I know, I know this is days late, but here is my race recap for my first Chicago Marathon.
It is weird to call it my first Chicago since i have been watching my mother run it every year since I was in 1st grade. But watching it, is nothing like running it. Sure, as a spectator I saw the crowds of people clumped together like cattle at the start, and by the end of the mile 24 the “get me to the frickin finish” look posted on people’s face, but being part of it was so much more.
But before I start on my race, let me tell you the second best part of my weekend:
I love love love Scott Jurek. It totally made my day to meet and talk to him and get two, not one, things signed by him!!
so now the race:
I stuck in my clump pretty much the entire time. I feel like I do better when I stay with a pace group and have a set time in my mind. So, I started right behind the 3:35 pace group, a time at the start of the race I really was not sure I could do.
We started off at a good pace, I think averaging close to a 8:20 for the first couple of miles. By the half-marathon I had settled in pace right with the 3:35 group and was feeling good. I had no problems during the race, except for some stomach issues which I think was caused by my amateur mistake of not going to the bathroom a second time right before the race. I was feeling that all race! I even negotiated how much time it would take to stop and find a bathroom but I couldn’t bring myself to do it, did not want to fall behind my pacers. So, on I went.
By mile 20 i think I had dropped to a 8:11 pace, which caused my mom and dad to miss me at mile 17 and then almost miss me at 20! By this time i think I was ahead of the pace group, and I kept telling myself not to let them get me. Here comes my competitive personality comes out. At mile 20 I was feeling ok, but of course 19-22 were the toughest. They were also in the glaring sun and all I could do was check every road sign looking for Michigan. Ya, those miles took a long time…
At mile 25 my mom finally jumped in and kicked my butt to the finish. By this point I dropped my pace again to 8:07 and was flying! Don’t ask me how, I have no idea! I just wanted to get done without the close-to-hear them talking pacers catching me. My mom was dodging through people, telling me to stay right on her heels as she went each person. Glaring at her, I reluctantly sped up and finally made it to the last hill. Her exit of the race is funny, ending with her being escorted to the med tent and lying her way through two police officers before being letting go.
I finished the race at 3:33.36. I qualified for Boston 2015 and I am still not completely sure it really happened. Before sitting down to right this blog, I was thinking about why it had taken me this long to write it. Yes I have had two papers due and a midterm, but I could have made time. But something kept me from doing it. I think because now it is actually real. I did really run, drop 11 minutes, qualify for a race I was not expecting to be part of for many years, and can call myself a Chicago Marathoner. I have the jacket to prove it. Even after the race, with my mom repeating “8:07” pace over and over, it still did not seem real. Thinking back on the race, I had no idea how fast I was moving and had no idea what my body could do. Thinking over each mile, this race has opened my eyes to, well me. I am a runner. Never in that race did I wish I was done, (well ok maybe at 24 i did) but I was never in serious pain or trouble. I enjoyed every minute of the race because it was me and me only.
I surprised myself, my mom, and my friends watching. Did I think I could go that fast? Maybe deep, deep down I knew what i was capable of, but my mind said “you just ran a 50 miler 4 weeks ago!” “just have fun and don’t try to kill yourself” and etc, put up the wall in my head.
The Chicago Marathon was not just my first Chicago and a fast marathon to put in my book. It is was me, breaking down mental barriers and taking a “surprise” finish to what I knew I could do all along.