Monday, October 10, 2016

The Chicago Marathon! Cheryl's First World Marathon Major.... Completed!

Morning Check out. 
Breakfast at the gate
 With a full 24 hours of recovery now,  I finally have more time and energy to write a better posting...Unlike Saturday's.   So...  How do I begin?

Hurray for Dunkin  Donuts!
Crowds gather after leaving Cheryl
Having a hotel so close to the start line was a HUGE benefit for both of us.   We were able to sleep in and relax an extra hour and not have to fret over parking, walking, and checking into the gate in a timely manner.   We checked out of the hotel and put our luggage in the car before heading towards the start.

Cool fountains
And buildings
We were fortunate to find a Dunkin' Donuts close by and bought breakfast and coffee.   The weather was a very cool 50 degrees,  so Cheryl did not have to bundle up and worry about her clothes as we had initially predicted.

Hmm,   Frank Ghery building?  
Sun rise over lake Michigan
They did not allow spectators into the park before the start,  so I had to say goodbye to Cheryl fairly early on and find a suitable place to cheer farther down the course.

Helicopter waiting for the start
Look out for tall buildings!
  While wandering around,  I was able to capture some pretty cool pictures of Chicago in the morning.  The morning sun was reflecting off of the buildings creating a lovely glow.  I even captured one of several helicopters flying around the skyscrapers as they waited for the race to begin.
Another helicopter.   
More cool architecture

My first spectator spot at mile 2
I finally found the first an open place around mile 2.   The first water station had a lot of openings and very few people.  I set up my viewing area and started filming.   The camera does not take very good action shots, but does take reasonable video.  So...I shot this video footage of the fist waves of runners as they passed by.

First the Rollers!

 And then the elites!

And then....  Everyone else!   Waves upon waves!   I did not spot Cheryl at this point.

 Even sifting through the videos together, we could not find her in the massive flood of people.   So.   As the 3:55 pace group ran by...I moved on to the next location.   Mile 14.

I could not believe my luck that I managed to arrive at mile 14 with very few spectators and ahead of the Elites once again!

I stood there for about an hour searching the crowd for Cheryl with no luck.  The people flooding by were nearly impossible to distinguish.  With the wind picking up and the sun coming out, the thought had occurred to me that Cheryl might have taken off her long-sleeve shirt ( which, in fact, had happened!) and be wearing something totally different.   Hence,  my inability to recognize her from the crowd.

Mile 14
The entire Park is Fenced off!
After nearly an hour,  I came to the conclusion I had missed her yet again, and headed towards the finish line.  My thoughts that I would catch her at mile 17 quickly evaporated when I saw the crowds.   Spectators had stacked up and pushed back along the buildings, making travel almost impossible.
And celebrates with Goose Island Beer.

Cheryl shows off her medal
Even the finish line was a jumble!   I gave up and hoped she would find me at the designated "runner reunite" area. I was prepared for her to either be having a really bad day because training had been less than steller this year....Or a really Great day;  because the weather and course were far better than anticipated.  

I was happy that it was the latter.
Blue Sky, Green Grass, Skyscrapers,  and Beer.  What could be better after a Marathon?

Here are the results!

Official time:  3:34:21   That is a Boston Qualifying time!   Only 1:01 slower than twin cities.

That is far better than even Cheryl had hoped!   There was the specter of Cheryl not even breaking the 4 hour mark.  To qualify for Boston...AGAIN... and on a World Marathon Major course is SPECTACULAR!

Age group place: 147. out of 2691

Gender group: 1166.  out of 18583

Overall place: 5565.   Out of about 40,166 runners.

The total story is here:   Runner's World Chicago Marathon 2016

After the party,  we found the car and placed the ceremonial sticker on the back;  Thus, marking Subie with another accomplishment.

There was not shortage of conversation for the drive home.  Cheryl was in high spirits and felt awesome.  I, on the other hand, felt sore and beat up!   Either I'm old, out of shape, or really did more physical exertion battling crowds and waiting around than someone who ran a marathon! ( Or a combination of all three!)  I have not felt this bad since the 25 mile road march in the Army!

So, today we are taking it easy and trying to recover.  Well, I am anyway.   Cheryl is busy fussing around with stockings, laundry, cleaning the house, and other miscellaneous "busy" stuff. Perhaps I should try my hand at running a marathon so I can gain all this "energy."  Who knows?

I could also chat about the expensive food, mediocre hotel room and service, and crowds of unusual size, but they are greatly overshadowed by the "Good Stuff" that it would seem petty ( but entertaining..I'm sure)   In addition to the race results, the people of Chicago who ran the race were AWESOME!   The police and volunteers were helpful and knowledgeable.   They were very considerate and understanding that their beloved City had been inundated with outsiders who had no clue what was going on.   The city size and crowds were intimidating enough.   It was nice to have people who could help you navigate the stormy seas.

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