Chicago Marathon 2009

Finally, a nice, cold and dry race. Hit a wall from 17-19 miles, with the usual grind from 20-23. I hate hate hate the hill at 26. Pretty medal, sore and chafed as Hell. Finally a break from 2007/2008.

Well done!


My brother ran it as well; he sounded quite happy that the weather was decent. He hadn’t run Chicago in a while; sounds like he picked a good year to go back.

It was clear, cold and dry. I like the cold marathons because they remove the issue of heat management. Once you’re warmed up, you can harder than you can in a hot marathon. San Francisco has a nice late July/August marthon/half-marathon - cool coastal weather, but the hills are challenging.

Chicago had unusually warm/hot weather for 2007/8. 2006/9 were more typical. The worst combination would be cold/windy/wet.

Good job!
Care to tell us your time? Or at least whether or not you hit your target?
I only ran it once - in '04 (since which I’ve had surgeries on my left knee and right foot. No more running for me! :(). But my wife and I watched it on TV. Every year it may well be the only sporting event the 2 of us watch together. Afterwards my wife commented on what she likes best about it - unlike just about every other sport there are no “timeouts.”
I thought the temps would be pretty sweet - was surprised at how many folk commented on it being cold.
Do you use Body Glide for the chafing?


Not up to Boston standards, but I did finish within the course limit. It’s
y fourth (2006,2007,2008,2009) run, and I did match the 2006 time. The 2007/2008 runs were too damned hot and my times were bloody awfully horrible. If I train more, I should run a 5:XX time, hopefully in the low XXs.

I do use Body Glide. It works, but if you use the facilites during a race (not rec omended), and wipe the BG away, you’re left with course supplied Vasoline and/or chafing.

I have a friend who ran it, as well. Congrats!

I’m going to ask a question, and I REALLY don’t intend to be rude - I am quite simply curious. In fact, I was talking to a biker about this kind of thing quite recently. I’ve always been somewhat confused about why people who run “slow” marathons do them. And by slow, I’d probably say slower than 6 hours - maybe even 5-5.5.

I’m sure a part of my inability to understand is simply due to the fact that I have always been in pretty decent shape. When I ran my marathon I was 43, and did it just over 4 hours. Which I believe was something just over a 9 minute pace. By the time you get to 5 hours, you are at 11:30. And 6 hours is 13:45.

I guess if I had been grossly overweight and had recently lost a lot of weight, or if I were coming back from a serious health problem, I could see simply finishing in itself being a success worth the effort. But some folk who finish around 7-8 hours and longer are barely moving as quickly as I walk.

And one thing that really pissed me off was the THOUSANDS of people who started WAY ahead of where they should have. I started in the 4:15 group and finished just over 4:00. But the ENTIRE race was 4 long hours of trying to make my way through a crowd without seriously breaking stride, passing people who had no business starting as far up as they did.

When I ran it I was extremely underwhelmed. I mean, I was expecting all kinds of walls, projectile vomiting, hallucinations, what have you. But nothing of the sort. Instead, it was simply 4 hours of hard work putting one foot in front of another, concentrating on maintaining pace. Having done the necessary training, the event itself was no big deal. Just my personal experience - in no way everyone’s. I had a sense of accomplishment that I had stuck with my plan and achieved m goal, but that was it.

I was talking with my wife about this during the marathon. She has much less cardio ability than I. She said she would never set a marathon as her goal. If she wanted to set a fitness goal, she would choose one that suited her body habitus, perhaps weightlifting.

I’m not saying people shouldn’t be permitted to run marathons unless they can beat a certain time or anything, but I would really appreciate it if you would explain your motivation. If I encounter an activity that I am not able to do at a certain level, well, I find something else to do. I feel similarly about some of the people I see at golf courses regularly who - to put it plainly - suck. If I tried something and was as bad at it as they are, I wouldn’t have fun doing it.

I don’t mean anything I wrote here to be insulting, just trying to explain where I’m coming from, if that helps you frame your response. Just let me know if this is too much of a hijack for your thread.

Some of us are slow. But we still enjoy a challenge. Running, even at a pace that is, by your lofty standards, pathetic has its own rewards. And yes, a 14ish pace is slow. But that, my fleetfooted friend, is why they have an open group. In back, behind all of the real runners. But, brass tacks, the course limit was 6:30 and I did meet that.

For some of us, and I know this is hard for some of you competitive types to grok, it is not about competing or doing well, but about doing it at all. So I enjoy running, albeit slowly, and am content to bring up the rear.

Because we want to accomplish something? Before I got my stress fracture I was training for the Marine Corps Marathon and while I still had a long, long way to go I was concerned about beating the course limit (6 hours - there’s a bridge they open back up, so if you aren’t running 14 minute miles you will not be allowed to complete the race at all.) A year ago plus a little bit, I hadn’t run since the goddamned President made us do the mile in high school. The gym teacher had to stay late into lunch for me to finish. Now I pass my high school every time I run, and I laugh. So I run slow - so what? I’m not in front of you, and frankly I think I probably feel the accomplishment more than you do when I finish.

ETA - I let you play through on the golf course, too. You can’t enjoy an activity if you aren’t great at it? Do you ever learn anything new, then?

Thanks for the responses. Like I said, I’m realy not trying to be insulting. Just trying to suss out how different people think differently about this stuff. It is really hard to ask this kind of stuff without sounding insulting. I hope you appreciate my intentions without me spending too much time searching for the right words. Hell, I was in my TV room (having been frozen out of my 7:50 tee time) so I personally don’t care how many thousands complete it in any time.

Sure I try new stuff. But if I do it for a while and if I don’t achieve some level of proficiency in some time, I look for someting else to do. There certainly are enough activities out there that I can find SOMETHING I am not - um - really bad at.

And I can imagine someone enjoying to run simply in itself. But if I were in that category, I don’t think I would look for a “public” stage in which to do it.

And really, I’m not all that competitive - at least against others. Just this year I stopped my standard wager with my biggest golf buddy - and promptly shot my best score in decades.

I’m working for it because it’s a big, audacious goal - something I wouldn’t even have considered a few years ago, and something I would have never in a million years thought I could actually do. Now I know I can do it, and I want to. Sorry to get shirty with you - I know you weren’t trying to offend, but that attitude just crawls up my ass and makes me want to bite somebody. What, I’m not “good enough” to run a marathon because I’ll probably never qualify for Boston? What if I told you I only have one leg - suddenly you’d congratulate me for six hours. How are circumstances different in that case - don’t I still “suck at marathoning”? (I have two legs, they’re just slow ones.)

Every so often I read an interview with some elite runner who thinks the “democratization of the sport” is gross and revolting and somehow affects his life - look, if you run a marathon in two and a half hours, I promise that you will never so much as set eyes on me unless you decided to go around twice. So why bother to insult me by acting like I don’t deserve to run? Yes, average marathon times have gone up over the past ten years - so what? Somebody’s going to break two hours sooner or later, too.
ETA - something I read in a running book from a pace leader:
“Who are we?!”
“Five hours!”
“What are we?!”
“Best looking!”

Seeking a public what?!

So instead of running honestly in the slow, sad pathetic open group with the other “fake” runners, I should what? Fund and operate my very own, private marathon?

It. Isn’t. About. Competition. Or. Attention.

See, the public marathons are nice: controlled courses, support, an excuse to visit/be a tourist.

Arguably, the people who are in it for the attention are the competitive runners. For me, it’s something I like go do, for its own sake.

Try to understand that some of us run, however badly, for the enjoyment of doing something hard. Without regard for attention, publicity, acclaim or external validation.

Well, Zsofia, I had a “good job” there until the 6:27 came up, then the party was over.

There are a few broad classes of runners.

The competitive runners hold themselves (and others, whether they admit it or not) to high standards, and see little point in the running otherwise.

The experience/non-competitive runners like to run, however badly by standards.

There are no doubt other classes of runners, including the pack/cause runners, who run in packs for causes.

I do agree with Dinsdale on a few points on road etiquette: be honest about your time groups - I met plenty of allegedly faster runners on the through the course. Also, increasing numbers of runners have not been trained in road etiquette. Throw your shit on the side of the course, not wherever. Slower traffic runs to the right, at least when there are many runners. And tespec the space of other runners.

I suspect that I will run faster with more training, but as a strategy I will likely avoid running at peak on longer distances in order to avoid/minize injury.

Congratulations! I ran my first half marathon on Sunday (in fact, it was my first race ever, having just begun running last year). I am in complete awe of marathoners because when I was done the 21 km, I just wanted to die, not turn around and do it all over again. My friend who is a hardcore runner and has done a full marathon in the past, asked me afterwards when I’d be doing a full, and seemed surprised when I emphatically said NEVER. :smiley: (I might try another half, though, because my time was just over 2 hours and I’d kind of like to try to go under that.)

The only thing that baffles me about slow runners is the boredom - even in training, when I was listening to podcasts, two hours was “Oh my God let me do something else now!” time. I don’t think I’d have the mental energy to do 6 hours, especially without an iPod!

If you can run a half, you can run a full. But your time will suffer. A trick I use is to break it down into pieces: a full marathon is 42.2 km, so a marathon is basically four 10Ks in a row. Just think in terms of whichever 10K you’re on.

I mean, why run a marathon if you don’t qualify for Boston? Why run Boston if you aren’t running the Olympic Trials? Why on earth would you run the Olympic Trials if you can’t get to the Olympics? Why run in the Olympics if you’re an American male? I mean, there’s no point, right?

Boredom(more like tedium) is an issue. I run my courses without noise - just me and the course. In this past course I used a four step cadence: 1
2 3 4 to hold my sad, sad, steady 14.something pace. It is a harsh mental game, that’s part of the challenge. You look back and wonder what the Hell you were thnking.


Half-marathons are fun, as are 15Ks and 10 Milers. Run a few more halfs and a marathon will eventually follow.

I’m trying to imagine someone running badly. Do you kick other runners? Breach other etiquette (bringing your jogging stroller along for the run, stopping to tie your shoe without moving over to the side of the road)? Nope? Then you’re not running badly.

Congrats! I have 2 half-marathons this fall, but that isn’t the same as one full.