The Chicago marathon was by far the most fun race I’ve ever ran in my running life!! But let me start from the beginning.
Being back in Chicago is always a great experience but for any of you that know my hubby realize that every return trip makes him reminisce about moving us back to the windy cold city! And although I miss the true city vibes, the restaurants and the lake..um, no it’s too cold!
I heard that Chicago was the race to PR but I knew there would be little chance of that with me having plantar fasciitis and a heel spur that slowed me down even during training. Even still my goal was to finish in 4:30.
Race morning came quick and after weeks of icing, aggressive stretching and sleeping in a boot, my foot felt pretty good. So I was ready to run and the kids and Chris were beyond excited! We met up with my ATC buddies, wished each other well and departed to our start corrals..I was in G.
Due to tight security measures, our families could not be at the start or finish lines so this made for a much different experience than DC.
I met several characters in my corral! One guy had run a 50 mile ultra the week prior and was running the MCM the following week..ambitious! Another lady was running her 1st marathon because someone gave her their bib. She hadn’t trained at all and said she hoped to finish..cray-cray. And yet another lady couldn’t stop talking to everyone about any and everything!! lol!
Then the 26.2 mile road race began in corral G. It was chilly and my toes and fingers were like ice for the first couple miles. Again I was surprised to see men using the bathroom (on a wall this time) within the 1st mile!! Then a lady fell out before we even completed mile 1..she went down hard and I felt so bad for her. Can you imagine..4 months of training, pure excitement on race morning only to go down & crawl over to what appears to be the end of your marathon experience?
But I kept moving..it was a gorgeous day outside and the participants were hilarious. Everyone was happy and chatty too! I held a conversation about my form with a guy in mile 9 and had to finally tell him I don’t talk when I run that far..geesh! Thankfully, he was understanding.
We ran thru 29 neighborhoods and all of them were crazy fun!! We saw Elvis, a transvestite dance show, an ROTC group performing a gun show to blurred lines and so much more!! We ran thru tailgates, drummers, awesome bands, China Town, Old Town and a Mexican town that took you straight to Cancun!! The roar of the crowd and music was unbelievable!! I didn’t even need my iPod because I couldn’t hear it anyway.
I was feeling great and enjoying every minute of my run! The first 10 miles were awesome! Then I started noticing a mile marker & clock at every single mile. Mentally that was tough for me. I didn’t want to see mile 10, 11, 12, 13..please skip a few so I can guess!
Then came mile 15. I don’t know what happened but for some reason my legs turned to lead and I completely lost my rhythm! I tried my best to pick up my speed but I’m not sure what happened..I just couldn’t recover. I even laughed at one point because I felt like I was watching myself run in slow motion!! My feet were dragging so much from the heaviness that I was that person kicking the cups in everyone’s path at the water stations..lol! I can’t tell you how many times I said sorry!
I’ve heard that your body loses all it’s glycogen when your legs get heavy like that..and glycogen is produced by carbs, hence the reason for “carb loading” the day before a long run. But the funny thing is..this is one of very few times I actually carb loaded before a long run! Go figure!
Anywho, mile 18 and I swear it felt like I lost my toenail!! My toe was throbbing and then it felt like it caught fire right in my shoe!! Make it to the end Donna..it’ll go numb soon (and thankfully it did).
Then around mile 20 the 4:30 pace group pass me. They were full of energy and spunk and I was barely making it so it was at that moment I knew I wouldn’t reach my finish time goal. I thought too that I need to pace myself better because last year the 4:15 pacers past me around the same mile marker! That makes me think I was moving a little too fast in the beginning..oh well, lesson learned, keep moving Donna!
Mile 21 and the crowd grew even thicker! At certain points there were so many people cheering that it appeared to be very little room for the runners to get thru! But again, the cheering was amazing! Mile 24 and I was done with the running..2 more miles? OMG this is nuts Donna! But you’ve got this..focus girl!
Mile 26 I saw a slight incline and then the sign said 800 meters to go! So I envisioned myself in CrossFit following Eva & Ron to get up that hill. Then at 400 meters, I heard Lauren say this is a sprint not a jog!! My response: not today Lauren..legs are done! Then 200, then 100..and finally I crossed the finish! Woo Hoo!!
I missed seeing my family at the finish line and we had to search for each other for about 45 minutes but I can’t tell you the elation I felt when we finally reunited and I was able to share my victory with my honey, my kids and some of the best friends a girl could ask for, David & Yogi Love!
So after 4 months of training with the most dedicated, committed and inspirational women I know: Djenaba, Lynn and Eva..I want to say a huge THANK YOU for another wonderful journey & a great push! I cannot tell you how important it is to have running buddies that are there with you every step of the way during this type of intense training! They saw my tears from my injury in those final weeks and they stood by me, checked on me and supported me 110%. I love you ladies!!
To Andrea and Rubi, y’all got me into this marathon #2 when I said I was done with the 26.2 mile road race so I have to thank you too for the push. #rollingmyeyes Congrats to you and welcome to the marathon club!! Woot-Woot!
To my husband and my biggest and best supporter ever..words cannot express the gratitude I feel! He even trained with me this time around. 🙂 And he was another push for me to run Chicago because he considers Chitown home!
My kids, my Chica’s, my family and all my supporters, I thank you thank you thank you!! You make me feel like a rock star during my races and give me the words of encouragement that keep me going!
My Chicago marathon is in the books at 4:39:15 and I have my 2 Chainz!! 🙂
Check out this Picasa album – Chicago Marathon 2013!!.