As it gets closer to race day, I get more and more excited about running the Chicago Marathon again. Last year this race rocked my world and I can’t wait to go back! I’ve been Thinking Out Loud lately about all the excitement from last year and my new goals to #ownchicago.
The Chicago Marathon brings everything together for the most perfect race experience. This is what you can expect from marathon weekend in the Windy City.
Not the bad kind either. Everyone and anyone will be shouting your name and encouraging you. I’ve had this happen at other races, but the folks in Chicago really make this happen. It’s like the entire city holds a meeting to make sure everyone knows the importance of this aspect of the race. Be sure to have your name on your shirt if you’re running because it won’t be on your bib.
The course is taped with a highlighter shade of baby blue. You’ll see it down the middle of every street on the course. Embrace the blue line and stick close to it. I thought I stuck really close to it last year, but still managed to run 28.45 miles…yea, run the tangents as best as you can estimate them so you are only running the exact distance (or close to). When you see the blue line while sightseeing on the days before the race it is another reminder of what’s to come.
Don’t Trust the Half Mark
I think this is true with most races, but especially on this course because it’s so fast. The crowds are thickest up to the half point and towards the last miles. Don’t get me wrong there is crowd support everywhere on the course, but the first half of the course will click off really quickly. It’s easy to get caught up in the energy and push a little harder than you probably ought to because of the crowds and the course, but don’t trust it.
The energy will change and the crowds will thin out a bit, so hold tight after the half mark until you are through all those miles. I received this advice last year about the course and it made all the difference. I knew that my mind was lying to me when I got to the half mark and it helped me rock my race.
Finish Line Beer
Some races offer beer at the finish, but the Chicago Marathon doesn’t play around. As soon as you cross the finish line, someone calls your name you are basically handed a beer. I’m talking maybe a couple yards after. It’s a nice perk if you are into that sorta thing!
You can’t even imagine the expo that awaits you for this race. Nike is the official sponsor of the race, but that doesn’t stop everyone else from designing the coolest swag and offering it at the expo. I didn’t realize this until I had basically bought all the things, but I know now to hold out and check out everything before buying everything up. All the big shoe companies will be represented but other companies will have a huge showing too.
I’ve ran a lot of different types of races, but this race gives me all the feels. The energy of the city on the days leading up to the race and the days after almost match the day of the actual race. The city becomes electric and it’s as if everyone in the entire city embraces all the runners for this particular event in a way that you can’t comprehend. I know other cities know how to do it, but the folks in Chicago go the extra mile (pun intended).
Have you ran the Chicago Marathon?
What do you look forward to on race day?