October 12, 2014 will go down in the books as one of my favorite days of all time:
- I ran 26.2 miles.
- I got engaged.
I feel obligated to tell you about this day. I mean, what running blog doesn’t include a Chicago Marathon recap (even if it’s 3 months late)?
I woke up right before my 4am alarm. I set roughly 80 alarms on race mornings, but I’ve never slept through a single one. I guess nerves are good for something. After showering in body glide and putting on my race day best, I headed to the CARA Compound at the Hilton. (Yet another perk of training with CARA. A warm place to gather and REAL restrooms are the bees knees.) I met my favorite running buddies, peed about 20 times (TMI?) and then we were off!
The last few minutes before race start sparked some intense emotions. I couldn’t decide whether to jump up and down from the excitement or pass out from the nerves. Fortunately, I regained my sanity after crossing the start line (some may beg to differ…) At the beginning of every race, I can’t stop smiling. (There’s something to be said for doing what makes you happy, right?!) A fellow runner sensed my excitement and ran towards me. She told me that she had run 30+ marathons and that the one thing she learned is to take it all in. Admire the neighborhoods, high-five the little kids. If people ask you what your time was, you just smile and tell them you had fun. I believe she’s part of the reason I had a great race. Thanks, little running angel.
I won’t bore you with the mile-by-mile details, but here are some highlights:
- Miles 1 – 10: The glory miles. I felt awesome and was averaging a 10:20 pace. I ran with a friend who has lived in the city for many years, and he so kindly pointed out each neighborhood as we passed through. (Thanks, Jeff!) Boystown is one of my favorite spots in this stretch. Love the fun entertainment!
- Miles 11 – 15: The ‘holy crap! I still feel okay!’ miles: This part of the race was still enjoyable. I passed the half-marathon point under my goal time and still felt pretty darn good.
- Miles 16 – 20: The dark ages, part 1: The crowd was thin and the roads were quiet. It was during these miles I began to question why I had signed up for such torture a second time.
- Miles 21 – 22: CHINATOWN: This is second to Boystown on my neighborhood love list. Cheering crowds and dragons, oh my! The energy of this area gave me the little boost I needed.
- Miles 23 – 24: The dark ages, part 2: My leg hurts. I think I have a stomach cramp. I’ll just walk through the water stop, and the next one. You get the point…
- Miles 25 – 26.2: The ‘let’s get this sh*t over with!’ miles: By the grace of the Running God’s, I ran into my good friend at mile 25. We had lost each other for the majority of the race but were able to finish together. We encouraged one another to tough it out. It felt SO good to cross that finish line.
I finished the race with a time of 4:41. ONE minute away from my goal time. Until next year, Chicago Marathon…
After slowly exiting the race, I met my boyfriend who told me we had to meet my cousin and mom…in Millennium Park. Now, that would be great on any other day besides that I HAD JUST RUN 26 MILES and was starting to get hangry. All I could think about was lunch, which apparently worked to his advantage. Once we made it to Millennium Park, he insisted we head to the bean. ‘Really, now you’re making me climb stairs?’ When we finally ran into my cousin and mom, I noticed my cousin had her video camera. I thought, ‘Wow! she must really be excited that I just ran a marathon.’ So clueless. She then asked to take our picture by the bean. As I started to walk away, I was pulled back to see my fiancé on one knee. These pictures tell the story much better than me. Photo cred to my wonderful cousin, Erin.
Thanks for reading! XO