The temperature was warmer than expected, but I ignored that by not hydrating or staying relaxed on friday and saturday. And once race day came along, I knew I was in trouble when it was already in the upper 60's at 6:30 am. But, again, I didn't take notice and had high hopes for a sub 2:19 as everyone else was excited to run a fast one that day. Once the gun went off at 7:30 a pack of about 30 guys formed and we were on 2:19 pace from mile 1 till everyone fell apart. I missed my first bottle at the aid station, but just stayed focused and attempted to get in more water and gatorade from the side aid stations. At 10k someone took my bottle again, so I just grabbed whatever bottle I could get a hold of. It was better than nothing.
At that point in the race, the group of 30 was still intact and everyone looked comfortable. I was sitting on some Brooks Hanson guys and whoever else wanted to be in the lead. The crowds were going ballistic as we sailed away at 5:19 pace through downtown Chicago. I've never heard such a loud crowd before, so that was exciting and motivating. I kept looking for Laura on the course; as she said she was going to be at certain locations, but I never heard or saw her among the mayhem. At half-way we hit 1:09:37 and I felt pretty good. We started dropping a few seconds off out pace and I figured we were going to hold this till the end and I was going to hit the standard. As the group started to lose a few guys here and there, I still kept my composer and was keeping an even effort.
Everything felt great till about mile 17 when I hit a slow 5:27 mile. It didn't really bother me, and I figured I was going to hold 5:30's to the end and finish with a nice PR. But mile after mile I was adding one 10-20 seconds and feeling worse and worse. I kept thinking to myself that I'll just hold that pace and still get a PR, but I kept falling off the pervious pace. By mile 23, I knew I'd just have to finish and take whatever it is. Which was a 2:26:16. My worst time yet out of the three marathons.
As I look back on it and notice all the other American's that dropped out, I thought to myself that I should have dropped out. But I wanted a PR and by the time I knew it was over it wasn't worth it to drop out.
On the plus side, the course and crowds were amazing! I'd love to run this race again with cold temperatures, instead of 80 degree weather.
Right now and on the plane home, I figure I am going to stick with what I'm good at and attempt to qualify in the half marathon at Houston for the USA Half Marathon Championships in January. That way I'll have more chances in the half and can run USA Track & Field Championships if I get in.