Chicago Marathon race report – DNS

I was supposed to run the Chicago Marathon today. Supposed to.

The Chicago Marathon has special significance to me. The first (and still only) time I ran it in 2006 was when I met the person who I would later fall in love with and marry not so long thereafter. It was also the final marathon I needed to earn a 4-star rating as a Marathon Maniac. So back in February I got on the ball and signed up to run this October marathon because it sells out it’s ~40,000 slots fast. I even booked a room at the hostel. I was good to go. All I had to do was show up.

Then I had the opportunity to attend the Cochrane Colloquium. What that is exactly is besides the point. What does matter is that attending it would mean flying back from Germany to Chicago 2 days before the marathon. Attending wasn’t exactly mandatory but it’s a big conference in my field of systematic reviews and all the big names go there so it’s a great place to show off your work if you have a poster (which I did) and network (which I did a little). Plus, how could I pass up an expenses paid trip to Freiburg, Germany?

Well… it turned out not so well for my Chicago Marathon experience. The whole trip to Europe was great. We spent a few days before the conference zipping across Switzerland. A day in Luzern, and day in Ballenberg, a night in Zurich, a morning in Chur. Then we headed to Freiburg, where the conference was located. We checked in to our mostly-paid-for hotel, checked out the old town a little bit, then the next morning rode the rails to Strasbourg, France. Strasbourg turned out to be our favorite city on this trip. We only had a day to spend here but decided to spend one of our free days after the conference going back. Next there was 4 days of conference stuff which I won’t bore you with. It was good, but there’s probably only a couple dozen people in the world who would be interested in hearing about it. Then it was back to Strasbourg and from Strasbourg to Frankfurt. And from Frankfurt to Detroit and then to Chicago.

It was that last part that was the problem. The night before our flight out of Frankfurt I had to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. Oh boy. It wasn’t the good kind of bathroom break. Okay. No big deal, right? It’s only one-time food poisoning. Then I couldn’t sleep the rest of the night. The alarm goes off and we gather are stuff, check out of the hotel, and walk over the catch a taxi to the airport. I already know I’m not feeling too well but it’s all pretty mild, right? As we’re navigating the airport, checking in, finding our gate, I’m feeling quite ill. And it’s not a good kind of ill, if there is a good kind. As time goes on I’m feeling worse and worse. This is going to be a miserable flight. And it turned out I was right about that one. It was the most agonizing 8.5 hours I’ve ever spent. I couldn’t sleep or get comfortable. I was either too hot or too cold and too weak to adjust my blanket or take off my jacket. It was bad. Then there was the waiting in lines, plural, to pass through customs in Detroit. Then there was the extremely uncomfortable waiting lounge in the Detroit airport for our 3 hour layover. Then there was the 1 hour flight from Detroit to Chicago. Then there was the grueling drive from O’Hare to my mother-in-law’s house during rush hour. Oh. Boy.

So that was my Friday. I was hoping that if I felt better by Saturday morning I would at least make it to downtown to the marathon expo. I had already told myself if I miraculously felt better it was probably still a bad idea to run the marathon on Sunday since I was already dehydrated from the diarrhea. And it was predicted to be a little on the warm side so little chance of a PR even if I was 100%. Fine. The marathon is bagged but I could at least hope for is picking up a bunch of schwag to make up for it. No go. Saturday I felt just as miserable as Friday. So no schwag either. Damn. And Chicago has a really great expo.

So yup, a big fat nothing for me in Chicago.

Pictures of the trip are here, not all of them yet, but they’ll all get up there soon. No pictures from the sicky part of the trip.


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