I am back from all the excitement that was the Chicago Marathon this past weekend and am ready to share. If you'd like to see photos from earlier in the weekend please see THIS POST.
Now on to Sunday which was race day. The morning started very early with a 4:30 am wake up call.
I got dressed and I was out the door by 5 am to head to the VIP hospitality tent which was a mile away from my hotel. I arrived in plenty of time to have a few cups of coffee and a breakfast sandwich. The race director spoke and told us it was one of the best years for the Chicago marathon’s weather since he has been the director of it for twenty seven years and today would be a great day for a PR.
Deena and Joan Benoit Samuelson also spoke saying that it is a great fast flat course but be careful not to go out too fast. There were also a few other winners from the years past. After they spoke it was soon time to head into our corrals.
I wanted to find my pace group right from the beginning, but when I signed up for the race (that felt like forever ago) I wrote a time that was above what I wanted now, and the pace group in my corral did not go down to the time I was hoping for. I felt like I was already behind and the race didn’t even start yet. So I got to the first pacer in my corral which was still 10 minutes and hoped for the best.
|Photo borrowed from MarathonFoto|
I started out great like I normally do but knew I was too fast. I was hoping to find the pacer up ahead then I would slow down. But unfortunately I couldn’t find the pacer and knew I had to hold back or I would lose steam. Before the race I found out a way to set my watch so it would alert me if I was going too fast or too slow, and if so it would beep. It kept beeping that I was too fast, so I knew I had to slow down. Also, it was getting very annoying! I finally found a good pace I could hold and set into a groove. My watch wasn’t beeping for a while so I thought I was right in the rage I wanted to be. There was a lady that I came upon around mile 4 and we started running at the same pace for a while. I finally asked her what time she was hoping for. She said anything sub 3:30. I told her my goal was 3:30-3:35 and I wasn’t sure if I was too fast or too slow. She said I may be a little too fast but definitely not too slow. This made me feel good and I was hoping I could keep up with the pace, knowing that there is still a long way to go.
|Photo borrowed from MarathonFoto|
There were a few times I wanted to pull ahead and I stopped myself knowing that I wanted to save more energy in the second half. She stopped at a water stop and so did I and we continued on. We just past mile 9 and I felt my headband slipping off. So I went to adjust it and it fell off. I saw it a few yards back and wanted so bad to turn around, but I knew that would be a disaster and plus I wanted to stay with this lady that was keeping me at a good pace. I thought to myself If I get the time I am hoping for it’ll be worth it ( It was even a cute Run Chicago headband so I was a bit bummed) We were still together at mile 11 when we both stopped at the water station but ended up not finding each other. I knew I was still on pace so I continued on. I was very grateful that I had someone for that long.
When I arrived at mile 13 I knew my pace and time was still good so I was hoping to maintain it. I was told that Marcia and Wendy were going to be around that mile, not exactly sure where so I took one of my ear buds out just in case they saw me and would yell for me. But unfortunately I didn’t see them with the huge crowds that were spectating.
The next few miles were kind of a blur. I was just jamming out listening to my music and keeping an eye on my pace. I had a time I wanted to get to by mile 20, and I made it. After that, I knew I was on the home stretch and still continued holding my pace. By mile 24 my died but the energy of the crowd was huge and music was playing so I just took it all in and enjoyed my last few miles. I kept seeing signs that said 800 yards, 400 yards, 200 yards, then I finally saw the finish line and gave it all I had to the finish. When I finished I knew my watch was about ten minutes behind the clock. But still wasn’t sure my exact time.
I knew I but by how much? Did I BQ? I may have, but was I under enough? I received my medal and continued down the finishing shoot to head to the VIP area. I received my complimentary massage and it felt heavenly! While I was getting a massage my friend came over and congratulated me. In addition to a 15 minute PR. I .....Yay!
I needed a 3:35 and I came in at 3:332:03. I definitely am not a squeaker; I just hope that it is enough. I guess I will find out in 10 months. Until then I can just enjoy my accomplishment!
After my massage, I grabbed some lunch then I had to head back to hotel because check out was soon. After I showered and packed, I checked out of the hotel, but luckily they were able to hold my luggage. My friend and I walked down to the Nike Store because they were doing free medal engraving.
Afterwards we walked to Ghirardelli for a post-race treat, an ice cream waffle bowl that was delicious! Then it was time to head to airport. It was a great weekend in Chicago! There were so many other things I would have liked to do, but not enough time. I’d love to come back when I have more time to enjoy what the city has to offer. -L