I have been sitting on this recap for almost a week now and everything has finally hit me. Make sure you check out the other parts of my recap here and here. I had an amazingly incredible race that in my eyes was nothing short of a miracle. I woke up around 5:20am and ate my oatmeal cup with almond butter first thing. I downed some water as well and tried to start my morning as normal as I would if it was just any other long run. I read Jen’s blog every morning before my run so I read her post over breakfast and then started on the body glide game. I always body glide the front of my toes, back of my heels and the areas where my sports bra sits. I usually body glide the inside of my thighs, but I forgot on race morning. My thighs were wonder thighs anyways, so it didn’t matter.
After getting all my gear on I left our hotel, the Palmer House and headed to the security checkpoint. I ran into a sorority sister and we walked together to the bridge. The security checkpoint isn’t anything crazy, get a wand over and bag check. I headed to the RMHC tent. RMHC is so awesome ya’ll! They offered a gear check, heat sheets, and had a full breakfast spread for us before the race. I thought it was so cool that they thought about everything, even offering different types of peanut butter. We all have a favorite. One of my sorority sisters and I were in the same corral so we headed to towards the start line. The weather was warmed than I had preferred, but it was okay. We didn’t cross the start line until almost 8:30am but it heated up pretty quickly. Of course I had to take a selfie in the corral.
I set the app on my phone before crossing the start line so I didn’t have to deal with it. I felt great right out of the gate even though my feet and legs were tired but wanted to focus on running my own race. No matter what race it is people are always rushing out too fast and then my sense of pace is out of wack. I kept telling myself to slow back even though it’s so painful to watch people pass by.
After the first mile I looked down at my watch and realized hat I was too fast. I wanted to negative split and go out with a 13-13:30 pace, but the first mile was at a 12 minute pace. The next part of the race was a blur for me except for the fact that I had to pee so bad. I stopped and waited for a portajohn around mile 3 or 4. The energy from the crowds at this race is like nothing I have ever experienced.
This middle part was a bit of a blur too, but I was really just trying to focus on running my race and maintain my pace. My big goal going into the race was to finish strong so I just kept working toward that goal with every mile. I knew my runtourage (my parents, sister and my Mr.) would be at mile 12 or 13 so I just kept thinking about seeing them. Looking back at my splits I don’t know how I didn’t realize I was running too fast. I felt great so my adrenaline must have taken over.
I saw my family at mile 12 and gave quick hugs. They even had cute signs. It was just the little pick me up. I felt incredible and the miles just kept flying by. I stopped at mile 16 for a potty break. The energy from the crowds and support was overwhelming so I didn’t listen to music at all until mile 19. I wanted to wait until mile 20, but needed a little boost.
Once I turned my music on I jammed out to Power of the Empire from the Empire Soundtrack and Fleetwood Mac’s Go Your Own Way. I basically listened to them on repeat for the next 6 miles. RMHC had a huge cheering section for us at mile 20. All the neighborhoods were so unique and different. I knew my family would be at mile 25 so I kept looking for them. My dad found me and started running with me until we caught up with everyone else. My sister decided she would run with me and she did for a half mile or so. The security folks noticed her and kicked her off the course right before 26.
I climbed the little hill, crossed the finish line and then it was over.
And just like that I did something that I didn’t think was possible. I ran a marathon and only walked through the aid stations. I finished strong and felt great! I took a gel 20 minutes before the start, mile 5, mile 8, mile 12, mile 15, and mile 19. I felt a little sick so I decided not to take the last gel. It was hot and I has tired but I kept running the entire time I didn’t let my mind tell me to walk or give up or stop pushing.
When I wasn’t taking a gel I was drinking a couple gulps of Gatorade followed by water. I was so worried about losing electrolytes and my face was covered in salty sweat. The heat did a number on me but I kept moving forward. I tried my darndest to stay right on the blue line as much as possible, but it became more and more difficult. After mile 17/18 everyone was walking 4-5 people across the course and it became challenging to pass people.
I felt like everyone was standing still and I was running past them. I never thought I would ever feel like I was capable of running a marathon and feeling strong through the whole thing. I was disappointed with my time but considering that I ran extra miles and went out too fast I think I did pretty damn good. My finish time wasn’t the 5:35 I had hoped for, but I am happy with the outcome.
Official finish time: 5:56
After the race I walked to the RMHC tent to meet up with my crew. That walk felt like it lasted forever. I was moving fine, but I was tired. The folks at RMHC know how to treat you right. There was a red carpet right in the tent and everyone told me congratulations and they had a bar for drinks. I didn’t feel like drinking much other than water. There was a whole bunch of food, but I wasn’t ready to eat anything.
Aren’t these the cutest little signs? My mom and sister worked hard on them and I love them. I ate a bit of food before we headed back to the hotel. I had a little pulled BBQ chicken and fruit.
We walked back to the hotel and I had one mission: ice bath. This training cycle has made me love ice baths. I even look forward to them. The Mr. got me ice from the hotel ice machine while I ran a bath. I wrote finish strong on my hand the morning of the race to serve as a reminder and it did just that. Every time I looked at my watch I was reminded of my end goal.
We had a little down time before our dinner reservations. We headed to Atwood and immediately ordered cocktails. I had the Beautiful Sight cocktail. It was a combination of vodka, raspberry-thyme-pink peppercorn syrup, fresh lemon & cava. It was pink, tart and perfectly delicious. I ordered the braised chicken served with succotash and heirloom tomatoes. Everything was served over a smoky sauce. The Mr. ordered salmon served with squash and potatoes.
The people at Atwood were so kind and even comped my meal because of the marathon. I even wore my medal to dinner. After all the rushing around and running around literally it was so nice to sit down to a nice meal. I love a good burger and fries, but this was an incredible post race meal.
The Chicago Marathon taught me so much about myself and was so good to me. I have already decided I am going back.
Have you ran Chicago?
Have you ran any of the Abbott Marathon Majors?