You guys, I am a marathoner!
Oh my gosh I don’t even know where to start.
I wanted to wait to get this post up because I didn’t want to be completely clouded by “I just ran a marathon and I’m on cloud 9 syndrome”. Although that is still going on pretty strong ; )
The weather was absolutely gorgeous for the race! It was around 55 degrees when we started and perfectly sunny. Although it was hot when we finished (70-75 degree range), for most of the race, one half of the street would be shaded and the other half would be sunny. So it was nice to take advantage of the shade when I could.
Miles 1-4: We crossed the start line a little after 8:30 which was frustrating, because they told us it would be at 8:10. We were so antsy and anxious in the corral! I totally understand though, there were a shit ton of runners! Waiting that long in the corrals though only heightened my nerves. Once we finally got started, my dad and stepmom were at like mile .5 and after running past them, I was teary eyed immediately. Starting the race and seeing loved ones was just emotional overload for me I guess : ) Luckily, the tears didn’t last long, because hello I was running a marathon! I don’t think that I stopped smiling for the first couple of miles, because holy shit I was actually running a marathon. I was doing it!
5-12: Lol I was still cheesing because I still couldn’t believe I was actually running a marathon. Around mile 9 or 10, we ran past a retirement home, and all of the seniors were sitting by the windows waving and smiling at us as we ran by! They even had a banner up that read, “We couldn’t run this year, but maybe we will next year!” It was seriously the cutest thing and made me so happy.
Miles 13-16: I put my headphones in at the half marathon point, and turned on my trusty One Direction. Once I hit 13.1 I was mentally boosted, because every step from there on out was towards the finish line, not away from it if that makes sense. After crossing 16 though, my mental game really started to suffer. Like hard.
Miles 17-21: Absolutely the most mentally tough miles I have ever run. I felt so close because I was in single digits of miles left, but I still felt so far away. Getting through 17 & 18, and knowing that I would get to look for my family at 19 was huge and the only thing mentally keeping me in the game. When I saw them waiting for me at mile 19, I dropped “f-this” 3 times. I was going to try and pull my brother into the race with me, because I needed some “you got this kid” motivation, but he was too far back for me to get him. It seriously took everything in me to keep going.
I just kept telling myself that I would be so much more disappointed in myself if I walked rather than continuing running. Walking was not what I wanted to remember from the race. I saw a sign that said, “Will you remember quitting or finishing more?” and that was the kick in the ass I needed. I would have remembered quitting so much more because I would have been so disappointed in myself for not pushing through.
Miles 22-25: Once I got through 21 and hit the 22 mile marker, things just started to lift up mentally. Physically it was a different story haha, but nothing completely unbearable. I was cramping right above my right knee, my feet were hurting pretty bad with new blisters and callouses, and a random part of my arm was chafing a bit. But after hitting 22, I kept telling myself that it was just a 5K, because getting to 25 was basically like I was finished (it’s those mental tricks that keep me going when I race).
Mile 25.2: There was sign that said “1 mile left!” Running past that sign, it really hit home that I was going to do it. I was going to finish a marathon. I really started to tear up here and had to reign them in, so I could try and breathe normally!
Miles 26 – 26.2: Ok so like running a marathon isn’t hard enough, the last .20 miles of the race are on an uphill!! Well just .10 of a mile is the uphill, but still! It is a .10 mile run up the hill, a left, and then a .10 mile run to the finish. And there were so many people walking up the hill, but there was no way in hell I was walking when I was so freaking close to the finish. Making that final left turn and seeing the finish line is a feeling I don’t think I will ever forget. The sense of excitement, pride, accomplishment, and joy is something I have never experienced before, at least not like that.
I feel so fortunate that I never really “hit the wall” physically. I never felt like my legs were really heavy or like they wouldn’t be able to take another step. Besides the cramping from 22-25, my legs felt great! I credit that a lot to the fact that I walked through every water station. I would run up until the person from whom I took water from, drink my water or Gatorade cup(s), and then continue running. I also was running such a controlled and slower pace that I think it really helped save my legs.
Yes, I could have run faster, but for my first marathon, I really wanted to focus on having fun and enjoying the whole process. I figured there were going to be a lot of more marathons in my future so why make myself miserable for the first one?! And I had no idea the mental hurdle I was going to face from 17-21, and I am so glad that I wasn’t physically hurting, too.
When I crossed the finish line, honestly I was so damn happy just be finished running. It wasn’t until probably an hour or so later that I was like “f@$! I just ran a f@$!ing marathon!!” To say that I am proud, accomplished, proud, excited, and so f-ing proud would really sum it all up nicely. Knowing that I worked so hard towards something and for something long, and then have all of that hard work pay off, is so amazing. Even if you would have asked me last year about running a marathon, I don’t think I would have said yes or thought I could do it. It has made me realize that I am tough, dedicated, and hard-working.
Chicago Marathon, thank you for a great race, great volunteers, great spectators, and a fucking great first marathon. This will not be the last time we meet.
Official time: 4:52:04 ~ 11:09 pace