illinois-marathon

First 5k

I ran the Illinois Marathon 5k last night with no walking. I set my target time at 42:00 and finished at 41:34.

Im pretty stoked!

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I didn’t plan on going further uptown than I’ve ever been before on today’s long run. I typically like to run in a long straight line south because I get really irritated with twisting and turning routes. Maybe my feet pointing me north today was my subconscious acknowledging the fact that this will be my last week as a resident of uptown Manhattan! Better make use of this time to see the things I’ve been meaning to see… I’m so excited to move to Brooklyn, by the way!

So anyway, after trailing a guy running with his dog unleashed (adorable), I found myself in the Cloisters, which was really disorienting for some reason. I don’t know, I was so confused by how a space like this existed in the middle of Washington Heights? Anyway, the spring flower photos are trite and cliche, but the blossoms had me in awe, and seriously distracted for a good two miles.

I thought I’d try to navigate a nearby trail before some shady figures warded me off. I made my way back to civilization, ran to Jersey via the George Washington one last time (who knows when I’ll be this far up north again), and finished off my route on Riverside.

Two more long runs before we begin to taper — crazy! Is this really happening??? 

PS, follow me on Instagram @jeankkim

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Totally unexpected! Mark from the bagel place downstairs comes and brings me a team running shirt! Says he sees me running almost every lunch and thought I’d wear it for the marathon. That’s so thoughtful of him. Yes, I know it’s advertising for them. Hey, I like their food.

Volunteered at the Illinois Marathon today!! I think I lost my voice from all the cheering! I ran last year but wasn’t ready to do it again this year.

There were so many beautiful tributes to Boston I was fighting back tears for most of the race.

CU in 4

I should be sleeping, but no, I’m on Tumblr.  

I’m laying on an air mattress on my friend’s floor knowing that in 8 hours, I’ll be running my 4th marathon. And like all past marathons, this one has a lot riding on it.

My first marathon in 2009, I just wanted to see if I could do it. I got injured half way, but was too stubborn not to finish.  In 2010, I completed my 2nd marathon because I want to better my first.  Then my arch collapsed and it took 2 years to relearn how to walk & run.

Last year, I ran NYC marathon.  For me, it was about my return to running.  I wanted to not only run again, but be able to race.  As for tomorrow, well…that’s something else.

Right before NYC last year, my girlfriend of 3 years broke up with me.  Now I may be old in Tumblr & Nerdfighter years, but she was older than John Green.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned through the years, make friends with those who are older. They’ve experienced more & can teach you a lot of things.

Anyways, I digress.  I love her. When she was ready, I would have asked her hand in marriage.  But she wasn’t and broke up with me.

So come January, being the fact that it was the coldest winter in 100 years in Chicago, I had to force myself to live again.  And the only thing I knew that made me feel alive each time was running.  So I signed up for the Illinois Marathon. 

16 weeks, 300 training miles, 16 miles in 12F degrees, 3 plantar fasciitis flares later, I’m here; the eve of the Illinois Marathon.

I know that I’ll finish.  But I want to do well.  I want to not only live but excel at it.  That’s why so much is riding on this.

For me, the only way the race will be a success if I break 4 hours.  And even better, 3:49:xx.  

My heart still grieves for her.  But tomorrow, it’ll grieve more if I don’t break 4 hours.

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By Zach Dalzell, The Daily Illini

Christie Clinic hosted the fifth annual Illinois Marathon from Thursday to Saturday. More than 16,000 athletes participated in this year’s events. The 5K and 10K races were held Friday night, after pre-race events on Thursday and Friday. The wheelchair marathon started at 6:58 a.m. Saturday, and the marathon, marathon relay and half-marathon races began at 7 a.m. Saturday.

It's Finally Time For the Marathon Recap!

I didn’t get much sleep on Friday night, but as soon as I woke up at 4:45 (a half hour before my alarm was supposed to go off) I was wide awake. I figured I would be nervous before the race, but I was surprised that it was less “ugh I feel like I’m going to throw up” and more “I feel like I’m going to cry.” I met my family outside by the start line, but they couldn’t hang around for too long because they wanted to make it to the 4 mile mark. Jon stuck around for a little longer though and kept me company… although I wasn’t very good company, because I wasn’t talking and I kind of wanted to pass out. I made sure to drink my Gatorade Pre-Game fuel and take one last potty break about 15 minutes before the race started. After that bathroom break I honestly didn’t have to go again until about 3 hours after the race ended.

30 seconds into the race and I was already taking pictures.

As soon as the race started my nervousness went away and I was just so happy that I was finally running the marathon! I feel like I’ve been looking forward to it for so long, and it was so exciting to finally be running it. The first few miles went really smoothly. I was feeling good, I wasn’t tired, and my knee didn’t hurt! I did the first 2 miles a little faster than I should’ve (10:30 pace), but I felt good so I just went with it. I saw my family at mile 4 and I probably used up energy just being excited to see them!

My awesome family cheering me on!

Running through the forest preserve.

Miles 8-10 and 13-17 were probably my favorite. We ran into the forest preserve and there were so many people cheering and lots of music along the way up until mile 10. It was awesome and I was smiling at all the spectators.  After I got out of the forest, I was focused on seeing Jon and my family at mile 13! When I finally got to them, Jon came on the course and ran with me until mile 17, where I saw my family for the last time until the finish. I probably shouldn’t have talked so much when I was with Jon, because I could tell it drained some of my energy (or maybe it was running another 4 miles in a marathon…).

So happy to be running with Jon!

I wanted to walk at mile 17, but I forced myself to keep running until mile 19, which might have been a mistake. By the time I got to mile 19, I was drained. I kept an 11:00 pace up until then, but after that I was doing closer to a 12:30 pace. I forced myself to keep running (with short walk breaks every few minutes), but by the time I reached mile 22 I felt like I was dying. I knew I was going to be really close to not making my goal of finishing in under 5 hours, but my body refused to move any faster.

Mile 24: Not my favorite part of the race.

The last 4 miles were pretty awful. At some points I didn’t care about my time at all and I told myself it wasn’t worth the torture (I’m dramatic in my head sometimes). It didn’t help that I accidentally turned my Jogtracker off at mile 23 and was really mad/sad :( And then I saw a sign that motivated me. It’s a saying that I’ve heard many times before, but I needed to see it right at that moment. It said, “Pain is temporary, but pride is forever.” It still wasn’t easy after that, but my brain turned on and I remember that I really wanted to finish in under 5 hours!

I jogged/shuffled/walked the next few miles. At mile 25 I knew I was really close to either making or missing my 5 hour goal. I knew I had to do about a 13 minute mile or I wouldn’t make it. 13 minute pace seems incredibly easy, unless you’re at mile 25 of your first marathon with zero energy left. I saw Jon and my dad at mile 26 (.2 left to go!) and I couldn’t even muster up a smile for them. I think I just made a pouty face to show them how miserable I was. It kind of makes me laugh looking back on it. Once I made it inside the stadium and saw the finish line about 200 meters away I full out sprinted to the end. I have no idea how I found that energy, but I just wanted to be done so bad. I saw the clock at 4:59:38 as I was crossing and was so relieved it hadn’t passed the 5 hour mark.

Sprinting to the finish line.

I had planned on smiling and pumping my fists in the air as I crossed the finish line, but I completely forgot!! I’m probably making the worst face ever in my finish line photo. I’ll be sure to post it as soon as I see it. As soon as I crossed the finish line I thought I was going to cry, and not out of happiness. It took a couple minutes for me to stop thinking about how miserable I was and be happy that I finished!! My mom and my sister were inside the stadium waiting for me. I felt a lot happier when I saw them and saw how happy they were for me. After a few minutes I was finally in a good mood and happy that I finished. I just kept thinking, “OMG I can’t believe I made it in under 5 hours!” Making my time goal made it all worth it.

Finally sitting after 5 hours of running.

Now that I’ve had a couple days to reflect on the marathon, I am so proud of myself for finishing. I’m especially proud that I pushed myself so hard at the end, even when I wanted to give up on my time goal. This was such an awesome experience. I’m not going to say that “I can’t wait until the Chicago Marathon,” because I’m not quite there yet, but I know that in a month or two I’m going to start getting the itch again. I will run in the Chicago Marathon in October, and I’ll probably be even more nervous than I was this time. Hopefully next time I won’t get injured half way through the training and I’ll be able to run it even faster <– See!? I’m already making new goals in my head even though part of me never wants to run again!! I guess that’s a good thing :) Even as I’m writing this I’m starting to get more excited for my next marathon. One step at a time though. Next up in August: Champion’s Run 5k and the Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon!

Official time: 4:58:51

5.2.11