- Mile 1: Start out north on Columbus, right past the Gehry alien spacecraft and then into the underground streets. The downtown, stripped of its cars, is totally transformed -- it feels a bit like being in a music video or something. The pack of runners is quite crowded, and in the tunnel the thump thump thump of our shoes is the only sound. I start out fast and feel pretty good. We cross the river, quite windy, turn on Grand.
Time = 7:10
- Mile 2: Head back across the river on State. I don't think I'll be able to keep up the 7 minute pace, but I'm still feeling pretty good - no twinges in my knee yet. Crowd starts to thin out a bit.
Time = 7:30 Total = 14:40
- Mile 3: Mmm, gatorade. My ankle and shin start to feel a little tight, maybe I'm overcompensating for the knee? Anyway, we turn west on Jackson and head out over the river again. There's a pretty good crowd cheering us on, which is cool. When I look down the side streets, I can see the front-runners already returning in the other direction, almost a mile ahead.
Time = 7:40 Total = 22:20
- Mile 4: Return east on Van Buren. Starting to feel a... little... tired. I slow my pace just a bit, and wonder why there aren't bands serenading us along the route like last year. OK, starting to feel more than a little tired. Breathe in, breathe out, remember to keep your stride long.
Time = 8:00 Total = 30:20
- Mile 5: OK, we turn south onto Michigan and it's just a mile left. Despite wanting to die, I pick up the pace a bit. Only a mile left, right? Then someone decides it would be funny to end the race with the only hill in Northern Illinois - it's uphill along Roosevelt to the corner with Columbus. Brutal. But after that it's only 300m and I try to finish strongly. I manage to cross the finish with arms upraised for the cameras.
Time = 7:50 Total = 38:10
We have the option of getting a free beer and listening to live music, but for me, the idea of standing shivering in the rain drinking a beer by myself at 10am on a Sunday morning sounds too much like an operational definition of alcoholism. I put on my windbreaker and try to track down a bus back home.
Of course, all the bus routes are screwed up by the race, but I do eventually find a 6 bus and am extremely grateful to be out of the rain and cold. But then as we're turning south onto Lake Shore, the bus sideswipes a cab. I didn't even feel the collision and it looked like nobody was hurt, but we had to sit in the bus, blocking traffic, for about 25 minutes until the next 6 came along to rescue us.
My official time was 0:38:09, which I think is identical to last year down to the second (a 7:38 pace) and which places me 2386th out of 20,408 finishers (top 12%). Among men I finished 1966th, and 494th in my division (age 25-29). The mens and womens champions clocked in at a mind-wowing 23:52 and 26:27, respectively. All in all, it was pretty fun time. Pictures coming soon, hopefully.