Race recap: Chicago Marathon

The last month has been absolutely crazy- traveling, work events, moving… and to top that list: running the Chicago Marathon. Post-marathon I needed a few weeks to decompress, so hence the delay on this race recap.

Friday

I work for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, so even though I already had a lottery entry for the marathon, I decided to run for Finish MS (you can still donate through 10/31 here!). Friday night we had a pasta party with everyone on the team and it was so great to meet fellow runners! I loved hearing the inspiring stories of why people chose to run for the MS Society, learning tips from experienced marathoners and sharing nerves with first-timers like me!

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The Expo

The Expo was craziness (in a good way)! Ashlyn and I got there about an hour after it opened and the streams of people coming into the McCormick Place seemed endless. The actual packet pickup process was super quick so we explored the different vendors. I bought a sweet Sweaty Band that I ended up wearing on Sunday!

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The Marathon

I’m SO glad I live in the city now – it made race morning that much easier! A quick Uber ride (though, that surge price wasn’t fun) and I was at Grant Park.

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Ready to run!

Ashlyn and I got there a tad early, but we wanted to make sure we got to our appropriate corral with plenty of time. Due to recent events, large gatherings of people make me a little nervous, but I felt very safe with all of the added security!

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We even had time to have a little fun in our corral.

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Me: Let’s jump! Ashlyn: DON’T HURT YOURSELF!

Course Highlights

I was so lucky that I had a ton of family and friends stationed throughout the course! I never went more than a mile or two without seeing a friendly face.

Running through Lincoln Park and Lakeview was great. I loved running through the actual park and seeing all the beautiful homes along the way. I had been told Boystown was a party, but it really was!! I tried to take a selfie with a drag queen but it didn’t work out- I’m not very coordinated when it comes to running and trying to multitask.

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I felt amazing for the first 13 miles! Ashlyn and I were making excellent time. Honestly, if it was a half marathon I would’ve PR’d.

And then it started to get hot. I started to cramp up and I began to battle negative thoughts.

Mile 14 was right where my hips started to hurt and I thought “well F***. I’ve only ran half this thing.” But mile 14 is also Charity Mile so I felt some encouragement when I ran past the Finish MS tent and saw my coworkers cheering!

Mile 16 was tough. My arms had started to chafe and luckily my mom was there and could lather me up with some anti-chafe cream.

At mile 18, I wanted to quit. I was so tired and it was hot and my hips hurt SO BAD. I saw my brother and I ran up to him crying saying I just need a hug. Right after that I ran through Pilsen. There was a restaurant handing out “shots” of beer. I definitely took one. #sorrynotsorry

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Looking a tad tired.

When I got to mile 21 I was discouraged because I could see my goal time of 5:30 slipping away. I’m thankful I could get some Advil from my mom because there’s no way my hip pain would’ve subsided without it. Running through Chinatown was awesome, though!

The last 3 miles were really difficult. You’re on Michigan Avenue for what seems like forever and it was hot and I ended up walking. I had a blister on my foot and just wanted to finish. I’m glad I listened to advice and wrote my name on my bib… it was so encouraging to hear people cheer me on!

When I got to Mile 26, I decided I was going to run the last 0.2. Won’t Back Down by Tom Petty (RIP) was playing and it gave me that final push to make it to the end!

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Finish line selfie. Tears from exhaustion and pride.

Post-Run

After the run, I hobbled back to meet my family. We decided to go to Piece Pizza for a post-race meal of pizza and beer. Definitely a happy camper. I live about a 1/2 mile from there and instead of Ubering home, I insisted on walking because I wanted to hit 60,000 steps!!

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Thoughts on 26.2

I am incredibly proud of my first marathon. While I’m not saying it’ll be my only 26.2, it’s definitely going to be a solo feat for a while. I’ll stick with half marathons for now, thanks very much.

Running a marathon has been a goal of mine since I was 16. The week leading up to the marathon was really emotional- I teared up just thinking about it! I had spent 6 months training intensely- the most intensely I’ve ever trained for a race. I ran my 300th mile as I crossed the finish line. THREE HUNDRED MILES SINCE JANUARY 1st!! That’s the distance between Chicago and St. Louis…

I finished in just over 6 hours. While at first I was disappointed I didn’t hit my goal, that disappointment quickly went away. I ran a freaking marathon.

I never thought I’d be a runner, let alone a marathoner, but I’ve learned never to say never.

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Just another 20-something trying to figure out this whole adulting thing.

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