Chicago Marathon 2012

October 8, 2012


If you follow me on twitter or Instagram then you already know – I DID IT!


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It’s still sinking in, I can’t stop smiling! I can’t believe this all actually happened! I hope they post the race pictures soon So I can really believe it!

I tried to give you all a shortened version of the race recap… Haha as I was typing it kept getting a bit too detailed. Alright, get comfy because here goes the recap:

I slept surprisingly well and only woke up once, at 4, and then back up again at 5:20. I had half a banana with almond butter while I was getting all my stuff together (photo of partially eaten banana…), and I’m glad I had an hour because I took some time to just breath, say a prayer and relax.

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I headed out at 6:30, taking the L downtown. Girls On the Run had space in a high school near the start so I headed down there to eat my pre-race fuel, stretch, and use the bathroom.

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Our corrals closed at 7:45 so I headed over and decided to use the porta-potty one last time, haha nerves! The line took so long I almost didn’t make it into my corral, but luckily the people at the entrance were so KINDLY letting everyone in even if they were a minute late.

Waiting to begin I, again, was weirdly calm. I just don’t think it registered – I was standing there surrounded by thousands of people but I was so focused on making it through the marathon, thinking about each place I’d look for friends and family, how I needed to start slow and pace myself.

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Then we were off! The first few miles really flew by, winding through downtown. I was also surprised at how it wasn’t too crowded (the runners, not spectators – SO MANY spectators!), although I definitely still had to bob and weave to get around people.

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When we headed up LaSalle I expected that stretch to be awful since that’s the route my bus takes every day, but again it just flew! When I got up to Lincoln Park I was on the lookout for my family around mile 6 and I spotted them right away. Even Molly was there to cheer me on! Haha, she looked very excited about all the people and the cheering.

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We were up to Addison and heading back south before I knew it. Around mile 8 my legs started to hurt, along where my IT bands are. I expected this since they’d done the same on all my recent long runs, but I just hoped it didn’t get any worse. At this point, the course felt crowded with runners and I kept having to move around people. I saw the 4:25 pace group and freaked out. I was hoping for 4:15 so I started having a mini panic attack and picked up my pace! I had to keep reminding myself: run your own race, ignore them, you’re doing great!

I saw my family again at mile 9 and then we headed into Old Town where I saw Chelsey and Tina! I almost missed them but they saw me and yelled out!

We headed back into downtown and then made a right on Adams, passing the Willis Tower (most know it as the Sears Tower) and then out west! I hadn’t ever been that far and kept thinking "where in the world am I?!?!” I knew I wouldn’t see anyone for a while so I just tried to get lost in my head, singing along to songs. Each mile marker came and went and eventually we were heading back towards the city.

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Well… that’s what I thought was happening but looking at this map everything is making way more sense… Haha, I was wondering where I was going! We also got to go through Chinatown which was SO COOL! It only lasted a couple blocks but it looked so pretty!

At this point, I was getting hot (which everyone told me would happen but I didn’t believe since it was like 42 degrees) and really thirsty. From here on out the water stops could not come soon enough. I was drinking Gatorade and water at many stops and then water only at ones right after taking a GU. I was taking a GU at every 4.5 miles and I based it on my Garmin, not their mile markers since I was technically running further than 26.2 with all the turns and weaving back and forth.

I saw Chelsey and Tina again at mile 20 (thanks for the candy corn ladies!) and I was supposed to see my family after that. I had taken off my long sleeve and gloves and was holding them, hoping to pass them off. However, I couldn’t find them anywhere. At this point, I got really frustrated but I kept telling myself: I REFUSE to hit the wall!

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I was slowing down a bit after 22 but I kept pushing, my legs were getting tighter and tighter but otherwise, I felt pretty good. The sore legs were making it a LOT harder to bob and weave and I wanted to hit a few people! Don’t worry, I resisted. When we FINALLY turned around to head north I was really ready to be done but I kept on chugging. I tried to keep it under 10 min/miles but once we hit 2.2 miles left I picked it up. The last few miles weren’t as bad as I expected, I could barely move my legs but still, I felt way better than I expected. Once we hit the hill I knew I was almost there, I turned the corner and sprinted for the finish!

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(lol… no way to look pretty after finishing but I wanted to capture the moment! At least I took my visor off…)

After finishing I wanted to just fall over, unfortunately, they make you walk like a mile to the family meet up area. It. Was. Ridiculous. Luckily I ran into Molly! We’d been following the same training plan for months and talking constantly, it was awesome that we got to celebrate with each other!

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photo courtesy of Molly!

The whole finish was kind of weird for me, it just didn’t’ sink in that I’d run a marathon! Haha, I hurt like I’d run one but the whole thing went by so quickly that I couldn’t believe it was over! I spent four months training and BOOM! It was done! I was almost disappointed! I guess I’ll just have to sign up for another!

I never understood why people ran Chicago so many times, I always thought I’d want to run all different marathons. However, I totally get it now! And I’d love to run it again now that I better understand the course. It was such a cool race, with spectators lining the ENTIRE COURSE and getting to go through so many areas of Chicago! Plus it was pretty flat… a few little “up-hills” but nothing that got me breathing too heavily! I would definitely run Chicago again!

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THANK YOU, everyone, for all your encouragement! I was BLOWN AWAY by all the comments I've received the past few days.