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2014 Chicago Marathon

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Member Since:

Apr 28, 2011



Goal Type:


Running Accomplishments:

PR Table and Notable Races

2:21:12 (Chicago); 2:20:41 (CIM)

Half Marathon: 1:05:45 (Long Beach)
10K: 30:03 (Portland)

All race results:
2011 - 2012 - 2013 - 2014 - 2015 - 2016



Favorite Blogs:

Russian champion tries Crocs, commits to racing a marathon in them

Nikolay Chavkin in the video below did 3x1000, first two in Adidas carbon-fiber models, the last one in Crocs. Surprised by the result (2:52, 2:52, 2:50) with the fastest interval done in Crocs, he committed to racing a marathon in Crocs if the video gets 42K likes and 195 comments (for 42 km 195 m, the marathon distance). Nikolay's current marathon PR is 2:14:00. The video was created by a Russian sporting goods store chain. Their moto is "more sports - brighter life", which we think is wonderful, and also deserves a Like. If you want to see a fast marathon in Crocs, go to the video and click the Like button. And make sure to share it with your friends.

Miles:This week: 0.00 Month: 0.00 Year: 0.00
Race: 2014 Chicago Marathon (26.2 Miles) 02:21:12, Place overall: 35
Running MilesSwimming YardsBike Miles

2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon - 2:21:12, 35th Place.

After an excellent summer of training, the week or two leading up to Chicago was not great. With my hamstring feeling very compromised, it wasn't easy to maintain a high level of confidence. A week before the race, I wasn't even sure if I could race. I decided that if I could run, I needed to be conservative and go out in 1:10 - 1:10:30. That all changed on race morning when I went outside for a short jog at 5:30am. I not only felt somewhat normal for the first time in nine days, but there was an energy along Michigan Avenue at that early hour that convinced me it might be worth taking a shot at the Olympic Trials standard. Chris Sloane (who shared a hotel room with us) and I made our way over to the American Development tent around 6:30am. We did an easy 10 minute jog to warmup, then stood around with some of my Saucony teammates in the corral until it was time to go.

When the race finally started, I immediately set myself up behind Florence Kiplagat's male pacer (who was about 6'3" tall... and maybe 120 lbs) but I could tell within a minute or two that the women weren't going out quick, so I moved past them as we came out of the tunnel and saw my Saucony teammate Jesse Davis up ahead. It took me about 2 miles to bridge the gap to him, and once I did I found myself in a nice pack with 6 other guys. I mentally committed to running with that group and the idea of a 1:10 first half was thrown out the window. I was simply going to race these guys as long as I could. After opening up with 5:17 and 5:19 miles, I missed a few splits, so I was surprised to see 15:38 for miles 3-5. We were moving, and rolled through the first half, hitting 13.1 in 1:08:47. This was my fastest first half ever in a marathon (by far!) which was a little crazy because I did less marathon pace specific work than I have in my last few marathon buildups. I never touched 5:15 pace tempos in training during this cycle but I wasn't afraid to mix it up and see what might happen.

This is a good time to point out that because of the aggressive start, there was no "this feels easy" / "build into it" portion of this marathon. I felt like I was running at a high intensity level right from the gun. Andrea said afterwards that I looked "very determined" and that it was "the hardest I've ever seen you run, especially in the last ten miles" I guess that is both good and bad. On one hand, you sort of want to be relaxed for a good portion of a marathon. On the other hand, I know I gave it  everything I had, even if I knew I was in a little over my head.

Expressing my stubborn Polish determination in Polishtown


I think the pack started to break apart around mile 14 or 15 and I was on my own the rest of the way. My calves were starting to hurt. Andrea told me that my gait was noticeably compromised by the halfway point, which isn't surprising - I made some sort of alteration to protect my hamstring, and the gastrocs had to pick up the slack. I held up pretty well through 30K, but the 20th mile was the first over 5:30, and I wouldn't be able to bring the pace back down. I was hanging on and just trying to keep the bleeding to a minimum.

Michigan Avenue death march

The last 5K was a death march. I still had a chance to PR when I hit 40K, but the wheels were coming off quick. With 600m to go, you turn and ascend the Roosevelt "hill" (which is a measly 15 foot overpass). I could not believe how it absolutely. broke. me. My legs started to wobble, I felt like I had no control over them, and simply tried to stay upright over the last quarter mile... an effort that was barely successful. With about 15-20 meters left, everything seized up... I had to windwill both of my arms to keep my balance as I stumbled across the timing mats. After I got across the second mat, I let a volunteer just hold me upright for 10 seconds while I regained my sense of balance. It was a comical finish and despite being a little embarrassing, I had to smile - I knew I went for broke and didn't leave anything in the tank.

I hope there is a video of this somewhere

Overall I'm very happy. Yeah, I didn't run the smartest race, and likely would have run a bit faster and PR'd had I gone out a little slower. But on a big stage like Chicago, it was worth chasing the OTQ dream. I'll continue chasing it, because I have zero doubt that faster marathons are in my future. Regardless of whether I run 2:17 or not, I simply love this journey. I love that it's hard - that it requires so much dedication with no guarantees of success. I love the training, working towards a lofty goal step by step... sometimes taking steps backwards and figuring out how to deal with the setbacks. I love that I keep learning more and more about the sport and myself in the process - race to race, year to year. And I love that I get to travel all over the place and compete against the best runners in the country (and the world). When you run 2:21 and come in 35th place, you picked the right race. No matter what, when all of this is said and done (which is a long way off), I'll know exactly where I stand (the stopwatch and tape measure never lie) in the running universe. I'll know exactly how good I can be... and that's something I want to know, even if it's a bit scary to find out.

When I look back at my goals at the beginning of the Chicago buildup, getting back to PR shape was at the top of the list. I definitely accomplished that objective over the past 14 weeks, and gave myself a solid platform to build on again. Depending on how quickly I recover, I'm planning to take a short break, rally for a series of late Fall races, take a longer break, then dedicate 2015 to a pair of long, focused marathon buildups (spring and fall).

Odds and ends...

Nutrition: Breakfast - 2 Powerbars. Race - 1 Powergel 15 mins before start, 3 more during race (5-10-16). Really like the Powergels and tolerate them well, mainly because of the liquid consistency. Didn't drink much - I need to run faster so I can get my own bottles at major marathons! Post-race lunch - Venison.

Weather: Sunny (although the tall buildings blocked it in a lot of spots) and low 50s for most of the race. A little windy in spots, but this is Chicago so what can you expect?

Course: Flat. Awesome. [Map / Elevation] Other than the overpass at 26, none of the small inclines broke rhythm. The route has a decent amount of turns. Crowd support was excellent. Maybe not quite as good as Boston, but close.

Shoes: Saucony Type A6. Best racing flat out there. Saucony had a great presence at the expo and hooked us up with some cool Chicago-branded gear. The team was well-represented in both the men's and women's races.

Intangibles: Andrea was unbelievable this weekend. She managed to get my hamstring back into working condition on Saturday, then got a bike the morning of  the race and navigated the streets to be at seven different spots (1.5, 3, 13, 17, 20, 22, and 25) to cheer for me and all of the Saucony runners (and take photos). Her airport nap was well-earned. I had other friends at 5, 6.5, 8.5, 10, 17.5, 23, and 26. I've said this before, but I know I'm very lucky to have such a great support system. I had a lot of family, friends, and puppies supporting from afar.

Mile splits - 5:17, 5:19, 15:38 (3-5), 5:11, 5:11, 5:17, 5:16, 5:17, 5:13, 5:12, 5:17, 5:09, 5:20, 5:14, 5:28, 5:17, 5:27, 5:32, 5:38, 5:32, 5:39, 5:38, 5:38, 5:57, 1:22.

5K splits - 16:23, 16:13, 16:22, 16:21, 16:11, 16:46, 17:17, 17:34, and 8:05 for the last 2.2K.

Comparison to a couple other marathons...                    

                   Half          20M        Finish
PHL 2011  1:09:33 - 1:46:05 - 2:25:57
CIM 2013   1:09:29 - 1:46:17 - 2:20:41
CHI 2014    1:08:47 - 1:45:45 - 2:21:12

Final thought: next time I go out under 1:09, I'll bring it back under 1:09 too.

From kevin212 on Sun, Oct 12, 2014 at 10:56:15 from

Nice run Jake, nothing ever wrong with going for broke and leaving it out there to solve the 'what if?' mystery. I'm sure you'll figure it out.

So you finished like this?.... http://gifshost.com/082012/1346779262_finishing_race_like_a_boss.gif

From Yasir on Sun, Oct 12, 2014 at 10:57:52 from

Wow 2:18 is so close. I watched the race online and was thinking about you. I hope your hamstring recovery well. you rock man

From Bret on Sun, Oct 12, 2014 at 11:29:54 from

Nice job - Jake! Looked for you this morning. Great day for a race.

From Fritz on Sun, Oct 12, 2014 at 11:35:07 from

Nice job Jake. I was watching your splits and everything looked spot on through 30K. Way to go for broke and leave it all out there. I am sure you will learn from this one.

From allie on Sun, Oct 12, 2014 at 13:35:32 from

oh, so that pic isn't a joke. now i feel bad for laughing at it.

i like that you decided to go for broke. why not?! you ran a great race and i am glad your hamstring made it through okay.

time for some celebratory truffle fries and tipsy bowling.

From Jake A on Sun, Oct 12, 2014 at 20:52:28 from

Well done. I'm glad your hamstring didn't act up and you were able to go full out.

From Jenruns on Sun, Oct 12, 2014 at 21:47:18 from

Great race Jake! Hamstings, shamstrings...eh, who needs 'em? Glad it didn't crap out on you.

I think we need to BBQ and celebrate your race. We can Skype with Allie and James so they can come too.

From josse on Sun, Oct 12, 2014 at 22:42:05 from

I think we learn the most from going for broke. Great job on the marathon!

From Russ on Mon, Oct 13, 2014 at 09:09:40 from

Great job Jake. Way to put it all out there and once again lead by example for every other FRBer who gets to cheer you along. Recover well.

From Jake K on Mon, Oct 13, 2014 at 21:39:05 from

Muchas Gracias. Report is up now.

From Steve on Mon, Oct 13, 2014 at 22:05:05 from

One of the coolest race reports ever. I love reading race efforts like this, Jake. Only a fraction of people ever run a marathon and of those, only a fraction ever race one as hard as they can. Just awesome!

From Jon on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 06:09:10 from

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." TR

From Tom K on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 07:22:00 from

No guts, no glory. Be proud that you threw everything at it, Jake. Well done.

From mikenelson on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 08:32:12 from

You win the best race report of the year award. Way to go for it!

From steve ash on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 08:49:11 from

Awesome post race pics Jake. Just reading this is getting me more revved up to go run than my morning coffee.

From allie on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 08:59:43 from

we want a finish line gif!

i love your thoughts on it all -- why you went for it (and have no regrets), and why you will continue. this was a motivating read.

while the photo sequence at the finish is pretty comical, it's proof that you gave it your all. laughs + inspiration -- that's the best kind of photo. it also provides a lot of great material for a birthday collage.

great job to you, and a huge kudos to andrea.

From jtshad on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 09:07:56 from

Congrats on running a gutsy race!

From Paul on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 10:05:43 from

Great work. Glad you went for it...the only way to make it is to go for it, and at least you got to experience the pace for 30K.

I saw that Jesse Davis missed it by about 15s...he was really close at Grandmas too...that's rough.

From Jake K on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 10:11:49 from

I felt so bad for Jesse. He made a strong move ~14 and looked great. 2:18:26 in Duluth, 2:18:13 in Chicago. So based on the 13 second drop, he'll get it in Houston I guess!

From Andrew Anderson on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 12:15:02 from

Excellent race. You have to go for broke occasionally to get the big breakthroughs! It looks like it'll just be a matter of time before you crack 2:18 if you can stay healthy. Your race report reminded me of a great running quote - "My outlook is that I never want to look back and wonder how fast I could have been."

From Kassi on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 13:18:16 from

Courageous race Jake! Love that you have no regrets. You really put yourself out there and that took guys. Looking forward to this journey that is well worth the effort and experience.

From Blake Bennion on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 17:21:51 from

Awesome race, reading about it was inspiring! I like the final thought too!

From Derek D on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 17:55:12 from

As someone who has followed your journey for a few years now I was getting pretty excited tracking this race knowing you were going for it. I think it's great you got to see what your current limits really are. Great race report. Your reasoning for why you do this is awesome. I always wondered why I did it and share many of your reasons. It's just hard to put into words and you did it better than I ever could. Nice to hear you will continue to chase your dreams!

From SlowJoe on Wed, Oct 15, 2014 at 11:30:47 from

Great report. I'm amazed how far you came from this summer. It's like you knew exactly what to do to fix yourself and did it, and maybe ran the best marathon you have yet (or very close to it). Should be some really good improvement from here, now that you're not basically starting from scratch! Fun to watch...

From KristenRuns on Thu, Oct 16, 2014 at 15:52:28 from

You're an inspiration! Congrats on a very fine race! Can't wait to see what's next for you.

From Bob on Fri, Oct 17, 2014 at 17:09:53 from

Great work Jake. I've seen Dick Beardsley stumble across the finish line completely spent before. Inspiring.

From Jake K on Mon, Oct 27, 2014 at 11:46:19 from

I can't believe it's been two weeks since this race. So... a belated thanks for the thoughts and encouragement.

Now that I have some distance from it, my perspective hasn't really changed. Part of wishes I had just been a little smarter and run for an almost certain PR, but in some ways I'm glad I did what I did... despite being terribly paced, it still turned out as my best performance of the year (so far... I hope!).

Never found a video of the finish, unfortunately!

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