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Chicago Marathon

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Member Since:

Jun 13, 2011



Goal Type:

Boston Qualifier

Running Accomplishments:

A bunch of Marathons -- PR - 2:48:53 (Fall 2014)

A bunch of Half Marathons -- PR - 1:19:20 (Aug. 2015 - Converted)

10k - 36:30 Unaided // 35:25 (July 2014 - Aided)

5k - 17:28 (Aug. 2015)

1mi. - 4:58 (July 2014 - Track)


Short-Term Running Goals:


5/16: G. Canyon - R2R2RGot It!! (about 13 hours)

6/22: Series 5k - 17:xx   17:47

9/28: Mill Race Marathon - 2:49:xx

11/9: Tunnel Hill 100 - Let's Finish the distance !  


Long-Term Running Goals:

R2R2R in Grand Canyon  5/18/19 

Wonderland Trail, JMT,

Marathon < 2:45

Half Marathon < 1:18

Top 10 in Bluegrass 10k

5k < 17


400m/800m competitively in track in high school.  Took 15 years off. Started running again in 2010.  Married to my beautiful wife, Tiffany, with 2 little boys, now 4 and 6.  I'm a civil engineer working for the Indiana DOT in Seymour, IN.   I live in a slightly larger town about 20 miles north - Columbus, IN.  Originally from Lexington, KY.


Favorite Blogs:

Miles:This week: 21.20 Month: 113.30 Year: 2654.91
Barefoot Running Lifetime Miles: 4.00
Swimming Lifetime Miles: 6.20
Elliptical Lifetime Miles: 81.50
Vilano Road Bike Lifetime Miles: 964.88
Vilano Bike On Mag Trainer Lifetime Miles: 125.25
Saucony A5 - Green Lifetime Miles: 176.24
Saucony Peregrine - Black Lifetime Miles: 426.07
Saucony Kinvara 6 - White Lifetime Miles: 617.96
Hoka One Infinite Lifetime Miles: 891.17
Red Peregrine Velcro Lifetime Miles: 267.10
Red Peregrine NO Velcro Lifetime Miles: 133.30
Clifton 4 Blue 1 Lifetime Miles: 746.85
CLIFTON 4 Blue 2 Lifetime Miles: 134.68
Race: Chicago Marathon (26.219 Miles) 02:59:53, Place overall: 993
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Chicago is a big fun city and I enjoyed spending a couple of busy days with Nathan's family experiencing it together.  I drove up Saturday and met them out our hotel close to Midway and hopped the train to go downtown for expo/packet pickup.  It was a solid 1 hour ride downtown.  We saw a bunch of the sites when we got off at the wrong stop.  Soldier Field is very cool.  Lots of decent pictures.  The expo was crazy and fun and we went through fairly quickly to get back and off our feet.

Race morning we left around 5am to give us plenty of time for transit.  We met some cool new folks in our travels and missed our stop at Roosevelt when the doors shut very quickly.  Got down there in plenty of time for me to take about 4 bathroom breaks... more on that.

Sat around a bit shivering and made our way next to A corral.  I jogged for about 5 minutes and we made our way in to the corral around 7:10.  Cool to see the Amer.DevPrgm elites getting loaded into the elite corral and here the elite-elites announced.  A seemingly decent morning weather-wise. About 55 degrees and a bit windy.  Away we went - I seemed to be in about the correct place as we started clicking off 6:15-6:20 pace.  Feeling decent and into a good group with not too many annoying chatty folks.

My troubles start at about 8 miles and get worse.  Energy levels plummet and shortness of breath.  A comparison of splits between timing mats and GPS data are a bit conflicting:

Split Time Of Day Time Diff min/mile miles/h
05K 07:50:13AM   00:20:04 20:04 06:28 9.29
10K 08:09:51AM   00:39:42 19:38 06:20 9.50
15K 08:29:39AM   00:59:30 19:48 06:23 9.42
20K 08:50:02AM   01:19:53 20:23 06:34 9.15
HALF 08:54:34AM   01:24:25 04:32 06:40 9.02
25K 09:10:57AM   01:40:48 16:23 06:46 8.89
30K 09:32:37AM   02:02:28 21:40 06:59 8.61
35K 09:55:02AM   02:24:53 22:25 07:14 8.31
40K 10:19:26AM    02:49:17 24:24 07:51 7.64
Finish 10:30:02AM   02:59:53 10:36 07:47 7.72


Mile Pace GAP Elev  
1 6:06 /mi 6:09 /mi -12 ft  
2 6:10 /mi 6:05 /mi 10 ft  
3 6:24 /mi 6:26 /mi -5 ft  
4 6:17 /mi 6:17 /mi -3 ft  
5 6:11 /mi 6:09 /mi 7 ft  
6 6:12 /mi 6:15 /mi -10 ft  
7 6:18 /mi 6:16 /mi 5 ft  
8 6:12 /mi 6:11 /mi 1 ft  
9 6:27 /mi 6:24 /mi 8 ft  
10 6:29 /mi 6:29 /mi -1 ft  
11 6:23 /mi 6:25 /mi -5 ft  
12 6:29 /mi 6:31 /mi -6 ft  
13 7:11 /mi 7:11 /mi 1 ft  
14 6:30 /mi 6:27 /mi 5 ft  
15 6:39 /mi 6:41 /mi -4 ft  
16 6:53 /mi 6:52 /mi -1 ft  
17 6:50 /mi 6:50 /mi -1 ft  
18 6:48 /mi 6:48 /mi 3 ft  
19 7:20 /mi 7:17 /mi 7 ft  
20 7:07 /mi 7:07 /mi -3 ft  
21 7:13 /mi 7:12 /mi 0 ft  
22 7:09 /mi 7:14 /mi -15 ft  
23 7:40 /mi 7:39 /mi -2 ft  
24 7:52 /mi 7:46 /mi 15 ft  
25 7:51 /mi 7:51 /mi -3 ft  
26 7:53 /mi 7:52 /mi 2 ft  
0.4 7:19 /mi 7:13 /mi 9 ft

Another epic fail.   :)

So, the answer to why I have been crushing everything else up to half marathon in races and doing pretty well in long runs in training, yet, can't put together a good marathon? 

A random acquantaince through the QuaffON! group stuff clued me in to a little thing I have heard thrown around and never really paid much attention to:  iron deficiency.  I literally randomly bumped into her today as we were exiting the 27th mile party at Grant Park.  Of course, I went straight to whining/complaining about low energy/shortness of breath, and hating gels when she asked about my race... SO I read up on it online (so now I'm an expert, right? )  - lots of coffee and bathroom stops race morning and lots of coffee in the regular diet during training.  Shortness of breath, dizziness at times during and after the race, and low energy level for seemingly no reason.  I mean, come on! Mile 8? After a good training buildup, proper taper and PR at every distance this summer?  Some other factors to consider:  I have gone vegan, cut out eating Total cereal religiously every morning (100% DV of iron), and drink lots of coffee all the time (like 3 cups a day).  It all adds up it seems.

Got my free beers out of the deal, at least.  I admit, after 4 months of not drinking and being dehydrated, the Goose Island IPA tasted like piss. :)  So now, it looks like I no longer consume caffeine, either.

Brooks Adrenaline 15 - White Miles: 26.90
Weight: 0.00
From Tom Slick on Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 08:33:14 from

congrats on such a great time at Chicago even though your not too happy with you performance. Getting the right amount of iron in your system seems to be an easy fix. It's especially important in the transfer of oxygen in the blood stream and red blood cell formation isn't it? I do it with raw spinich daily and a 65 mg Iron supplement(325 mg Ferrous Sulfate) daily.........and with all that I'm still old, slow and out of breath...!

From FREYGUY on Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 20:07:01 from

I don't care what you say, a sub 3 hour marathon is a good day. Studying our splits and it is interesting. Your splits gradually decline. I have even splits and a sharp drop in pace. Neither are good. Like you said, yours seems to be more energy related. My legs just quit on me all at once and I had to walk it out. We will eventually figure this thing out yet :)

From RileyCook on Tue, Oct 13, 2015 at 21:22:06 from

Sorry it didn't go according to plan Joe. That seemed to be a theme for the day for most runners; a lot of very large, positive splits. And yeah my GPS watch had me running 5-6 seconds faster per mile than the mile markers on course. I turned my autolap off and tried to only pay attention to the split when I hit it manually at the mile markers. It's way less depressing that way. Keep at it; if iron is the culprit you're be killing it in a short time.

From jtshad on Wed, Oct 14, 2015 at 12:51:53 from

Sorry about the disappointment in the race and the challenges with energy levels. Marathon training takes a lot out of you and sometimes finding all the right elements to get that key mixture is tough. Keep it up and the goal will be achieved.

thinking about diet...you gave up a lot going into this. Meat, beer and now coffee...tell me you still have chocolate?!

From joebell1981 on Thu, Oct 15, 2015 at 18:12:05 from

Thanks everybody - appreciate the kind words and helpful advice as always :)

Coffee and tea have an ingredient that is a suppressant for iron absorption... from what I understand. I've been cutting down on the coffee. Iron supplemented now with return to Total cereal, a multivitamin iron inclusive, and more spinach than before. I took a couple of serious diet cheat days :)

Riley - your goal is very difficult to say the least, but, its awesome that you are totally capable given the right day/conditions/etc. work in harmony. That day is coming soon, I'd wager. Race report is agonizing, and I'm glad your okay ;) (Ballsy effort to finish!)

From Jason D on Thu, Oct 15, 2015 at 20:19:46 from

Tough race, Joe. Your diet shift is pretty serious but I think it is more workable with distance running than most people credit it. When I ate a vegan diet I rarely had digestion issues and my weight would stay within a tenth of a pound for days at a time. I had to eat quite a lot and my weight didn't fall off as I had hoped. Since I've "been back on the meat" I haven't notice too many changes.

I take it you weren't supplementing with iron prior to this? I take it but I have no idea if I need to. I feel like nutrition is such a guessing game.

Anyway . . . I was bummed when I got my text Sunday that things didn't go well for you but I knew it might be on the warm side too, as Chicago can be this time of year.

I see that you changed up the rest of your fall schedule recently. What are the plans for the next few races?

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