I was Jeff Mitchell in this race - thanks, Jeff! He gave me his entry and a place to stay Saturday night :). Went in this planning on making it a training run. For the most part, I stuck to that plan. Since Jeff's entry was in Corral L (Wave 2 this year), and on Jeff's advice, I snuck into Corral E in the first Wave (7:30 start, instead of 8:00 am start)
After mile 1, where I somehow found a clear path along the right side of the street the whole way, it took about 2.5 miles to weave through the crowd and get some good work in. I kept the pace at what felt like a relaxed pace, but not super easy. Looking at the splits after the fact I remembered the bottle neck around the half mark where I nearly fell on my face - I was stuck behind a group and had to mount the curb to get around :) Then, at about mile 23 I came up on the 3:10 pace group (huge group) It took some energy to fight through and around this group, which finished off whatever I had left in my legs. From there to the finish I felt tightness in the calves and hammies and took the foot off the gas.
6:24, 7:09, 7:29, 6:35, 6:50, 6:46, 6:54, 6:43, 6:45, 6:47, 6:44, 6:56, 7:48, 6:39, 6:57, 6:54, 6:51, 7:05, 6:53, 6:48, 6:48, 6:49, 6:48, 6:56, 7:23, 7:52, 3:48 (0.5 mi.)
I wound up running an extra 0.3 mi. with all the weaving and poor curve management. Ran an extra 0.3 mi.-that's funny to me for some reason :) All in all, though, mission accomplished today: Great training run - felt relaxed most of the way and really had fun!! This was my first experience with a race of this magnitude. I have run plenty of large races - a couple times in the Indy 500 Festival Half Marathon (has 35k people), but nowhere near the crowd support and hoopla involved with this international event. What a blast - 45000 runners, and an estimated 1.5 million spectators lining the streets of downtown Chicago. There was non-stop cheering and signs and people everywhere!! There was literally not a single place along the course that there was not some sort of crowd support. The aid stations were also top notch - they were very long and simple - gatorade first and water second - I did not miss a station where I wanted either or both.
If I did it again, it would be as a legitimate race (as myself) - extremely flat and fast as advertised. Weather pending, I think this would be a great place to PR for anybody.
The Kenyan/Ethiopian winner broke the course record. I was only an hour behind him.
Jake and Fritz - you guys would've run about 2:12 in this race :)