Before I start this long post about my weekend, I just need to tell Ryan how appreciative I am for allowing my to train for this race, and take care of the kids all weekend. He is amazing!
I took off Friday and headed to the windy city to meet up with my great friends from back home in Minnesota! Oh it was so good to see them again!
We met up and went to dinner, then loaded up on pre-race food. Ya know, bananas, chocolate milk, Ibuprofen, the works.
We stayed at the W Hotel right off Lake Shore Drive. The Hotel was amazing, and being on the 32 floor, I had a great view from my room.
View of Navy Pier from my floor:
Saturday we went on a little shake out run to get ready for the big race. It felt so good to run with these people again! No books on tape for me this run!
We took a few moments for some photo-ops along our run.
I showered up, and then did a little window shopping on Michigan Ave, before heading down to the EXPO to get my bib. I seriously couldn't believe how many people were running this thing! Over 52,000 had signed up. Just amazing!
We all met up for our Carbo loading dinner. I don't think the hotel quite knew how to prepare for marathon runners...
While it was very delicious, the noodles had a kick to them. Good thing spicy doesn't affect me. Hopefully it didn't throw anyone elses game off....
Then it was time to prepare. I headed back to my room, layed out all my gear, and tried to get a good nights sleep!
The weather couldn't have been better for a marathon! We seriously lucked out! The energy was just amazing, among the runners and the crowds. I woke up slightly head-achy, but nothing was stopping me!
I felt pretty good right out of the gate. Settled into a pretty comfortable pace and held it pretty well.
I had been struggling with a shin injury the last month or so, and I just pushed it out of my mind. But who would have thought an almost 2 year old injury would creep up on me at mile 5?! Seriously...
I knew from that moment on this was going to be one big mental race, and I needed to dig deep to get through the next 21 miles.
I started to get worried at about 9 and 10 miles, thinking, this just might not be my day, but pushed through. By the half way mark my knee started to just go numb so I kept on trucking.
At this point I was holding a 8 min/mile pace.
Around mile 16 my calf/shin started acting up, so every so often I would quickly pull off and stretch it out so I could keep on going.
At mile 20 I was at about a 8:05 pace average, and still felt pretty confident that Boston was within my grasp. But then my quads locked up, and my legs felt like bricks! Holy cow, I have never experienced anything like that! At about mile 22, the 3:35 pacer had caught up to me, and I just knew that this wasn't going to be my Boston race. I hung for about a half mile, came to terms that it just wasn't in the cards for me, and watched as they pulled fruther ahead.
I knew I was still going to have a huge PR and I hung onto that thought to get me through the last couple miles. About a half mile from the finish, there was a slight up hill over an overpass, and if any of you have run a marathon, regardless the size of the hill, that is just torture. On any regular day, you wouldn't even bat an eye at this little hill. But at that moment it seemed like a mountain!
I had so many emotions as I crossed the finish line. Relief, happiness, a little disappointment with missing a BQ by four minutes, but overall I am so thrilled that despite all the injuries I was running with, I still PR'd by over 16 minutes.
Official stats of the race:
237/3092 Age Group
1171/16710 Overall Female
5922/ 37355 Overall
I am pretty thrilled overall with the race. Sometimes you just never know when things aren't going to go your way. Who knew an old injury would come back to plague me?! But I dealt with it and did the best I could do given the circumstances.
You better believe 4 minutes shy of a Boston Qualifying run, that another marathon is in my future... but I am ready for a break!
As we were walking back to the hotel( a whole mile to be exact, not something that sounds at all fun after running for so long!) I noticed that my toe hurt...
Seriously the biggest blister of my life! It doubled the size of my poor little toe!
After we all took HOT showers, we headed down to the hotel lobby for some celebration!
Deep dish pizza to be exact! And some nice Diet Coke. Yum.
The whole group ran great! Quite a few PR's. And some BQ's as well! These people are so inspiring!
Shout out to coach MB who ran a 2:39!
We also did some more walking, or hobbling down to the Nike store to load up on some finisher gear! We all deserved it! And then some more food as we watched the Bears win!
Gotta love Chicago sports.
And my medal:
What an inspiring day. If anyone has an opportunity to run Chicago I highly recommend it! The crowds were amazing, I've never seen anything like it. The course was just beautiful.
It could be I hold a special place in my heart for this city, but I thought it was a great race.