This morning's race transportation was compliments of my running partner Pete, his wife Amy, and her dad Clete. They picked me up at 6, and we were on our way, a small caravan with another car containing YRC Prez Ted and Matt (the old Chicago crew!), they also got Brad Wilson to come down and do the half marathon today.
We arrived only to find the lot we planned to park in closed, so found a parking garage nearby, but sadly got split up from the other car, and never reconnected. We parked and went on into the Convention Center to use the restroom, stretch, and get psyched. 7:45, we walked to the starting corrals.
First sign that this is nothing like Chicago, with less than 10 minutes left, we walk right up to our 4:40 pace group that we wanted to line up with, and I could hit a 9 iron to the start line, and pitching wedge to the back. (and I'm not a good golfer). Just not as many people, nor the energy to match. It was cold, 35 degrees probably, I was layered including a sweatshirt to wear for a couple of miles before I shed it to charity.
3, 2, 1, GO...or at least walk slowly for 5 minutes until we were at the start line. And we're off. Nice easy pace, no problem jockeying for position. Pete and I knew the course, and understood how to work left to right as needed to stay to the inside, and that's what we did. Mile 1 clicked off a little early against the marker, but we're solid at 10:35 and just hanging with the 4:40 pace group.
Mile 2 we realized the course was cut out a little differently than last year. Most likely because of the construction going on for the upcoming super bowl, but we're hugging the curb, and running smooth at 10:30. But as we turn onto Virginia Avenue to angle back toward downtown, we're going through a tunnel that is more than a city block long. There was no GPS signal in there, and both Pete and I lost our pace on our watch. By the time we hit mile 3, his runkeeper is off by almost a half mile, and mine by about a quarter mile. My clock showed that mile at 10:18, but that seems fast, to show you how bad we were off, Pete's said we did it in 8:12...NOT!
I shed my sweatshirt and pitched it to the curb to be donated to charity. I actually bought the sweatshirt at Goodwill for $4 last year for this exact race with the intention of pitching it, but I saw Molly at this point last year and threw it to her. This year Molly was still at home at this point, but she'd come out later to see me finish.
The course is different yet, as we go a quarter of the way around the Soldiers and Sailors monument, where as last year we went half way around, and this was a heavily populated area. This year, I decided to heed the advice of President Ted, and wrote my name on the front of my shirt. The thick heavy C-H-R-I-S proved to be worth the ruined shirt. With my name now exposed, I would guess a minimum of 4 or 5 people EVERY mile would yell "Go Chris", "Way to Go Chris", "Lookin' Strong Chris". There's something about people yelling your name that just makes you perk up and feel strong. If you ask Pete, he'd tell you he's already tired of hearing people yell my name!
Mile 4 probably took into account the inaccurate fast mile 3 with a slower mile 4 as it showed 10:58, but my guess is that both 3 and 4 were consistent at 10:38, as we were still hanging right in front of the 4:40 pace group. This was also the last point that we saw Amy and Clete. They came out fast with us, and hung with the group through mile 4 before they started to fade back. The leader of the group was great. Quite the comedian. "Did you hear about the two antenna's that got married? The wedding wasn't much, their reception was great!" - I know, I know - but he had lots of them. My favorite was "Dr. tells his patient I have bad news, and really bad news. Patient asks, what's the really bad news. Dr. says you have cancer and there's nothing I can do about it. Patient asks what's the bad news. Dr. says you have Alzheimer's. Patient says, well that's not so bad, it's not like I've got cancer!"
We continue motoring and repeat our best pace with another 10:17 at mile 7. The long trek North takes us all the way to broad ripple, and really, we don't talk much at all for several miles. Just watching the supporters, following our own plan, and maintaining pace. Mile 8 is 10:34. Mile 9 is 10:28. Mile 10 is 10:25. By this time in Chicago, I had fallen well off the pace, and was whining to Pete about him going on. Not today! We are both feeling great.
One stand out comment from a spectator that made me laugh, w
Pete threw out some encouraging words, and we're still moving. Some guy holding a football caught my eye so I threw my hands up, and sure enough he threw it to me. I caught it, and struck a running Heisman pose and lobbed it back. Some sorority girls holding signs cheered my name quite enthusiastically while holding their "swea
As we finish mile 15, I can feel some tightness in my back, and for the first time, the split is the slowest of the race at 11:10, and I knew things were about to get tough. I had warned Amy in the car about "the Hill" at mile 16. And as we approached it, I said to Pete, "Know what I'm thinking?". I'm not sure he even said anything. I think he was okay with it too. And there it was, our first walking steps of the race. Can't believe we ran this deep at this pace. Leading the
Pete says, that's okay, we got 4:45! Ha! NO! I said Pete, 5 hours is the goal. He sorta laughed and said, Let's go. If you want to stop reading here, all you need to know is that for the next 10 miles, I keep asking Pete if we can walk, and Pete keeps saying let's run. But if you want to kno
Mile 17 is consistent with mile 16 at 12:21 as we are still able to run more than we walk, but this is becoming more and more difficult. We are into Butler's campus, and the pain is pretty intense. Pete is getting me into a good pattern of picking out landmarks in the distance. "Okay, we're running to the second stop light". "Now we're running to the cop car". And I'd continue to renegotiate. "How about just to the stop sign". I didn't win that argument very often. M
I told Pete, we've got to find a rhythm here. On one of the short walks, I suggested we u
The biggest downhill of the race is here at Mile 20, and we were able to run a little fart
Sticking with the strategy of running 5, and walking 2, Pete keeps us moving. He tells me he's going to be a prick for the next 3 miles. Occasionally, he says let's run 6, and through h
I remember changing my tune at this point, and saying, "Don't you dare leave me". Pete laughs and says, if I was going to leave you, I would've done it a long time ago. This made me very happy as I wanted nothing more than to finish it the way we started it. Together! Digging for some late mile energy, we somehow finish mile 26 at 12:28 according to my watch, and with my Garmin still off, the remaining .2 is actually about .5, but when we pass the real 26 mile m