If you follow me on social media, like Twitter or Instagram, you’ll know I survived the race yesterday! It’s always so tough to put marathons into words. I go through about 37296 different emotions during a race and it’s really difficult to capture that in a few photos and words but I will try my best because the Chicago marathon is one of the best organized events I have ever attended and I want you to know how awesome it is!
The race was set to start at 7:30am. I think I woke up every single hour throughout the night so I didn’t get a great sleep. I didn’t even have to wait for my alarm to go off because I was awake anyway. I got out of bed at 5:45am, got dressed, ate my Clif bar and banana, drank a glass of water and then headed to the race start.
Our hotel was only about a 10-minute walk from the start and there were thousands of people heading in that direction so although I researched my directions to the corrals, there was no chance of getting lost. This race has 12,000 volunteers so there are people EVERYWHERE if you need anything at any time!
I think the best way to capture this race will be to write down a list of a few things I remember from it and that happened. My thoughts are all over the place so I will do my best to accurately tell you how it went!
- The course is long, like almost half a mile long. I think my Garmin read 26.63 miles at the end of the race.
- I tripped over the mats that they lay on the bridge grating and I almost fell. I caught myself just in time… that was mile 2.
- The course is BEAUTIFUL. You get a wonderful tour of the many neighbourhoods of Chicago and the city has so many unique districts.
- It. was. HOT.
- I didn’t stop running the ENTIRE time. My left quad was slowly starting to cease/cramp and I knew if I stopped there would be no getting me going again so I ran through all water stations and drank water on the run.
- I wore my fuel belt to carry extra water and I am so so so glad I did.
- I won’t be eating Honey Stinger energy chews for a long time. I feel like I ate a million and I threw up in my mouth once near the end due to heat/dehydration/the repulsiveness of multiple chews.
- I went into this race with few expectations and that is kind of the best. I am super proud of my time and how I managed the race in the heat.
- My favourite sign on the course was, “This seems like a lot of work for a free banana.” I laughed out loud.
- THE CROWDS. You guys, there are spectators and cheering crowds the ENTIRE race. Sometimes the streets were lined 4 people deep and never was there an area where the cheering got sparse. It was insane.
- There is lots of food (you get a bag with snacks, as well as the option to grab a protein drink, power bar, banana, and gatorade) and water and so many helpful people at the end of the race. You can also get an immediate printout of your chip time/splits on the course when you get to the post-race party.
- I hated it at times but now that I’m done I can say I LOVED the race.
Official time: 3:44:19
Average Pace: 8:34 min/mile
Age Group Place: 189/1676
Gender Place: 1759/17038
Once I stopped running I was so done. I hobbled into the post-race area to meet my friends and fair warning: the stretch from the finish line to the post-race party takes about 25 minutes (probably 15 if you didn’t just run a marathon). I didn’t use my post-race beer coupon as all I wanted was water and a shower… don’t worry I indulged in some drinks later!
The rest of the day was spent shuffling around Chicago, doing a tiny bit of shopping (more like browsing) and drinking. We had a drink with lunch at our hotel restaurant, an afternoon beer in the hotel room watching football, and I had a free drink in a second hotel bar (FREE, yeah hotel guests get FREE drinks 6-7pm). It was a relaxing afternoon and due to the fact that my body decided to quit working, it was the perfect way to recover after the race.
The Chicago Marathon was such a well-organized event. From the expo to the starting corrals to the finishing shoot and all of the on-course aid and cheering, this race is really wonderful. I would love to come back to Chicago and explore the city without having to be nervous for the race and then dead-legs after the race as it is a neat city with a cool atmosphere. I am super happy with how I did in this race, especially enduring a stress fracture in the spring and battling what seemed like constant injury this summer. I’m definitely proud of myself!
Thank you all so much for your support! If you made it to the end of this recap – congrats! 😉 If you missed what I did in Chicago before the race check it out HERE!