The Chicago Marathon was almost a month ago, but it seems like just yesterday. I want to start with the finish of this race. This picture sums up EVERYTHING I loved about this race: I ran for an amazing team, the city and course are beautiful and the volunteers & the ENTIRE Chicago community was amazing. Just amazing. I mean, are they more happy or am I in this picture?!
Chicago was my 7th marathon, and a marathon I didn’t even think was going to happen. I have been recovering from injuries (and stress) all year so it was kind of a toss up if I’d even finish this race. I don’t really get nervous at races anymore, but I was getting sad as we were lining up at the start because I really didn’t want to let my team down. I ran for the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Team Momentum and I coached their San Diego team to run this race, so I have to admit I felt a little nervous about not finishing. Here I am with my fake “I’ll be alright” smile. Cory couldn’t go any further than here so we stopped to take a quick picture and he was off to go find a place to cheer. I went to line up and act like everything was fine.
At the start of the race I met up with a friend from Sacramento! At a race with 40,000 plus runners I couldn’t believe we found each other. We started together, but she left me within the first couple of miles. I wanted to run very conservatively so I was keeping around a 9:50-10 minute pace. I was already hungry by mile 3 where I first saw Cory (which made me nervous). Here I am reaching for a bar he had for me. Don’t I take such great race pics?
Now, I wanted to take a lot of pictures during the race, but I didn’t. I was too busy looking at the city, taking it all in and falling more in love with Chicago with every step I ran. Seriously you guys. Sign up for the Chicago Marathon. We all know that CIM has a special place in my heart but Chicago is my new favorite marathon. There is a feeling in the air that I can’t even describe – just know as I type this I have a huge smile on my face as I remember how I happy I was there.
Mile 13. I was telling Cory how great I felt but that I needed my electrolyte tabs…but I forgot them. I always forget something! It was at this point that I knew I was going to finish this race, and that made me happy as fuck. As a member of Team MDA we had our names on our shirts and everyone was yelling my name and cheering for me. They were giving me high fives and telling me thank you for running…ahhh! Chicagoans are so supportive of us runners. Having 2 million (YES! 2 million!) people cheering you on really helps to keep you going.
Another thing I loved was that you were always with a ton of other runners. This was about mile 16(??) and I was still with a large group of runners. Ps – check out the trees. Oh, how I miss seeing tree lined streets! Another reason I love Chicago.
Around mile 18 or 19 I met up with my teammate, Andrew. Unfortunately, his back was painful and he wasn’t running the race he had planned. Which sucks, but it happens to all of us at some point. Since I was there for fun, and he is my teammate I stuck with him and we finished the race together. We ran and walked and talked about running…I was trying to do what I could to keep his mind off the pain and to keep him going. His brother has Muscular Dystrophy and he kept telling me no matter what he was going to finish the race; he had to for his brother. This is why I loved running for MDA. Having a team to run with, having them come up and hug you or pat you on the back as they ran by, or stop to make sure you’re doing okay – that is something I have never experienced and it made this race so much more special.
Andrew and I finished the race together and I couldn’t have been more happy to finish with a friend and fellow MDA Team member!
Post race. We took pictures, ate food, stretched…all the things you do post race. You know I am stinky AF post race, but Cory is such a good boyfriend that he still takes pictures with his arms around me. That’s love.
Chicago is a beautiful city. I loved the people, the food, the art, the buildings, the history…I loved it all. I may have mentioned this in the first post but as soon as we stepped off the plane I thought, I could live here. I told Cory we should move there and he basically told me to calm down – we had only been there for 4 days and I probably wouldn’t survive a Chicago Winter. I still say I’d love to live there. Chicago has soul and I connected with it.
I will definitley be back to visit and do everything I didn’t get a chance to do while we were there. There is a good chance I will run this race again, but I am also hesitant to sign up again because this race was so special that I kinda don’t want to remember the Chicago Marathon any other way. We’ll see.