aloha HURT gang! Here is the skinny on Chicago:
We re-conned the course the day before by "hanging out" on the 103rd floor of the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower. I could tell that Nate was drooling over getting his BASE jumping career going early. We blindly put our faith in engineers and architects like Senelly and stepped out on the glass; incredible experience.
When I woke up at 5:30 AM for the 7:30 AM Sunday start, I decided to make my day more interesting by dropping our ridiculously heavey hotel window on my left pointer fingernail, severing it in half and creating quite an impressive flow of blood. Perfect start to the day; "I wouldn't want it to be easy," after all!
Lesley and Nate were a fantastic crew, and they did an incredible job of getting me to the line fueled up and warm. Weather at the start was 33 degrees; it felt so good after all the hot days this summer here. The corral system at Chicago is quite developed, and I got a clean start just a few seconds back from the elite guys. Very impressive organization.
Lesley snapped a shot of me around mile 11 when the course brought us back into the downtown area. At this point, Wanjiru was still on world record pace. I was feeling good and optimistic about 2:30, but reality came crashing down on me around mile 19 when my left hamstring totally locked out after twinging for the previous mile. The next 3 miles were pretty miserable, requiring numerous stops to stretch the hamstring. The last few miles were in survival mode. Splits were 1:14 and change for the first 1/2, and 1:24 for the second half. I learned to respect the distance again.
When I finished and met up with Lesley, she was quite concerned because I had blood on my face. I had no idea of that this was the case, but I had been touching my face quite a bit with with my still bleeding finger and bloody glove and had managed to get it on my face. You can imagine how dumb I felt going to the medical tent to get my finger re-bandaged while people around me have legitimate running related issues going on.
Last but not least, we snapped a great shot of Wanjiru holding Nate after the race. His course record of 2:05:41 (by 1 second!) was the fastest marathon ever run in North America. Check out him dropping the hammer on the other guys around mile 22. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hf8Ipw0QV7s) I think Wanjiru will have the world record in the next year or two and dominate the marathon for the next decade; he is only 22!
We finished our trip in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, where we had some great hikes with Nate. I also got out for a 5 mile trail run and spent the whole run scheming of how to get into an ultra in the Rockies. The beauty of the place takes your breath away (or maybe it was the 8,000 ft. elevation?) God blessed our little ohana with a great adventure, and we are grateful! We had amazing times with family and old college friends that we had not seen in years.