i did it!

sorry it’s been so long – i’ve been enjoying the lull of post-marathoning haha.  so let me try to begin to recap the whole experience.  needless to say in the 48 hours leading up to the marathon, i was getting beyond anzy – i was just ready for it to be over!!  all this talk, all this training, let’s just get this show on the road!

i was able to hit the expo early on friday to pick up my number, tshirt (which i got before they ran out!), and stock up on marathon paraphenalia in case this is the last one i ever do (gotta get the goods).  the expo was huuuuge!  it put disney and savannah to shame, and the organization was amazing.

after that it was a pretty uneventful weekend of drinking water, laying around, sleeping alot and eating a lot of carbs.  oh, and being worried that something mysterious would make me sick – like not cooking the pancakes well enough and ending up with tummy woes…  my charity sponsored a dinner in the south loop, but after fighting traffic because of the miami/notre dame game and not finding a parking spot, we trekked it back home and ate at our favorite neighborhood italian restaurant.  then…. it was the big day!

so it was cold (at least to my nc roots) the morning of… i was nervous about switching up my clothes, i mean… i hadn’t trained in pants and long sleeves – what if something rubbed the wrong way???? regardless, i woke up at 5:30ish and the bf was sweet enough to get up and drive me to the start line.  arriving around 6:15 with no gear to check, i just kinda wandered in the chilly dark.  as i headed towards the start corral, i heard a voice i recognized.  somehow, in the midst of >45k people, i bumped into someone i went to wake with!  spent the next 20 mins catching up, meeting his adorable wife, and feeling a little better about my choice to run 26.2 miles in less than an hour.

off to the corrals i went, and i started to look for my pace group.  i was looking forward to running with a larger group to keep me on track with my times and to hopefully avoid ‘the wall’ everyone talked about.  unfortunately, i was completely thrown that the charity corral i started with was actually ahead of my pace group.  i’d have to run on my own.  and then we were off –

i have to admit – i somewhat loved where i started, towards the back of the first wave.  yes, people flew past me, but it made things a lot less crowded.  now, on to the course…. my friend had warned me of this ‘pee tunnel’ that was within minutes of starting the race.  i just laughed, but it’s true.  i guess people couldnt hit the porta potty in time and just haaaaaaaaaad to go.  men were lined up against the wall relieving themselves.  glad i wasnt in the second wave!  to not fall victim to the pee tunnel, i actually stopped around mile 3 at the designated porta potties.  they didnt have a line, so it was a pretty quick pit stop.

it was definitely chilly at the start, and with starting in downtown, my gps was all kinds of messed up.  it had me running 9 minute miles, which absolutely terrified me knowing how far i had to go.  so, i had to stop relying on my gps and rely on the mile markers and back into my pace.  it actually worked – when i looked at my splits, i was pretty consistent across the race.  i started stopping for water and gatorades pretty early on – just in fear of the cramping, etc that was predicted to happen late in the race.

i have to say, the course was much less crowded than i thought it would be and the water stops were great.  the crowds were everywhere!  now onto some of the highlights of the race –

  • the signs… need i say more?? there have been plenty of photo albums compiling these, but some include – worst parade ever, i support crop dusting, smile if you peed a little, its okay to poop yourself, you get the jist
  • charity block – running through this excited and passionate group of volunteers was great
  • the neighborhoods – i saw parts of chicago i had never seen before, and probably some i wont go back to (no offense….).  the highlight had to be boystown with its male cheerleaders and oldtown with the elvis impersonator
  • fellow runners – there were a few costumes including a banana, wonderwoman, capt america and a police officer

to be honest, the race felt like it went by a lot quicker than i could have ever imagined.  before i knew it, i met up with my friend to run the last 6 together.  it was great!  i think running with her absolutely helped me to not hit the wall.  i never had that point where i wanted to stop, cry, scream or any of that – i just kept on chugging along – not quite sure how though…. 

when i made the last 2 turns coming into the finish, i actually still had enough left in me to up the pace and run a little harder to the finish.  after i finished i felt pretty good considering.  i was still walking, no blisters, no burns, and all my toenails – just a little hungry haha.  once that medal was around my neck, a banana and gatorade in hand, and running shoes replaced by uggs – it all just seemed surreal.  had i really just done that?  is it really over?  i did finish under my goal of 5 hours (i ran ~11 min pace) and finished at 4 hrs 40 mins.  my recovery method of choice – champagne, papa johns and ice packs.  i somehow managed to stay up til 10pm that night, and woke up to little soreness.

now to the bf – words couldnt begin to thank him enough for his support throughout this all – from biking over 30 miles to see me at multiple spots throughout the marathon, dropping me off at 6am for the start, suffering through the lame nights before or post long runs, picking me up on lakeshore when i was in tears after a long run gone bad, the training mood swings of good runs and bad runs, laundering my smelly clothes – i could have never done this without your support through the past 4 mths and i am entirely disappointed that we didnt get a picture together on marathon day. 

and now what?? well, im still trying to figure out what to do with this free time… i’ve cleaned, finished up that painting, baked and cooked lots, finished a book (more about that later), gotten busier with work, and trying to figure out the right amount of running to get back into.  i did sign up for a 10 miler in a month – the perfect 10 that will keep me motivated.  i read that most marathoners suffer the post-marathon blues and i absolutely understand that.  after giving up 4 months to train for this goal, accomplishing it, and no goals after – its like you feel a little lost, but im sure that wont last long!

here’s some pics from the day – enjoy!

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