Chicago Marathon race recap!

Pre-race at the Bean. We meant to take one afterwards with our medals but we were too tired ūüôā
Marathon #4 is in the books! Everyone’s been asking how it was and my automatic response is,”Great! Fun!” I’m not really sure that’s the truth though. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t awful. It wasn’t NOT fun but I certainly didn’t enjoy every minute.
New York last year WAS fun. As I remember I felt like I was on cloud 9 the whole time. By body/legs never felt horrible, and mentally I was fine and then I pretty much was delirious the last 4-5 miles. Following that was pure joy=the best day of my life.
Race day was beautiful- nearly perfect except almost too much sun, I got burned! 
Chicago I tried my best to enjoy. I kept reminding myself I was running through such an amazing city. I was happy to start the race feeling excited, nervous, and well hydrated. As I had hoped my IT band didn’t bother me at all at the start.¬†I wanted to take in all the sights and sounds. The first 10 miles floated by, and I kept my music off ¬†until mile 15 when I needed a pick me up. As Liz ¬†promised the mariachi band loudly played at mile 19. It just wasn’t enough. I tried to convince myself to make it to 20 before I walked but I gave in around 19.75. My legs just couldn’t handle it. To say they hurt is an understatement. They were DONE. I only walked for a little and ran again through mile 20. At about 21.5 I stopped again, choked back tears, turned on my phone and text my mom. I knew she was tracking me and I didn’t want her to be worried that it was taking me so long to get to 40K. I said, “Between 21 and 22. Had to walk.” I quickly looked at the other texts of encouragement, turned my phone back off, and started to run.
I probably made it another half mile before I walked again. I walked through the water and Gatorade stations downing both. I had eaten about half of my Honey Stingers but didn’t want the rest. (Looking back maybe that was a mistake?!) I ate my almond butter around mile 23 which was a good pick me up. Finally I hit mile 24 and said to myself “RUN LIKE CHUBB!” (I know I’m insane but he was incredible Saturday!) And I tried but couldn’t do it. I walked/ran until just before mile 26- the hill. I had to crush it! I ran up that hill as fast as I could (my watch died during that- ahh!) and kept on going! 800 meters, 400 meters, 200 meters-ok really run like Chubb!!! And finally with that last turn crossed the finish line. Moments later I called my parents to let them know I made it, I was alive!
Here’s why I refuse to say it was an awful race:
To be honest with myself means realizing my longest run, about 20 miles, was done 5 weeks out when according to training methods it should be about 3 weeks out. IT band and hamstring pain led to me not running for two solid weeks. The weeks following I averaged probably 20 miles a WEEK leading up to the race. Many would have made the decision to not run. My PT told me to have fun saying, “It’s not like you’re trying to PR or anything.”
I told myself over and over to listen to her. Yet sure enough at the expo Friday I grabbed a 4:25 pace tattoo. That’d be a 7 minute PR after less than perfect training, but hey, why not?!
So in the end I fell off of that 4:25 finish time about 8 miles in, but kept with what I’d expect to be about 4:28 until mile 20 when I realized this race did need to be about having fun. My legs were exhausted. I just wanted to finish. With a dead watch I was delightfully surprised that I came in at 4:37:34, not bad for a not great training run!
Will I do another marathon?
Had you asked me race day between mile 20 and when I went to bed I would have said no way. Today I’ve already concocted two plans:
1) Spend 2015 getting STRONG, legs and core specifically. Focus on speed. Do 9+1 and run NYC again in 2016.
2) I’m working on convincing my brother to run the London marathon with me. If I play my baby sister, only daughter cards right I may convince the whole family to go!!
Would I do Chicago again?
Yes. It’s certainly a flat, fast course, and easier than any I’ve run (Atlanta, Marine Corps, and NYC). But two things would have to happen.
A) Train better. Strength train. Get stronger. Avoid injury.
B) All of us New Yorkers agree we would have loved to have more fans. Friends and family. Don’t get me wrong, Chicago was out in full force! There were few parts of the course without spectators. There’s something special about knowing people that you know will be in certain spots cheering for you. Honestly it’s a perfect spectator course. With its back and forth through city center it’s very easy to navigate and see runners 3-4 times. I need that support in person. Those text messages I briefly read were huge motivators!
The slogan of the marathon was:¬†Every mile is magnificent.¬†I really love that and 28 hours after finishing I will play the optimist and say that statement is true. So few people in the world get to experience the feel of a marathon, the resilience, self-discipline, and endurance that it takes, and the thrill of satisfaction and achievement at the finish. I’m reminding myself today of this and feeling grateful that I am one of those people.
Brittany, Leticia and I celebrated post race by a little champagne in the hottub!
PS. I’ll confirm the rumor that chicago isn’t GPS friendly. According to my watch once I got it charged again I ran over 27 miles total with a marathon of 4:29:24! In the words of Lee Corso, “NOT SO FAST!” That is incorrect. Though that would be nice, and I will break 4:30 one day, that is not accurate.

One thought on “Chicago Marathon race recap!

  1. Great post. I guess I’m not the only one who was slightly sunburnt, hehe. What a crazy day that was. It was an easy course (no major hills) but there were no downhills either, lol.

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