Let me just start by saying that I’m so thankful for this race experience and that my heart is still so full.
Race morning went off without a hitch. I woke up around 5:50am, braided my hair, laced up my Hoka Cliftons, drank a bottle of Nuun lemon lime, ate a Picky Bar, threw on my RMHC shirt and walked to the RMHC tent.
When I got there I found my sorority sisters, sat down and just tried to relax. I wasn’t feeling nervous, but I knew what I had to do. Remember my race goals? I held true to them until mile 17 ish.
I was thankful to have other sisters in my corral so we got to talk and get to know each other while we waited for the start. We were in the very back of the last wave. I didn’t really plan for it, but I think it helped me achieve a slower start.
We were off and I really had to force myself to pace back. I didn’t want to go out too fast and I wanted to mental focus on the work I had to do.
The first couple miles clicked off really fast then I pulled off around mile 6 to use the portajohn and fill up my bottle to mix my tailwind.
I got back on course and was feeling great. My paces were where I wanted them to be, my legs and feet were feeling fine and my heart wasn’t working too hard.
I soon caught back up with the two girls I started the race with. It was nice to chat and watch the miles click off. We got the half way point and I was still feeling awesome. I was in a rhythm and felt like my goal was still within reach.
At this point, I noticed that I was running farther than the mile markers on the course even though I was really doing my best to stick to the blue line at all times. This is typical for a big race, but I didn’t think it through when I set my time goal. I kept on moving though.
Around mile 17/18 I started to feel horrible, like incredibly bad. My stomach was cramping, I was experiencing debilitating back pain and was so fatigued. I’ve never experienced anything like this in a training run or a race. I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling so miserable.
I had been fueling with tailwind and dried mango slices like I had practiced all summer, but I was feeling horrible. I contemplated trying to make myself vomit, but worried that the act of heaving might make me feel worse.
Miles 18-25 were a blur. I downed one cup of water at each aid station along the way in hopes that I would feel better by flushing whatever was making me sick or ensuring I wouldn’t dry heave if I did need to throw up. Gross, I know.
I had to take 30 second walk breaks a couple times during each mile to feel better. Once all this happened I quickly realized that my 5:20 and 5:30 goals were not going to happen.
I questioned why I was doing this to myself, why I felt so horrible, cried a little and wanted to quit. Even though I entertained the idea of quitting I knew I would never do that. I needed to make all those training runs matter.
In between all the walk breaks, my paces were still good. I was running really well for how atrocious I felt and I was proud of that.
Around mile 25 I started to feel a little better and decided to continue with 30 second walk breaks whenever I felt like I was going to vomit and power through it. At this point I wanted to finish before 5:40.
When I saw Mount Roosevelt, I knew I had done it and ran up that “hill” so fast. I rounded the corner and busted my hump to get to the finish in time to hit my goal.
Official time: 5:38:32 🙂
I was so disappointed that I didn’t hit my A or B goals, but then I remembered that I still pulled out a PR in the worse conditions. I pulled out an 18 minute PR!
I met the Mr. at the RMHC tent, ate a hamburger and tried to stay in good spirits. I was so bummed that it wasn’t the race I had envisioned, but still so proud that I fought through everything to finish like I did.
After we got back to the hotel, I began evaluating my race and I think was severely dehydrated. I also think this is why I started feeling better around mile 25 because I had drank a lot of water between mile 18-25.
I think I really underestimated my work output versus what I was putting back into my body. It’s such a novice mistake and I know better, but sometimes these things get away from us in the moment.
All in all, Chicago is everything you train for. The crowds are incredible, the course is flat and fast and the weather was perfect.
Post race, the Mr. and I ate steaks and huge double cheddar stuffed baked potatoes 🙂