip to Chicago. Bloomfield, IN to Chicago, IL was about 4 1/2 hours.
|Malissa and I at a rest stop in Indiana|
We drove around for 20 minutes or so looking for parking and couldn't find any. So we decided we'd have to pay the ridiculous parking garage prices. Ridiculous is an understatement: $35!
After the wonderful lunch, we caught the free shuttle that took us to the expo.
|I really enjoyed the expo (Kyle always had to make a face for pictures.)|
|We didn't have a lot of time for tourism type stuff, but we had to go see the bean.|
|Marathon morning on the train.|
|Kids eating donuts waiting for the race to start.|
|My view of the start. I always get in the corrals very early.|
|My self-portrait right before the race started.|
The race started and I was feeling great. My plan was to run about a 8:10 pace per mile the first half and then try to run negative splits, speeding up to about 7:50. That worked good until about mile 20. I didn't really "hit the wall" but just couldn't run that fast any more. I slowed down to about 8:30 the rest of the way. I think negative splits are a myth :) I've tried every marathon and I don't think I can do it. So I think I'm just going to be OK with slowing down at the end from now on.
The course was awesome. The crowd support was unreal. 26.2 miles of screaming fans helped so much, I've never experienced anything like it. I saw my family cheering for me at the start, but the crowd was so loud, I never could find them, even though I knew where they'd be at miles 13 and 26 (see video below).
|The kids wait for their Daddy.|
|Overcome with emotion.|
|Love this pic|
I finished in 3:37:42, which is my second fastest time among eight marathons. So even though I didn't hit my 3:30 goal, or my goal of negative splits, I am very happy with it. The post-race support was tremendous. They handled 37k+ finishers with no lines for medals, space blankets, tape for the space blankets, food, water, ice, etc. It truly is a world class event.
Sunday after the race we stopped for some Chicago-Dogs, some White Castle burgers, and then headed back to Ro Ro's house. Then Monday was the dreaded 10 hour drive back to Charlotte. The kids were awesome, 29 hours of driving in four days, with only a few "flare-ups".
Here's a video compilation of videos shot by Malissa on the course:
And here's my Garmin data from the race (the tall buildings caused it to lose GPS several times, and I don't know what is up with the elevation gain numbers, the course was totally flat):