Chicago Marathon 2015

On Sunday, Oct. 11, I raced the Chicago Marathon. It was my second and last race of the season.

Getting there

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 12.22.47 PMOn Thursday morning, I was live on set at DailyBurn‘s DB 365 workout as the chat coach. Usually this is done online, but I had the opportunity to be on set, which meant a little bit of camera time as well as the online chatting. It was a lot of fun – the crew there was great, and it was cool to see all of the behind the scenes action.

I left Astoria and went straight to LaGuardia to fly into Chicago. I arrived around 2 pm. My brother was working so I couldn’t see the niece and nephew. I didn’t really feel like driving downtown to come back to the airport that night to pick up my wife, so I hung in the O’Hare area for a while. I ended up in a mall, sucking the free wifi while I did coaching and GO! Athletes work.

I picked up my wife and put her on the rental car agreement (SIDENOTE: total joke. It was an extra $100+ for her to drive the car as well!), and went downtown. Arrived around 1 am, bed at 2 am.

Friday

Did a chat shift at DB365. Took a Divvy to the expo and picked up my race bib and packet. My assignment was in corral F, wave 2. The fastest pace group in that area was 3:40. My goal was 3:10, so I was told by the pace group leaders to hit the customer service area to see if they could switch me. I had serious anxiety about it and, for a brief moment, thought my race was pretty much done. The guy at the counter asked if I was really going to run a 3:10. I told him I was going to do 3:09:38. He gave me a new bib in corral A, and just like that, problem solved.

Friday was also a board interview with my wife, which went very well. That was big thing number 1 of the weekend. After, we went to the south ‘burbs to stay with grandma. Normally this means a late night at several rounds of canasta, but we chatted a bit and were in bed at a reasonable time.

Saturday

After food, we went back toward the city to meet up with a friend. We ran a few errands, and then went to the restaurant for dinner with my wife’s extended family. I ate pizza and bread. Pre-race dinner of champions!

I left the party early, around 8:30. I set out all of my race gear, pinned my bib to my singlet, set out my nutrition…. WAIT. WHERE IS MY NUTRITION?!

The correct answer here is: ON MY KITCHEN TABLE. IN NEW YORK.

So it’s Saturday night, nearing 9:45 pm, when I figure out I forgot all of my gels. Something deep down told me to get a few at the expo. I never buy anything at the expo, so that was odd. And of course, since I never buy things at the expo, I didn’t do it. Without my Honey Stinger gels, race day was going to be using what’s on the course, even though that wasn’t what I trained with. I was not too rattled but I was a little concerned about how I’d feel around mile 15. I had a few ideas for coping:

1. ask a friend for a gel if I saw them (still likely wouldn’t be my gels, but it would be calories in hand)

2. look at the ground and pick one up if someone drops one (I saw one before the race and did not grab it)

3. ask a spectator if I saw someone who looked like they had one.

I was in bed (er, on the couch) by 10:15 and asleep shortly after. I was excited but didn’t feel the sick nervousness I sometime feel. I was feeling confident and ready. I thought about my training, about making it through my long runs at a great pace, and about how cool it would be to qualify for Boston.

RACE DAY

I woke up at 6:05 am and made a cup of coffee. I wasn’t feeling very hungry but choked down half of a cinnamon raisin bagel with peanut butter and a banana, along with some water and Gatorade. I couldn’t do the rest of it. I got dressed, used the restroom a few times, and left around 6:45 am.

My in-laws’ place is under half a mile from the start of the race. I walked down the road and cut through the park, like other runners were doing. My gut said to walk down the road to Michigan Ave, but I didn’t. I ended up having to cut through a blocked area, go through a parking garage, and exit only to be spit into the madness of Michigan Ave again. My gut was right, again (lesson learned this time!). I did a little warm up jog to the entry area and entered the gates around 7:10 am. The corrals closed at 7:20 am, so I started a direct slow shuffle toward the bathrooms on my way to the front to find corral A.

Along the way was a park entry to a huge lot of port o potties. I went to the far ones, thinking there would be no line – which was true. As I was running up to one that opened, another runner cut me off and went in, saying others were open further down. My next step sent my left ankle over, rolling to the outside. It hurt! I hopped into the port o potty and tried to assess my ankle. I don’t think it was sprained, just tender. I was pissed for about one second before I accepted it as part of my day – the race was going to happen just the same!

I ran out of the lot and back into the line to the corrals, and got into the corral at about 7:17 am. Promptly at 7:20 the gates closed. I found the 3:10 pace group and got closer to them, and then did some light stretching for my calves and hip flexors. I was one of the only people in what I could tell would be the group who had pinned the pace bib to their back.  A nervous dude next to me chatted for a bit with me: what number marathon is this? How fast are you shooting for? Oh, you did Ironman Lake Placid too?

IMG_6777The National Anthem came over the speakers. We all shuffled, bounced, and fidgeted in the corral. Then, in the most anti-climatic way, people in front of me started moving and I saw the clock running. The race began without much commotion at all. Before the starting line we all broke into a slow run, then started our watches. I was about 3-4 seconds behind the pace group leaders. We hit the first series of turns, under the bridge, around some corner, and then we were off.

My strategy, as recommended to me by several people, was to hang at the back of the pace group and let others “do the work.” Thinking about it in that way was helpful; mentally, I thought of myself hooking on and being pulled. My effort level was low to moderate and the pace, about 7:13/mile, was comfortable.

I reminded myself to disregard the first 10K. I think if you feel good in the first 10K, you should ignore it (going out too quickly in the first half can be detrimental). If you feel awful in the first 10K, also disregard that, as it may also change. I wanted to be conservative on the first half and brave on the second – not necessarily going for the negative split, but sticking to my plan to be consistent and steady.

I saw the Chicago theater sign. I recall the turn in Lincoln Park. Around  6 miles in I was in need of nutrition. I had been taking in Gatorade Endurance at the water stations, but only in small quantities. I typically would have had a gel at 6, 12 and 18 in my long training runs. By mile 7 I was freaking out a bit. I began looking at the ground for discarded or dropped nutrition. I was swerving to see if packs had been opened. By mile 8 I was contemplating sucking the leftovers out of someone else’s used gel. That thought was gross enough to occupy my mind for a while. The only gels on course are at mile 18 and there was no way I was going to make it.

I remembered the November Project cheer station would be near mile 9. I thought it might be a full water stop, so I envisioned approaching and asking people for a gel. Instead, it was a small group of people in Grassroots Gear with signs. I spotted them, made my way to that side, and ran up yelling, “Gel, gel, gel!” A few cheered for me as I came over, and I felt like I went into beastmode: I NEED A GEL!!!!!! My savior was at the end of the row, and pulled out a Hammer gel from her run pack. I gave her a hug and thank you, and then caught up with my pace group. I felt instantly better after taking it – probably just mental, but still. It helped.Screenshot 2015-10-21 15.51.48

The next point of interest was the half way mark, where my first marathon fell apart. I distinctly remember the pain setting in at that point in my first effort, and the wheels really coming off. I made not of that and how this race was different. At this point, I said to myself, “this is happening.” I was going to BQ. I tried to stick to the blue line and not necessarily with the pace group.

Miles ticked away and my pace stayed steady and easy. I did  not feel breathless or like I was exerting myself too much. 16 and 17 came and went.

Mile 18 was another gel. 19 came and I felt good. 20 hit and my goal was to maintain contact with the pack, which surged slightly on a long straight stretch. “Just hang on,” I thought. At 21, one of the three pacers came up to encourage the guy next to me. I moved up to the group, which had faded from about 30-40 runners to about a dozen of us, and we had caught two runners with 3:05 pinned to their backs. Somewhere in here I noticed my form deteriorating, and my chin starting to go up. I was actively trying to keep my chin down and not tilt my head back.

Somewhere in here was the two dragons in Chinatown. For running through 26 neighborhoods, I remember very little. My focus was on keeping pace and staying relaxed. At some point I high fived an Elvis impersonator, but beyond that, there was very little recognition of the crowd or the scenery.

IMG_6850At mile 24, I looked at my watch. I saw the pacers looking as well, and it was my guess that although they were on track, they may have felt a little behind. We turned a corner which leads straight north toward the finish, and I got a surge of energy. At the same time, the pacers yelled, “If you are going for a BQ and you feel okay, go now!” and I was gone. I instantly picked up the pace from 7:10 to 7 to 6:50 to 6:45. For the first time in the race, my breathing labored a bit. I was getting tired and my energy was tanking, but I thought there are only two miles left and I can gut it out. I slowed at the aid station to drink and found it tough to get up to speed again. I accelerated: 7, 6:55, 6:50, 6:48….

My head started to feel light. I began closing my eyes for a few extra steps occasionally. Around mile 25 I felt myself sway in a way that told me I was close to passing out. I shook my head to literally shake it off. A grimace hit my face. I was shrugging my shoulders, shaking my arms, and trying to get all of my energy to expend.

Screenshot 2015-10-21 15.57.14Around the 1 mile to go mark, my right foot started to cramp. I have had charlie horses or cramps, say in the pool after pushing off from a wall. It hurts; it’s annoying and disruptive. This was a bit different. Deeper, more painful. I let the thought hit me, I noticed it, and then I let it pass. I was asking myself to be present and without judgment – judgment took too much effort. My pace was still at 6:50, although I didn’t know it by the watch, but only by the perceived exertion. I pumped my arms. Took long strides. Took short fast strides. 800 m to go and my head began to fall back. Similar to before, I could not get my chin to drop, but this was more pronounced. My upper back and neck was cramping and pulling my head back. I opened and closed my hands. Somewhere along this my wife saw me and said I looked terrible (I did).

My ears started to ring a bit. I don’t recall hearing any crowd. I turned right to get up the bridge overpass, and my it was the first time I felt my breath gasp. I let out a little noise and pumped my arms up the hill. Do. NOT. back. off. BQ. BQ. BQ.

I knew I had it at that point, but I really wanted it. I turned left to the final shoot, under 400 m, and I kicked. I kicked in that way that makes you think someone didn’t run to their full potential because you shouldn’t be able to do that at the end of 26.2 miles (and maybe I didn’t run to my full potential, and that’s pretty cool). My head fell back. My field of vision narrowed. I thought, “just don’t pass out before the line.” I zoomed past groups of guys in the final stretch. I tried to smile. I hit the first timing mat, then the second… then my right knee hit the ground, I did a quarter spin and fell back on the ground just after the mat. Moments later I was on a stretcher, carried by four people to this board on the back of an ATV.

“Do you know what day it is? What month is it? Where are you? What are you doing?” I said, “It’s Sunday, Oct. 11. Marathon Sunday. I just qualified for Boston. I need a medal.” I didn’t make it to the medals; instead, I got a direct transport to the med tent.

I walked from the ATV to the stretcher in the tent with assistance (it was about three steps). I laid down and explained I was just dizzy and had not eaten enough. Then, in a flash, my legs seized up. First, my right quad. I yelped. Two massage therapists came to help. Then my left quad joined, and both had pain inside near my adductors. Then, yelp again as my calves both contracted. My left foot torqued to point my toes to the right and my foot was stuck turned in. I breathed deeply. I yelled. I held my breath. I screamed FUUUCCCCKKKKKKK! More staff came over. One person was on each leg, twisting and pressing the muscles. I breathed, gasped, and writhed on the stretcher. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced before.

More people gathered. I asked to take my shoes off. My foot wouldn’t move. I sat up. I rolled over. I could not get it to stop.

The nurse went to get an IV. One took my temp. I was 102.3 degrees. They put ice bags on my neck, chest, armpits, stomach, and groin. The massage people continued to press and pull. I continued to breath deeply in between shouts of AHHHHHHHHH!!!! and F-bombs. The nurse took blood without me noticing, and then hooked up the IV. I slammed another Gatorade, although I felt a bit nauseous.

When the IV was half drained, my legs released a bit. The massage people continued to work them. I asked for my medal and someone went to get me one. My neck hurt from whatever weird head thing was happening as I was fighting passing out. At some point the race folks called my wife, who was not allowed in. She waited by our designated meeting point.

IMG_6769IMG_6767When the IV bag was done, I felt much better. I used the bathroom so they let me leave. A volunteer got me my sheet, and I exited in the stream of people. It had been rather quiet when I finished, but the foot traffic had picked up significantly by the time I left the tent. Zhen and I walked to her mom’s place and I took an ice bath and cleaned up for breakfast at The Original Pancake House.

BOSTON

My friends at November Project gave me the traditional “Boston Breakfast” on Wednesday when I returned. I was thrilled. I celebrated the 40 minute PR and Paul Leak’s 40 minute PR – he ran Chicago in 2:51! Huge!!

BY THE NUMBERS:

Temperature: 52 start, about 60 finish
Weather: clear, windy
Pace group: 3:10
People in pace group to begin: about 30-40
People in pace group when I ran off at mile 24: less than 12
Number of pacers in my group: 3
Gels consumed: 2 (mile 9, mile 18)
Gels I left on my kitchen table in NYC: 4
Gels I would have consumed: 3-4
Distance covered where I looked at ground to pick up gel: 2.5
Number of times I swerved because I thought I saw one: 1
Number of times I thought about eating a half eaten gel: 2
Number of half eaten gels actually consumed: 0

Neighborhoods the Chicago Marathon runs through: 26
Neighborhoods I remember: 5 (downtown, Lincoln Park, Old Town, Chinatown, South Loop)
Times I saw my wife: 0IMG_6836
Times wife saw me: 1
Times wife tried to see me: 3
Miles she walked trying to see me: 7

Finish Time: 3:08:48
Time needed to qualify for Boston: 3:10:00
Time cushion for Boston registration: 1:12
Time cushion needed to register for 2016 Boston Marathon: 2:28

AG Place: 262/ 3289
Gender Place: 1364/ 20,174
Overall Place: 1558/ 46,032

Number marathon for me: 3 (not counting Ironman marathons)
Former best marathon: 3:48:xx (2009)
PR by: 40 minutes
Chicago PR by: about 1:15:00
Medical tent time: about 40 minutesIMG_6832
Medical tent PR: about 5-10 minutes
Body temp: 102.3
Way temp was determined: rectally (no joke)
Number of bags of ice on me after: 9
Number of blankets on me: 2
Number of massage therapists working on my legs: 5 total (3 at a time)
Approximate duration of calf cramp: 4.5 minutes
Approximate duration of ice bath after race: 22 minutes
Number of days I limped because of cramp aftermath: 4
Number of times I used the whirlpool tub after race: 5 in 2 days
Food consumed post race to house: 2 Gatorades, 1 water, 1 IV fluid bag (intravenously), 1 sip of Goose Island beer
Food consumed in house: 1 large glass of chocolate soy milk, 1 water, 1 Lara Bar mini
Food consumed at The Original Pancake House: 1 Dutch Baby, 1 chunk of wife’s Garden Baby, 2 cups coffee
Length of nap later in day: 0 minutes (could not get to sleep!)

Blisters: 2 (baby toes)IMG_6781
Toe nails I will lose: 1 (small toe, left foot)
Injuries:
– neck pain, 5 days
– left calf, 4 days
– right quad, still hurts
– plantar fasciitis, held up okay!
– right nipple, chafe for the first time ever

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Grant Park Turkey Trot Race Report

headerSaturday, December 1, was the Grant Park Turkey Trot 5K in Chicago. I was in town for Thanksgiving, and knew I would be close, so I couldn’t pass up the option to take part in another Windy City race. I was staying in a hotel on Michigan Avenue with my wife, her cousins, and her mom. The hotel had a grand pool, where I got in a quick 600 m the night before – my first swim since the Poconos. Shhh….IMG_0790

I ate a huge dinner at Kiki’s Bistro, where I had a super cheesy pizza the size of a plate and various desserts. I was still feeling full when I woke up on race morning – never a good sign – so I didn’t eat anything. My wife and I were sharing a room with her cousin, so I got dressed in the bathroom and snuck out of the room at 7 am to get to packet pick up in Grant Park.

Pre race 

I ran just over a mile to get to the packet pick up. It was about 31 degrees, with a wind chill to make it feel like 25 degrees. I wasn’t sure what to wear, because it was expected to warm to 40 by the end of the race. I ended up in my typical winter ninja outfit: black tights, a tech t covered by a long sleeve covered by my black Nike jacket, hat and gloves, and my Rev3 buff.

I was nicely warmed up by the time I got there. But I also had 45 minutes to wait until race start. I got my packet, pinned my bib. I took trip to the porta potties, and tried to stay warm near a wall by the bathrooms. I did a little active stretching and lunge matrix warm up, and with 10 minutes to the race start went to drop my bag. I took my jacket off and checked it, and went to the start corral.

This was a Turkey Trot and a family-friendly event with some children and many walkers. I intended on running, and knew I wanted to line up near the front. I saw the 10 or so guys who I expected to win and lined up by them.

The startIMG_0792

With four minutes to the start, I decided another bathroom trip would be a great idea. I ran to the porta potties and back with a minute to spare. That was a good warm up.

The race

The race was one mile up, one mile back along the lake to the aquarium, into Grant Park, and a loop to the finish. I kicked too hard when I saw the finish line without realizing there was still about .15 miles left. I hit the 3 mile sign when I thought I was going to be at the finish. Rookie mistake to not know the course! Still, no one passed me. I expected to average about 6:20/mile with my foot injury and not really running since September. I was surprised to run 6:12 averages. I was definitely racing it, but felt untrained and slower than my potential. I also felt my pizza for about half the race.

The Photos

I had one photo from an old NYRR race that looks like all of my skin is falling off my face. I’ve always said it was my worse photo. But the photographers had to have a field day looking at the photos of me from this race. The photos look like it hurt more than I remember it hurting. It was a 5K! It was not this serious!!

photos

After the race, I saw a guy in a New York Running Company shirt. turkeytrotI asked if he was a NYer, or just ran the marathon. He actually works at the Running Company, so we talked and took a photo. I drank some hot cider, gathered up a few protein bars and cookies (but didn’t eat any – still wasn’t hungry) and did my deck a day while waiting for awards. I knew I did well, but wasn’t sure how many people ahead of me were in my age group. I didn’t win anything (5th in AG) but I would have won the AG I’ll be in next year – something to consider for next November. Then I walked back to the hotel.

By the numbers

Temperature: 31 start, 38 finish
Weather: clear and beautiful, very sunny
Number of times I hit the bathroom before the race: 4
Number of times I did that because it was warmer than outside: 3place2
Big burps I let out on the run: 1
Number of people who passed me: 2
Number of people I passed: 3

Nutrition consumed in race: 0
Hydration consumed in whole race: 0
Hydration consumed after race: 2 ciders, 2 coffees

Layers of shirts: 3 before, 2 during, 1 for photos
Layers on legs: 2

Number of 5Ks I’ve ever raced: 1

Finish time: 19:12
5th place age group
15th place overall

placement

National Gay & Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame announces 2014 inductees

This list of people just blew my mind. I almost passed out:

ImageNational Gay & Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame announces 2014 inductees
(Chicago, May 30th, 2014)

The National Gay & Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame Board is proud to announce our choices for the second induction class. Inductees include Billy Bean, retired MLB player; Wade Davis, Executive Director of You Can Play and retired NFL player; Tom Daley, Olympic Medal Winning Diver; Gareth Thomas, retired rugby player;  Esara Tuaolo, retired NFL player; Brittney Griner, decorated collegiate athlete, active WNBA player; Diana Nyad, endurance swimmer; Fallon Fox, Mixed Martial Artist; Chris Mosier, founder of transathlete.com; Nike, corporation; Stand Up Foundation, anti-bullying non-profit; Mark Bingham, rugby player (Deceased); Jerry Smith, NFL player (Deceased); Mayor George Moscone, Straight Ally, Former Mayor of San Francisco,  (Deceased).

The induction of the second class of honorees will be held at 7:30 PM at Center on Halsted on July 11th, 2014 in conjunction with Out at Wrigley on July 12th,  2014 – the nation’s largest “Gay Day” at a major league sporting event. Tickets for the induction ceremony will go on sale May 30th. Price of admission includes hosted bar and hors d’oeuvres. To purchase tickets visit www.gayandlesbiansports.com

The National Gay & Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame, a 501 (c)(3) organization based in Chicago, recognizes those who have stood up to stereotypes and worked to break down the walls of differences to bring people together for the good of sport, according to the group’s executive director, Bill Gubrud.

The first of its kind in the U.S., the National Gay & Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame was established to honor individuals and organizations whose achievements and efforts have enhanced the fields of sports and athletics for the gay and lesbian community.

Thank you to our sponsors of the 2nd annual Induction Ceremony;

Anheuser-Busch, Southern Comfort, Chicago Pride, L Stop, Grab Magazine, Center on Halsted, Windy City Times, Fitness Formula Club, Crew Bar and Grill, Supergurl Images, MTM Chicago, Horizons Cafe

 

# # #

 

About the National Gay & Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame:

Founded in 2013 and based in Chicago, IL, the National Gay & Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame’s mission is to recognize both individuals and organizations whose achievements and efforts have enhanced sports and athletics for the LGBT community.  In addition, the Hall of Fame will preserve the history of LGBT individuals who have impacted professional and amateur sports and provide outreach and education to the sporting world so that LGBT youth all across the nation feel welcome and safe to participate in any and all sporting activities. 

F^3 Lake Half Marathon Race Report

Saturday, January 25 was the F^3 Lake Half Marathon in Chicago, IL. About three weeks ago, I knew I’d be in town for the LGBT Sports Coalition meeting and decided to look for a race, not thinking that it would be just two weeks after my 140.6, or with any consideration of the weather. Not my most insightful race registration, but I found this one that sounded low key and fun, and signed up.

The race started at 10 am at Montrose Harbor. The red line to Wilson would be me close, which was convenient because I was staying at the Hilton Homewood Suites downtown (excellent hotel and very cheap on Hotels.com – highly recommend it), which was near the red line Grand stop. The weather was my big concern, because I knew I would probably be okay running, but the before and after part could make all the difference.

F^3 Lake Half Marathon race day temperatures

F^3 Lake Half Marathon race day temperatures

Pre race and dressing
I was up at 7 am and at the hotel breakfast by 7:15. I had some scrambled eggs and a waffle with strawberries, a few cups of coffee, and a banana. I asked for a late checkout, since I would be done with the race around noon and wanted to shower after I got back; the person at the front desk wished me luck and changed my checkout to 2 pm.

With a race this late, I had time to head back to my room, watch the news, read a bit, and change my mind five times about what I would wear. The temperature to start was about 18 degrees (a little higher than pictured, I think), feels like under 5, and strong winds up to 22 mph. The race was along the lakefront as well, so winds would be stronger and colder. I finally settled on Nike Dry Fit winter tights with wind protection, and shorts over that. Usually I’m not a shorts-over-tights guy but it was a good life choice. On top I had a Uniqlo heat tech base layer, a Nike Dry Fit long sleep top over that, and a Nike Dry Fit wind and water resistant jacket on top. As an aside, it was just within the last three months that I’ve gone Nike with my apparel, and mostly by chance – I got a great deal on shorts and tights a while back as a store was closing, and the meeting this weekend was at Niketown in Chicago, which helped influence the addition of the jacket. I also had a winter hat, a neck warmer that I pulled up over my nose and mouth, gloves with hand warmers inside, and Pearl Izumi thick wool socks that I usually wear cycling. I was cold in my hotel room. When I left, I was very cold outside. I was okay on the train and I timed it pretty well; I arrived to the Wilson stop at about 9:50, ran (out of necessity to get there in time and to stay warm) to the race start, and arrived at the singing of the National Anthem. In all, I waited maybe 8 minutes before starting the race, because I ended up in the second wave.

The F^3 Lake Half Marathon trail/path, snow and ice covered in most places, and wet/muddy in the others.

The F^3 Lake Half Marathon trail/path, snow and ice covered in most places, and wet/muddy in the others.

The race
Waves were necessary because the race took place on the path along the lake, which was wide enough for anywhere between four to six people side by side, depending on location. However, the snow and ice on the path made some spots less desirable to run on, and the sides near but off the path were loose snow, making it unwise to leave the trail to pass people.

In the first quarter mile, I felt like I was running on an ice rink. This turned to loosely packed snow, which made an inch or two of snow push out under each footfall. Eventually there were clear but wet spots of pavement, and then a muddy path. This made my pacing swing back and forth over a minute, changing mile to mile. The size of the path in some spots forced me to tuck in and settle into someone else’s pace, which was fine because I had no intentions of setting a PR or really racing this race once I saw the conditions (or in general, really – it was my first run in two weeks since my 140.6). I also settled in behind people to get a bit of a drafting effect when the wind was steadily blowing pretty hard on the way back. The course was a sort of an out and back, making the path narrow slightly when the fast runners (the winner ran a 1:14 on that terrain – incredibly fast) returned. Finding footing was tough in some places for me and I felt like my toes were curling in an attempt to grip the ground. It didn’t work, but it hurt my toes.

Frozen Gatorade at the F^3 Lake Half Marathon.

I passed the first two aid stations, and around mile 7 tried to get a drink of Gatorade. To no one’s surprise, the cups had frozen. I stopped to take a photo (again, not really racing here) and stopped to get a skyline photo on the run along the lake shore because it was too beautiful to pass up. I ended up not drinking any water or taking any gels on the entire run.

Despite the cold, there was the moment somewhere in there where the foot strikes settled into a rhythm and the sun was shining and I thought, “this is awesome.” I felt okay considering I had not run since my race and I was not breathing hard at all but the snow made my glutes hurt somewhere around mile 7, I’m guessing. There were no clocks and no mile markers on the course, so when I saw the exit for Montrose, I kicked. Too early. I didn’t study the race course, so I ended up running the last two miles with more effort than the previous 10, but I backed off as I hit the icy trail again. I had a good sprint for the finish when I saw that I still put up a good race time, even with the conditions.

After the F^3 Lake Half Marathon.

After the F^3 Lake Half Marathon.

Post race
This is when the damage kicked in. My Nike apparel had me warm on the course, sweating appropriately and not feeling too wet even though I was soaked on my back. The jacket was awesome in the wind. After, however, I had to get back to the train. I had stopped sweating and started freezing, and this is when my hands went numb. My legs, specifically my glutes and the top of my hamstrings, hurt badly and would have usually gone into an ice bath, but when I arrived at the hotel about 45 sweaty cold minutes later, I took an amazing hot shower and packed my things. No time to nap, although I needed one. I ended up spacing out in the hotel lobby for an hour trying to settle the brain fog before heading out into the city and eventually to the airport to return home.

By the numbers
Temperature: 16 degrees, feels like -1
Snow: 0-3 inches in some places
Wind: around 20+ mph
Times I’d say it gust higher than 30 mph: 3
Top layers: 3
Bottom layers: 2
Hand warmers: 2
Times my left hand froze: 3
Times my left hand thawed: 2
Times my right hand froze: 12014-01-25 13.04.30
Times my right hand thawed: 1
Miles run to and from train: 3
Times I thought I was going to fall and break my elbow: 403
Times I fell: 0
Miles this race felt like: 19
Loud belches heard: 2 amazing ones
Loud belches belched: 0
Times I drank on course: 0 (1 failed attempt)
Gels consumed: 0
Bagels consumed after: 1
Times I dropped an f bomb under my breath after race to train: 6
Races colder, windier, icier, or more difficult I’ve done: 0
Finish time: 1:50:07
Pace: 8:24

Frozen finger after F^3 Lake Half Marathon.

Frozen finger after F^3 Lake Half Marathon.

Gender place: 175 of 887
Gender rank: Top 20%
Overall place: 242 of 2095
Overall rank: 11.5%
Fastest mile: 7:52
Slowest mile: 9:10