My (2nd!!!!) Chicago Marathon Recap
Wow… it’s crazy to even write that. Two years ago, while Stephanie and I sat at a bar the weekend after the 2010 Chicago marathon, I mentioned how jealous I was of all the people who had run. She simply said, “So let’s run it next year!” I had never run further than an 8k at that time, but something clicked when she said that. Yes, I WILL run next year. And just like that, my brain was taken over by training, races, and learning everything I could about running a marathon. I ended up doing a marathon 5 months sooner than expected (ya know, cuz I’m crazy), but it was that initial conversation while out drinking that sparked my obsession with marathon running.
The night we decided to run a marathon… it’s amazing how clearly I remember that moment.
And now, here I am having run my 4th marathon (and 2nd Chicago marathon). Kinda crazy. I hadn’t even planned on signing up this year because 1) I’m poor and 2) I felt like my body needed a break from marathon running after doing two last year and having major runner’s knee issues. But when my mom said she would pay for it (and every marathon I run from here on out), I couldn’t say no. I was really excited, I regretted it sometimes, and in the end I’m so happy I signed up.
The expo was great as always and after looking at some of the cool race booths and their medals, Craig may or may not have told me that a half marathon for him was not out of the question (hint: he did), so that was exciting. And of course I bought some marathon gear, new neon Experia running socks, and a 35th annual Chicago Marathon pint glass. All around a successful expo experience.
We met Justin and Anna for lunch at Hot Woks Cool Sushi and it was amazing as usual… despite not being the best day-before-race food (although they would both tell you otherwise now). I’m so glad I got to hang out with Anna and meet Justin! Two very awesome and inspiring people. Plus it was fun watching Anna try to use chopsticks ;)
The rest of my night included a delicious pasta dinner with Craig and my family, getting together race stuff for the morning (including pinning my tutu to my capris and making fingerless gloves out of my sock bottoms), and of course jumping on the bed. It was awesome that Craig and my family came and Kelsey even drove in from UofI! Races are so much better when you have people supporting you and jumping on the bed with you.
Unfortunately, I didn’t sleep a whole lot on Saturday night. I woke up at 2:30am and couldn’t turn my brain off for long enough to fall back asleep, but I still had plenty of energy that morning because it was FREEZING and I was SO EXCITED!!! Craig and I went to the ACS tent where we took a group photo and I got to meet Rindy! My rainbow tutu and neon pink running shirt definitely helped people spot me. I felt a little ridiculous at first, but I got over it pretty fast. Plus, the director for the DetermiNation team took my photo and tweeted it onto their Twitter page!
I met Anna in the charity corral (thank god she was able to get into it by switching bibs). I wasn’t too nervous before the race, but once we started running and it hit me that we would be running for the next 5 hours, THEN I was super nervous. The next couple hours flew by though. We chatted, we saw my family, Craig, and Mar (so glad I finally got to meet you!!), we read all the amazing inspirational signs, we made a plan for pacing the rest of the race, and just had a great time overall. Running a marathon with someone else is INFINITELY better than running alone.
It got a little rough around the halfway mark… Anna needed to stop and put a blister bandaid on, I had to stop and go to the bathroom (BAD!) for the first time ever during a race, we both needed Vaseline, my knees hurt, her back hurt, etc etc. I think we both started feeling better when we realized that everyone around us was feeling the exact same way as us, and of course we’re going to hurt- we were in the middle of running a freaking marathon!
I think it was around 13 or 14 miles that we scrapped our goal of running a 4:45 marathon, but the sub-5:00 was still doable. We definitely didn’t talk as much the 2nd half and there was a lot more swearing from both of us, but mostly me. It’s no secret that running a marathon is scary, especially when you have a specific time goal. I calculated our pace at every mile marker though to make sure we were on track to finish in under 5 hours. Once we got to mile 24 it was obvious that we would meet our goal and we both got really excited. By mile 25 I already felt like I had finished. The endorphins and giddiness of finishing another marathon started to kick in early.
My family, Craig and his family, and my boss and his wife were all there cheering us on and I was feeling great. We powered through that nasty hill at the end and finished feeling awesome. And Anna accomplished a major goal of hers by running her first sub-5 hour marathon!!! I honestly don’t think either one of us would have had such a great finish time had we not been motivating each other. Anna didn’t want to let me down and I sure as hell didn’t want to let her down by not being able to finish in under 5 hours with her! I couldn’t stop smiling after we finished. What an AWESOME race. You never know how a marathon is going to go… there is all sorts of potential for injury, stomach issues, etc etc and we were lucky enough not to have any major issues.
Here’s the photo of Anna and I from the Chicago Sun Times :)
I wish I could have stayed with her to hang out and meet up with some other Tumblr people, but I wanted to see my family and everyone who came to support me, so I hobbled/slow jogged my way to charity village a few blocks down. I can’t tell you how amazing it was having so many people come to watch me. I say this every time… but I’m so lucky to have such supportive people in my life!!! My mom has gone out of her way every race to book hotel rooms and make dinner reservations (among other things), my dad made at least 3 signs for me in an attempt to get a good one (plus he bought me a sticker than says “Will run for margaritas”- perfect), my sister drove all the way from UofI to come support me and made me a freaking sweet sign, Craig is absolutely the most supportive boyfriend a girl could ask for… despite thinking I’m a crazy person for running marathon (but let’s be honest, I kind of am), PLUS Craig’s mom and sister came to watch AND my boss and his wife made it down to support me!! My boss’ wife even says she was so inspired by everyone running that she wants to run Chicago next year!! It’s amazing being able to inspire other people when the only reason I’m running is because of the many people on Tumblr who inspired me.
What a great weekend. And I got to be a bum yesterday because my boss was nice enough to tell me I didn’t need to come in to work. Craig and I ate Greek food, took a long nap with the kitty, and watched Game of Thrones. It was a perfect relaxing day.
Congrats again to everyone who ran on Sunday!!!!! You should all be extremely proud of yourselves… and for those of you running the Chicago Marathon again next year, I will be there with a ridiculous sign and maybe a rainbow tutu cheering you all on :)
P.S. Running in a bright rainbow tutu was AWESOME! It didn’t bother me at all while I ran plus I had so many more people cheering for me because of it. I am now known to many strangers in Chicago as “tutu girl.”