I did it! After months of training and recapping, I finished the Chicago Marathon on Sunday.
I was nervous in the days ahead of the marathon because I did a lot of walking around the two days before and because I slipped in the shower and bruised my behind. I also had a stressful week at work and my life is about to be changed forever. In comparison the marathon seemed like it would be a piece of cake.
I awoke at 4 a.m. on Sunday and wavered on my outfit choice. I decided to stick with my plan to wear shorts and a tank despite it being in the 50s that morning. I wore sweats and a jacket over it as I traveled to Grant Park on the L. I headed to Gate 2, where I had to say goodbye to Graham. Only runners are allowed in the park before the race. I used the portable restroom again and walked directly to Corral J, which is Wave 2. I then waited for about an hour for my wave to finally start walking to the start line. Along the way I made friends with three women in my corral and we even got our photo taken together.
I started after 8 a.m. I immediately felt the bruising from my fall, but that eventually faded away. From the beginning I could tell this was going to be a special experience. The energy was beyond that of any other race I've done, and it really feels like the entire city has your back. Spectators cheer; dance; and give you ice, water, snacks, candy, Popsicles, and even beer. They hold funny signs and make you laugh. They shout inspiring messages as you pass. It's incredible.
My favorite neighborhoods to run through were Pilsen and Chinatown. The spectators there seemed a lot more enthusiastic and loud. It was just what I needed at that point (Miles 20-22ish).
I didn't track my pace at all, but I remained steady. I normally use the Map My Run app, but I turned it off before the halfway point because it malfunctioned and wasn't tracking my pace correctly. I didn't then to just finish and not worry about my time. I felt good throughout most of the race, but the last 2 miles were tough. My back was killing me at this point, and I was ready to be done. Funny how those last couple of miles seem longer than the rest of the race.
I ended at about 5:02, which is what I ran my first marathon in as well. I didn't improve my time despite not really walking, but I am still proud of how I did. It's one of my favorite races I've done so far. I highly recommend the Chicago Marathon!
Most popular signs:
- "I don't know about you, but I'm feeling 26.2."
- "Run like a clown is behind you."
- "You run better than the government."
- "If (a candidate, you guess) can run, so can you."
- "Run faster, I just farted."
- "Hurry up so we can eat." (or drink)