The Chicago Marathon – remember that race that I ran a month ago?! It feels like forever ago but at the same time, it feels like yesterday. Everyone told me that my first world major would be amazing but honestly, I could not have imagined anything so amazing.
Pre-Race Events / Things To Do
We arrived in Chicago late Friday night and left Tuesday morning. When I do this race again (I say “when” because I know I will), I will definitely fly in earlier. There were so many race-related things that I wanted to do, places that I wanted to see and runners that I wanted to meet.
- Abbott Health & Fitness Expo, well duh.
- Heartbreak Hill Running CompanyShakeout run
- Store events
- Time to shop!
- The shuttle to/from the expo was a blast – we even got goodies!
- More time to shop!
- Tracksmith Pop-Up
- Awesome gear
- Shakeout run
- Finisher posters after the race
- A LOT of shakeout runs!
I was pretty stressed – as I mentioned earlier, we arrived late Friday night so we had to go to the expo on Saturday. We took a Lyft there and it was pretty easy to find. I expected to be overwhelmed but I did a decent job at containing my excitement and my energy. We took our time walking through the vendors and taking a couple of pictures before eventually taking the Nike shuttle back to the store. Transportation ended up being pretty easy to figure out.
It was definitely a colder year – low 40s and very windy. Despite the weather, I decided to go with a tank top and shorts, with arm sleeves and gloves of course. I didn’t pack the best clothes to keep me warm at the start but HAND WARMERS were a must have item.
Wow – what can I say about the course. Coming off seven weeks of injury before the race, my strategy was to take it slow, have fun and try to make it as far as I could before bonking due to my lack of training. Even though my marathon PR was 3:48, I was hoping to run the race under 4:00 and at worst, under 4:30.
Miles 1-3: I don’t even remember because they went by so fast. Somewhere near mile 3, Cade and his parents found me!
Miles 4-9: My ankle started hurting but I was just in shock at the sheer number of runners around me and spectators along the course.
Miles 10-13: Heading back into the downtown area – AWESOME. I caught up to the 3:40 pace group and knew that I had started out WAY too fast so I pulled back. At mile 13, I found Cade and his parents again! And was a good place to ditch my arm sleeves and my earphones.
Miles 14-16: I was a little worried here because this is around where I bonked hard at the Flying Pig Marathon.. but no issues here!
Miles 17-20: I was even more worried here because this is where I usually bonk anyway – but again, NO ISSUES! Well, I did have to stop and use the bathroom at mile 20 but then I continued on my way.
Miles 21-24: I got a little hungry.. but I knew that I was on pace to PR so I asked myself, “how bad do you want this?”. Mentally, I was 100% there and I knew that I was almost done.
Miles 25-26: INSANELY WINDY – a drum got knocked over by the wind and I almost got knocked over too. You just have to keep reminding yourself that you’re almost there.
26.1-26.2: You think you’re almost there but you have one last hill and a couple of turns. TOTALLY DO-ABLE.
If there are two things that I remember forever, it’s this.
- There were bees everywhere.. it was so weird and slightly frightening but I was too tired to be scared.
- After finishing, I didn’t grab a bag so I had to carry my beer, apple, banana and other snacks in my two hands along with my phone. A sacrifice obviously had to be made so I said goodbye to my food and continued along with my beer and phone in hand – SUCCESS.
PR CITY – 3:41:27. This was quite literally, the craziest, most unexpected outcome EVER. I have spent the last two weeks reflecting on my race and I still can’t begin to understand it. I can find every reason why this shouldn’t have happened but I’m pretty proud that it did. Despite my injury and needing to use the bathroom mid-race, I think it’s safe to say that I crushed it with a 7 minute PR?!
I don’t know what my 2020 race schedule will look like but I know there is one thing that I am chasing. Crossing my fingers that I can get this injury healed up quickly so I can start training for and chasing a BQ!