Chicago 2014: The time you want, and the time you get

by Minh Duong

Warning: The following race report contains a photo of a nasty, bloody foot at the bottom.  Do not scroll down all the way if you are squeamish. You have been warned.

First, let me start with the thanks.   Thanks to Team Rogue PM and coach Amy for a memorable, hot summer season. No, I’m not bringing frozen grapes this weekend, Brent. And thanks to Emily and her family for putting up with some crazy runners for the weekend.

Here were my splits:

Distance     Time       Split     Pace       Overall
5k              23:25      23:25    7:33         7:33
10k            45:37      22:12    7:09         7:21
15k         1:08:17      22:40    7:18         7:20
20k         1:31:38      22:39    7:18         7:23
Half         1:36:32        4:54    7:07         7:22
25k         1:54:31      22:53    7:22         7:23
30k         2:17:53      23:22    7:32         7:24
35k         2:47:12      29:29    9:30         7:42
40k         3:18:42      31:30  10:09         7:58
Finish      3:30:10      11:28    8:11         8:01

Chicago was a much larger race than my previous ones.  Most of it went by in a blur but I do remember Boystown, Greektown, Pilsen, and Chinatown. I especially remember Boys-town as there was a stage show during the marathon.  Sorry to the performers, but I was too busy to stop by and see it.

Running wise, Chicago wasn’t my race.  Looking at the splits, I ran the first 5k at my intended pace as thousands of runners around charged out of the gate. I definitely made a mistake the second 5k and ran too fast.  I settled in for the next 10k.  After the half I started slowing down a bit as my left pinky toe started to hurt.  That, and I was trying to work through a side stitch that lasted until mile 16.

Around mile 18 my legs didn’t feel right and it felt like I was getting micro-spasms. Sure enough, by mile 18, I was getting Charley Horses but I kept walking/running through them. By 22, I got groin cramps which made walking difficult as it was hard to bend my leg forward.

By this time I was in Chinatown and there are two things to note:

1) More than once, a Chinese person was calmly cheering and was taken aback when they saw me, then they started cheering loudly and pointing me out to everyone around them.  Apparently not many Chinese people run marathons.

2) As I was hobbling through Chinatown, I was getting all sorts of encouragement.  In Chinese. So I had to keep going or I would shame the ancestors!

Around mile 23, I was able to start running again, albeit slowly.  Here I saw a fabled marathon myth: A runner passed by and had sh*t all over his backside. Best case scenario is that he fell in a porta-potty. I was able to finish the last 3 running for most of the way.

After the race, my pinky toe was really hurting.  I removed my shoe and sock and there was a massive blood blister. My main concern was it might pop. With the Ebola scare, I didn’t want people to freak out if my shoe was bleeding.

So I went to Medical.  There were only a few people in Podiatry so they saw me right away. There were at least 4 people working on me, one getting me food and water,  and 10 others just staring at my foot. Maybe it was because it wasn’t busy, or maybe that toe was really something to see. “Pst. Look at that freaky toe. My God, it’s hideous!” In retrospect I didn’t realize until I left the tent that everyone working on me was an attractive female. I should have asked them to frond me and feed me grapes.

The last thing I want to discuss is will and attitude. Someone asked me recently why I didn’t stop and quit because of everything that happened, but quitting never crossed my mind as an option. It sounds weird to someone who doesn’t run that I was “only” 6 miles from the finish. Finishing was always the plan.  The only difference was the time I wanted and the time I got.

The other thing I also hear is that people tell me that they can “never” run a marathon.  As I passed a blind runner during the race, I am reminded that anyone can finish a marathon given the right training. The only difference is the time they’ll get and the time they want.

scroll down for foot

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My God, it's hideous!

My God, it’s hideous!

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2 thoughts on “Chicago 2014: The time you want, and the time you get

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