Illinois Marathon 2016: Race Recap

I’ll start with a disclaimer: Despite the tale of misery, pain, freezing fingers, soaking wet feet, and complete breakdown of all hopes and plans that is about to ensue, I want to be clear that I give my marathon experience a 10/10 and will definitely do it again. Next time with more training, more experience, and less fear. Now on to my race recap (it’s rather long, so I’ll continue below the cut).

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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


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.

Took today off from tracking, but still ate pretty well (not too much of the mindless grazing I tend to do on weekends when I’m only feet away from the kitchen). However, tomorrow I’m back at it because TOMORROW I START MARATHON TRAINING FOR MY SPRING RACE!!!  I’m following one of the hal higdon plans which makes Day 1 a bit less momentous than you would hope since the first thing on the schedule is cross training.  haha.  21 weeks to go.  :D

To half, or to full, that is the question...

So as many of you know, I signed up for the Illinois Half Marathon last year (what would have been my first race longer than 5 miles) and after doing full marathon training for most of the winter, decided to switch to the full marathon. I was completely terrified, but it ended up being an awesome decision. Anyways… I signed up for the half marathon again this year. So, as expected, I have been debating whether or not to switch to the full marathon again, but this year is a little different.

If it was just about whether or not I thought I could do it, or just about how much I want to do it, I would switch for sure. However, I can’t decide if it’s smart since I have runner’s knee in both of my knees. They haven’t been hurting too much yet, but I also haven’t run farther than 7 miles since October. And also, I have only been doing half marathon training plus longer runs on the weekend. I could definitely complete the marathon… but is it worth it? I’m signed up for the Chicago Marathon this year, so I feel like I should just hold out for that… but it’s hard!! :P

Part of me is saying, “If you can run the marathon, then do it!” while the other part is saying, “You don’t have to run the marathon just because you can… save your knees and focus on Chicago.” At the moment, the part that wants to run the marathon is winning… but I think I’ll wait to see how my longer runs go. If running 16 miles kills me in 3 weeks (part of my added on mileage in case I want to switch), then switching might not be a good idea. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see. Just had to get all that out there- advice is welcome!


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.


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.