2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Race Recap

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I woke up before my alarm at 4am, stretched in bed for a bit, and got up.  I was waiting for this day for a long time.  So much training and preparation lead to this day.  The big unanswered question, would be answered, in just a few hours.

Going into this, my first marathon, I can not believe how much anxiety I had.  I completed an awesome 20 mile training run, got the majority of my miles in – but this huge beast of 26.2 miles, 6.2 further than I have ever gone before.  Those 6.2 are a race in itself. Could I do it?

I had my typical pre-race breakfast of protein powder and Chobani yogurt.  In addition, I had some gluten-free oatmeal and raspberries.  It took me about 30 minutes to get ready.  As I was finishing up, I noticed the bottles that my homemade Gu type mixture of honey, molasses and salt were in, were not connecting into my sports belt.  Seriously!  I used the iFitness bottles, not the Amphibod bottles, and I had the Amphipod belt. Panic kind of set in until I spied my trusty Lululemon hand water bottle that I always carry.  Simple, I would just get water on the course and pour my Gu mixture into the bottle.  Thank goodness that was an easy fix!

The lobby of the Hyatt McCormick place was pretty empty at 5am when I got down.  By the time I waited 10 minutes for a bus, it was filling up pretty good.  From what I can tell, the bus dropped us off somewhere on Roosevelt St. or perhaps a road south of it.  None the less, it was quite the long and complicated walk to try to find the Balbo Hospitality Tent.  I met another runner along the way who was also looking for it, and after walking through the finish area on Columbus Dr., we finally arrived.

I was supposed to be in the Team in Training tent, but once I realized I bought the Balbo tickets, the prospect of an after race massage convinced me to make Balbo my home base.  This meant that it would be hard to hook up with my BFF, Amy, who was also running for TNT.  Granted we were in the same Corral E, but what are the chances especially since she does not race with her phone.

It was right under 40F outside, so the warmth of the tent was a welcome change after wandering for what felt like forever.  I checked my gear and settled in to relax. Soon I spotted Leah and Malinda in the tent – they are twins who run together and raise money for Alex’s Lemonade for fighting childhood cancer.  I have seen their tweets, so it was cool to meet them in person.  Before we knew it, it was time to get escorted to the starting corral.

I arrived at Corral E and made my way to the middle.  I texted a bit, took some Instagram photos and checked Facebook.

I couldn’t believe when I heard my name called! Amy found me!  Up until that point, she couldn’t find anyone from TNT but she found me! Yea! I have seen my BFF Amy before 2 of my last 3 races!!!

Before we knew it, it was time to start.  We made our way to the starting line and said our good byes.  I can’t keep up with her! She is a ROCKSTAR when it comes to speed!

As soon as we took off, we headed into an underground area.  Seems that messed everyone’s GPS up.  My Garmin was reading all sorts of funky paces, so I just ran how I felt and managed to keep my pace around 12 min/mile.  That was my goal pace for this race.  Being my first, it was not about speed.  My goal was to finish and feel great when I finished.

It was still very chilly the first few miles as we headed North.  I kept my coat and gloves on until around mile 9.  Crowd support was amazing, by now my pace was closer to 11:30, but that was fine.  I ran my 20 miler around 10:45 so I knew I was good.

I felt good, I was enjoying myself but the miles started to get long right around mile 11.  I was sore.  No clue why I was sore, other than getting sick during the taper might have messed me up a bit as I was not able to run as much as I wanted to.  I kept at it.  It was not bad, just par for the course.

At the half-marathon point my time was 2:37.  Much slower pace that I would run a half at, but once again, my goal was to finish and feel good.  I remember wishing I was done at that point, LOVE the half distance and this race confirmed it is my favorite.

There was not one mile of this course that did not have huge crowd support.  It was incredible.  The crowds and the volunteers really helped make this race incredible.  At at least every mile, someone was shouting my name and cheering me on!

As the miles ticked on, I was still sore but keeping a consistent pace.  I stopped a few times for bathroom breaks (4 total which added 20 minutes or so), I ate some raisins and applesauce and I ran.

Right around mile 22, I took my last bathroom break.  I remember after that the road seemed really uneven and I missed a step.  I didn’t connect the links until after the race, but the bottom of my right foot started to hurt. Like really hurt, sharp pains each time I landed on my forefoot.  Everything else hurt, granted but this was something different.  I knew I was hurt, I knew I had 2 or 3 miles to go.

I instantly decided to power walk.  Yep, like a fast mall walker.  I shifted all my weight on my heel when I landed on my right foot and swung my arms to help propel me.

This really helped the pain and did wonders for my spirits too.  I was able to pay attention to my surroundings.  I could look around, experience the enormity of the city, of the people around me.  They all had the same dreams and goals, to get across that line!  I felt incredible, so alive as I walked down Michigan Ave. past the stores and crowds.

Before I knew it, I was in the finishers chute!  Really!  I am doing this!  I remember thinking “I’m now a Marathoner!!!”

As I crossed that line, I was so proud!  I entered the finish area and got my medal!  My question was answered.  I had what it took mentally to cross that line and get the distance done.

Running a marathon, and truthfully a 5K too, is so much mental in addition to physical. Your body is capable, but it is your mind that can hold you back.  You have to take ownership of your thoughts, feelings and channel them so they are positive.

Once I got my medal, all I could think about was a massage.  One more stop for a finisher photo too!

Final Time 5:30:29

Felt Awesome = Goal Accomplished

I managed to get a hold of Hubby on my way back to the Balbo tent.  Bless his heart, he was out there with the kids since 9am waiting for me!  But, Mama needed a massage.  It felt so good to be stretched after running!  I fully enjoyed my massage, even though I had much difficulty in flipping over and getting off the table after, lol.  I exited the tent and walked towards the end of the finisher chute.  As I exited the secure area, I started to look for my family.

I heard “MAMA!!”  Baby Girl spotted my purple Brooks Pure Cadence with my SweatPink laces!  Yea! Everyone gave me a huge hug and was so excited to see my medal!  It still didn’t really register that I hurt my foot, so we headed to the Nike store to get my medal engraved and to buy some finisher gear.  Hubby managed to get us a ride there on the back of one of those bikes.  The guy wanted $50 when we got off though… UM!! Really, you drove us a mile.  Hubby gave him $30, which was MORE than generous as the kids were standing there and he didn’t want a problem.  We then walked away and into the Nike Store.

I got my medal engraved, a zip-up pull over, a training long sleeve shirt and a tee!  We hopped a cab back to the Hyatt ($20 with tip, BTW) but he couldn’t get us to the front entrance due to street closures.  We ended up walking 3-4 blocks.  At this point, I started shivering and realized my foot hurt.  Hubby offered to carry me, but I hobbled on.  I awoke to this on Monday morning.

My right foot was REALLY swollen and hurt.  I kinda realized Sunday night, but think I was so excited from finishing it didn’t really register.  We drove home Monday and I went to a Podatrist on Tuesday – no breaks, just a bad sprain.  Nothing like finishing a Marathon with a sprained foot!

I’m so proud to say I did it! Even prouder to say Amy got what she wanted, an under 4 hour marathon!  Congrats, girl!

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