Sunday, October 07, 2007

Let's hear your marathon stories

Wow...sounds like an historically tough day for the Chicago Marathon. Let's hear your stories!


Aaron said...

Is everyone okay? I was tracking most of you until the website crashed and it looked like the heat took a toll on just about everyone.

Chuck B. said...

I hope everyone recovers well. Tough day to run. Congrats to all who managed to finish and those who did there best!

Emily K said...

I hope all of you are okay. I was scared to death!!! :(:(:(
I am so proud of each and every one of you for having the courage of being there! All of you are AWESOME!

Anonymous said...

Well, where do I begin..... The announcement I heard over the police car loud speaker said, "Ladies and gentlemen, you may stop running. The 30th running of the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon has turned into a fun run." I looked around and asked a fellow runner - "are you having fun yet???"

All I can say is that the race directors made a wise decision to cancel the remainder of the race when it was clear runner support would not be sufficient for the conditions. Between the lack of water and gatorade (imagine fighting for a cup and shoving your hand into a very frustrated mob to get water - at mile 6), and the inability of medical personnel to keep up with the needs of runners - some with very serious cases of heat illnesses, it was something that had to be done. More than three hundred runners were treated by medical personnel, five runners remain in critical condition in the hospital, and one runner died on the course - he was running with his wife and other family members.

Personally, I started suffering the effects of heat by mile 7 (mile 6 was my first success at getting a decent amount of water - and could not get gatorade until mile 10) and had considering dropping at mile 12. I even walked back a block, looked at the runner drop out area and changed my mind deciding to gut it out. At this point I stopped sweating - I was beet red, my body was dry except for my hair. I wasn't even sure what street or mile on was on. When I reached the half way point at 2:54 I had to decide if I really could be out there with insufficient fluids and fuel and motivation for another three hours. I was at mile 15.5 (3 hours 20 minutes after I started), when they called off the race. They redirected some of us at mile 16.5 (would not let us turn right on Halsted) back down Jackson Street to the finish line (backwards across the finish line mats). I ended up doing a total of just 18.5 miles for the day, but once they announced we "HAD" to walk and started passing out bottled water, I was relieved. Had I continued jogging, walking, shuffling - as I had set my mind to do (Thank you Emily for your phone support - you know how I struggled and I appreciate all you did for me) - I'm sure the effects of the heat would have taken its toll on me in a more drastic way. The race directors made the smart decision that even the best runners were failing to make for themselves. Many SRRC members went the full distance in the heat and I congratulate them for their strength to hang tough. For those of us on the shortened course - well, I think our achievement is significant as well. And to those of you who pulled out because you recognized the seriousness of the effects of the heat on your body - I applaud you for your courage.

So that was that downside. But....

The crowds, bands, volunteers - they were amazing. There were volunteers standing along the road with bags of ice for us, giving us water out of their own coolers, etc. The distinctness of neighborhoods was very interesting, the collective passion of fellow runners was thicker than even the humidity, the skyline with its sea of athletes running down Columbus at the start was breathtaking, and the National Anthem on the starting line still gives me goosebumps. I met people from many states and runners from Mexico. I talked to many first time marathoners and those who had been on the road before. And afterwards, on the streets, in the bars, on the train, in the hotels - the city was buzzing with this historic turn of events. And of course - I loved being there with fellow SRRC members.

Yes it was chaotic and extremely frustrating and confusing, but we all had to just take what the day gave us - and couldn't expect anything different. I'm sure the race directors and city of Chicago will be evaulating this race for a long time. This will definitely be a weekend to remember. I sincerly pray that those injured in the race recover well enough to once again step back on the road again. And for the first time marathoners this weekend - wow - you really picked a good one, huh!

see you on the road again soon.

Mary R.

Mary L. Rogers said...

btw - check out the October issue of "Chicago Athlete Magazine" page 36 for Jim Dahlquist's great article "A Case for Pace" - looks like Jim's passion of the magic of the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon even survived the heat this year. Way to go!

Holly said...

As a spectator~I am still in awe/shock as to what I witnessed yesterday. I was at mile 26.1 and could not even begin to count how many runners that we saw collapse so close to the finish line. The day will be something that I never forget and I am very proud of everyone who completed and/or attempted to complete this race.

Anonymous said...

Running in the heat is a topic that needs to be addressed to all the runners we know. It is something that many of those marathoners thought they knew but didn't. I think that many runners think they can run through it or just keep going and maybe they will survive. But it is soooo important to stop running once your body reaches a certain point. There is no toughing it out when it comes to heat exhaution or heat stroke. I wonder what was going on in that man's body before he died. Did he know the signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke? Did he know that once you stop sweating your body is shutting down & can no longer cool it's self? Did he know that once your inner body temp reaches a certain point that the heart will not work properly? My prayers go out to that family and I hope everyone is recovering properly.

Good job to those who were able to finish!! And for those of you who didn't, there are many other opportunities out there. Keep running!

Anonymous said...

According to the website Chicago Athlete, Mr. Schieber, the man who died during the race, had a heart condition (mitral heart valve prolapse) that can be worsened by conditions such as dehydration and "unaccustomed physical activity".

Not only should we continue to educate ourselves as to recognizing and heeding signs of heat related illnesses, but also to be sure to have a thorough physical before undertaking something as strenuous as marathon training. I know I want to be out on the road running for many more years - compromising my health and safety, however, is not the way to do it. A lesson we can all learn.


Anonymous said...

I read about the race in today's Chicago paper(front page of the paper) and the runners were really complaining about the lack of water. They knew to expect 45,000 thirsty people, although 10,000 never even showed up at the starting line according to the article. They should have planned water stations every mile for that amount of people.What was the problem? was the water not on the tables as you ran by?, was there too much of a crowd at the table that one couldn't even get to the table?, or were there too few people at each table pouring the water that they couldn't keep up with the demand?. I have never run in a race with that many people before so have never had trouble getting water at a table,so I was just curious from some of the runners what the organizers could have done to correct the problems. One doesn't run very long without taking in water because one loses so much in sweating. Like you said my heart goes out to the family of the runner who died, the paper said hewas only 35 and had 3 young children.
Jim A

Anonymous said...

i had just passed mile 20 when the race was called and i did opt to complete the course. at that time the chicago police were "stongly" encouraging runners to walk. many hydrants were opened - i filled a gallon jug from an abandoned water station and carried it with me. the crowd support was awesome - many filling in for fluids, ice, hoses, etc.

this was my first chicago marathon (as a runner; prior medical support) and i think they did about as well as can be expected with the circumstances.

hope everyone here faired well...although i read that a williamsville high school / illinois college (2005) gradute is in the hospital in chicago...any news?


Anonymous said...

Hot, hot and very hot! Wow, what else can I say. I'm glad that we made it to the finish line. This was the worst marathon experience that I have ever felt. I knew that by mile 3 this was not going to be pretty. I kept telling myself to run easy, listen to my body and drink water & Gatorade at every water stop. The sweat kept pouring off of me. Not once was I comfortable. The temperature kept climbing and I just wanted to get it over with. I kept telling myself that I didn't come all this way to just quit now. I was determined to finish, no matter what. Thank God when I saw mile 26. I knew then that all those early Saturday morning runs at 5 a.m. actually paid off. This day will be remembered by many of us for many years to come.
I hope that everyone that ran Chicago and the Twin Cities marathon made it home safely. I think we should all go have coffee and bagels at Panera's : )


Jeremy said...

My experience was similar to Mary's, although my shortcut back to the finish was later. I took Cermak at about 21 and met the course just past the last water stop. I ended up with about 23 and change for the day. I did take advantage of various fountains in the first 10 miles to cool myself since I was unable to get any water the first several stops. I think some of the stops they might have had water, but couldn't get cups filled fast enough. Some of the later ones were just letting people take cups from a box and having people pour directly from the bottle into your cup. I saw a press conference where the race director had said that they hadn't expected the water to be used for cooling. Has he not seen a hot race? People are going to use anything they can to cool down. I keep hearing 250,000 extra servings of water, but if that is over the course of the race, that's not much. That's like 6 extra cups per runner for the whole course. And their biggest focus on cooling was in the last 7 miles or so. People were dropping out much sooner than that.

Anyway, I made it back with some help from my family. They got me water and gatorade at a few different places and that made a big difference in my day.

Chuck B. said...

Here is a link to the Chicago Marathon blog site. A lot of people spouting off here.

Jeremy said...

Mary! You made the Chicago news!

Chuck B. said...

So did Russ! He followed a couple of clips after Mary!

Mary L. Rogers said...

I saw the original clip this morning - frustrating thing is that I said way more than THAT (are you suprised???). I really made sure to thank the volunteers, etc. and they cut that out - guess that's not the story they wanted!

Quite the controversy, huh!

But it's not all negative, either. It was a good experience for many runners, even with the conditions. Here's what I receive today from Maggie (I hope you don't mind, Maggie):

"What a day! I knew that signing up for the Chicago marathon on its 30th anniversary would be exceptionally exciting and memorable...I just thought it would be for different reasons!
I had a thoroughly fantastic day on Sunday. Obviously the race finish was not what I (or anybody) expected, but the day was glorious nonetheless. The course is fantastic. The diversity of the neighborhoods was so interesting and each one had its own personality. Such a great tour of the city. The spectators were exceptional. When the race was officially cancelled and runners were being shouted at to "stop and walk", it was the spectators that yelled "keep going, you can do it!". I had a fantastically memorable day and a great run...can't get any better than that.

My only disappointment is that I feel cheated out of the euphoric "I just finished my first marathon" feeling at the finish. When I crossed the finish line there was no shouting, no crying, no fist pumping. All of the finishers just crossed and said nothing. Definately not any of the palpable feeling of exuberance that usually exists in a race finish area. I did finish the race and am proud of that, but I feel rather unsatisfied. Unsatisfied that I wasn't able to see what I could do on that last 5 miles. When the race was called off I was between mile 20 and 21 and was feeling tired and dehydrated. However, I was never near the point of quitting. Hadn't even thought about it. So I am left to wonder what would have happened had I been given a full shot for the finish. Would I have started to feel worse or would I have been able to harness the strength to kick some butt? Guess I won't know....until the next marathon."

Like I've said before - take what the day gives you. Maggie - I'm so glad that your first marathon was so memorable for you and that you have the drive to go the distance again. You kicked butt this time, girl! You'll get your finish line!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I ran it, but I'm also tired of hot weather. Of course it's nice and cool now-go figure.

It was eery watching the aborted race runner's faces walking back to the start area, and the constant announcements of "runner down, runner down" in the exit lanes/finish area.

My three marathons this year have been low 80's, mid 80's and now low 90's. All unseasonably warm for the time and location. ick.

The bottom line is, give a good effort in the conditions-but don't jeopardize your well being.

Anonymous said...

I agree, there is a fine line between being stubborn and forging ahead or listening to your body and being smart. I decided at about the half that it was no longer a race but just a survival of finishing. I wanted to quit but didn't know how I would get back. I was fortunate enough to get past the half mark at 2:20 so was given the opportunity to finish. I feel bad for those not given the chance. Tim Mu. I wanted to thank you afterwards sooo much for running some of the mileage with me. Thank you for sharing your GU and also the electrolite pill that I don't remember taking! I am sorry the severe cramping left you with a decision to stop at 19mi. but I am really glad you were smart enough to make that decision. Finishing was not a great euphoric experience for me. I ran in the finish line but there was back log with runners getting their medals. When I got to them they just held the box out and you took your own. Not really the experience you wanted but hey, we are all alive unlike the poor ind. who died. Pam, Russ, thanks so much for the exciting weekend. I'm glad I had you guys to experience it with. I think our engraved medals says it all.... I survived the heat in '07!! Who would have thunk it??

We saw Hal Higgdon the day before and we asked the question - what is your advice for tomorrow's heat? He looked at us and said... Just run slow. Boy, what a simple but life saving bit of advice.

Good job to all who participated!!!

Kim N.

Anonymous said...

I ran Grandmas on a warm day in June, ran Howl on August 11 in 90 plus heat, tempo runs and speed work were all done in late afternoon heat, most long Sat. morning runs were humid and warm, so I keep asking myself why did I 'crash&burn' soo hard in Chicago? I guess there is no real answer, just write the facts in my log book and move on to the next week. I do have two very real regrets due to my stopping at 19 miles. Regret 1) My sister Maureen and girlfriend Sharon were waiting at the 20 mile mark. I totally forgot about that (it was just as hot for the spectators),it was quite some time before I was able to phone them. Thank you Mary R for letting me use your cell phone. Regret 2) Kim N my teammate I really am sorry for deserting you when we all needed as much encouragement from each other as we could get. I'm glad to hear that you were able to finish the entire 26.2!
Thanks to all the people that I trained with this past summer and congradulations to everyone that ran Chicago and finished either the whole course or the weather shortened course!!!
Tim Mu

P.S. Lets all do it again some time.

Anonymous said...

Hey Tim, So glad to hear your ok. There was no deserting. You made it through an extra 2 miles from when you thought the cramps were too bad to continue. You used your commone sense not to push any more. I wanted you to be able to continue but also knew not too push someone too hard that day because it was past a mental run and really became a physical thing and saw too many dropping to the side. You are an awesome runner and I too don't know what happened to all of us but there was something def. different that day. Hang in there you ultra marathoner! You are one tough cookie!

Kim N.

Anonymous said...

I agree w/ you Tim, I too can't come up w/ any real answers for crashing and burning based on other training conditions and mileage I put in the past couple of months.

I ran fine for 21 miles then all of a sudden my left calf went into complete meltdown w/ cramps (it was even my "good" calf). I had to walk the last 5.2 miles to finish and cramps continued while walking. I don't know if I didn't get enough water (plenty was available) or if there was something IN the water.

While I was very frustrated and disappointed at the time when walking, I now know that cramps were a good thing compared to other potential heat exhaustion issues and other horrible experiences faced by other runners. I agree w/ Mary and others -- you just have to take what the day gives you.

This race day was one tough bear and everyone should be proud of what they achieved.

Scott H.

I'm also "in" for another!

Anonymous said...

I'm just glad, despite my meltdown in the marathon and only being able to make it through the shortened course, that I decided to take my shoes to work today and just get out and run. Last Sunday really took a toll on my mind more than my body, I'm thinking. So, no training, no goals, just enjoy what it is I like to do.

So - I grabbed one of my running partners and we hit the road for a good, hard 4 and a half miles - it felt good to not be hot and reminded myself that oh, yeah, I do know how to run! However, as we were going down Sangamon and I was heating up, the sun came out and I remembered the heat from Sunday - it just made me thirsty thinking about it!

Get out there and run - this is the weather we should have had last week.


debi m said...

I know that my story is probably the same as most, but I thot I would chime in. I was really excited and pumped up to see what I could do on this day in Oct. when the temps are usally at least 20-30 degrees cooler than they were on Sunday. I missed Chgo. last year due to injury. I worked really hard this year and was very careful during training to insure that I made it to the starting line. Thanks so much to a great group of guys who took me under their wing at the start on Sunday. To Scott Harry, who I traveled to Chgo with (along with my husband and Scott's wife), Mike Burke (the calm and experienced voice of our little foursome) and to Chris Burke-- Mike's young stud of a son who was just out for a good run.-- Those 3 really helped me during the first 6 miles. However, due to the fact that I am vertically challenged, my short legs could not keep a comfortable pace with those men. So, I let them go on. About mile 10 my feet were throbbing so bad that I thot my toes had fallen off. -- By the way, the fact that 2 of my toes are still tingling-- is that a problem? I continued to run on the stubs that were now my feet. My husband and I had several points during the race that we were supposed to meet. However, I did not see him at any of those points( he did see me tho--which calmed his nerves). When I did not see him at our final check point at mile 18, my mood went downhill. I hobbled on to mile 22 where I was met with the "friendly" voice of Chgo's finest telling us thru the bull horn that we must walk. Don't get me wrong, I was happy to be "forced" to walk. However, I knew that was not the way I wanted to finish my 2nd marathon. I was more concerned about time on this trip. I really wanted to improve from my first experience. As, I began to see my goal go out the window, I became very bummed. Thank you Pam Enno for finding me at just the right time and saying "Are they kidding-- is the race really called off?" I wish I could have run with you when you made your dart for the finish line. However, all I could do was a poor shuffle. But, it took me to mile 25 and then I was determined not to walk across the finish line even tho all I had worked for, for 18 weeks had now been reduced to a "fun run". I managed to push my way across the finish line. Since there were so many unhappy finishers there, I could barely get thru. It took me 30 minutes to meet my group at the reunite area. All of my hard work seemed anticlimatic until I saw my husband. He too, is a marathoner, and new what finishing meant to me.He assured me that I was #1-- and then informed me as to the severity of the conditions on the course. That seemed to put things into perspective for me. So, as to not to be accused of being long winded, I will close here. Just remember everyone, we all have different experiences and stories from our marathon day. Nothing can diminish all of our hard work and dedication. I know as many of you do, as time passes, we will appreciate this experience more and more-- the good, the bad, and the ugly of it.

Anonymous said...

Gosh Deb! (As I hug you!) I loved your blog as well as everyone else's! All of you are the reason why I want to keep running! I love this running community!!! :) How lucky are we to have eachother!!!!

-Em ;)

Anonymous said...

All I have to say is, Deb Marker, you are strong. You kept trucking along and I kept thinking, You go girl! You had a mission and nobody was going to take it away from you. You are stronger than you think and even stronger for getting through that race! It was nice to run into you from mile 9 to 23. I hope that I gave you encouraging words along the way. You helped me, more than you know. You did make me laugh because you said something like "I hope I'm not depressing you" You were the last thing to depress me, did you happen to look around at our surroundings? lol.

As for me, I knew it was going to be a bad day at mile 6. Russ needed to use the porta potty at mile 5 and usually I would have been like, "already?" I didn't feel that way this time. I couldn't wait to stop and rest. I walked from the porta potties to the water station and didn't want to start running again. When I got to 10, I wanted to stop but I thought, I just need to get to the half. When I got to the half, I remembered my brother and hephew were going to be at 17. I had to run to 17 to smile for the cameras and act like I wasn't hurting. Got past the act and thought, can I get to 20? No, got to 19 and the cramps started in my right calf and then my left. I had to walk/run until 23. Saw Deb and I walked for a little while with her(that's were they told us the race was over and we had to walk) and then I thought, I've got to get this race over with and did the old man shuffle/walk to the finish line.

The finish line was very confusing because I had people walking towards me (people that were redirected, I didn't know about that until later on.) The blow horns said turn around as I was about to cross the mat (I was about 10 feet from it) and I said, "No way, I'm stepping over that mat!!!!" I crossed the mat and then looked for water. Got a very hot water but I figured it was better than nothing!

Thanks to Tim Mu, Kim and Russ for training with me, we did have some fun runs. Kim and Russ, we did make up for this race by having fun afterwards.

P.S. Russ, I think you can do it a lot better next year and even better than last year, if you just train a little harder :). Those were your words from last year, not mine!

P.S.S. My sinus surgery went well. My drugs are working great and I'm going back to sleep.


Chuck B. said...

I just received an e-mail regarding a Denver marathon this weekend was waiving entry fee and allowing late/on site registration for the Chicago Marathoners. Maybe other Fall/Winter marathons like this will take the same action. That would be cool for the runners who trained for Chicago and was not able to complete it.