2016 Chicago Marathon Recap

What an amazing weekend!  I can’t help but smile, when I think back on “Marathon weekend”.

First and foremost I want to thank my fellow Mid-Michigan Runners who all committed to this journey of craziness almost 7 months ago, and taking me at my word that this was one of the most awesome races ever.  I’m glad it didn’t disappoint!!!

Obviously, the weekend wouldn’t have been complete without the love of my Venados, and of course my family and friends, and especially to Dynamic Runner for my plan.

Let’s be real, training for a marathon can be an incredibly selfish endeavor.

This is my third time running Chicago, and my fourth marathon.  It ended up being a huge race for me on multiple levels.

  1. I pr’d
  2. I found a new mental toughness I didn’t really realize I had
  3. I was able to ignore a lot of pain, part of that was being prepared for the pain
  4. I had fun, yes I had fun during a marathon

The Chicago Marathon is just my all time favorite race.  I legitimately do not have enough good things to say about it, and I am so grateful to have been able to show my friends my old home, and this amazing city.

I opted to get into the city on Friday to spend some extra time with friends, and attend the Venados Pot Luck Friday night, and go to the expo with one of my friends.  The dinner was so much fun, it was so amazing to catch up with people, and the most perfect way to get so hyped up to run Sunday.

Saturday a majority of my Michigan friends got into the city, so I made my way to our hotel to meet everyone and head to the expo.  One of the great things I have never experienced about the marathon weekend is the shuttle service from downtown to McCormick Place.  McCormick Place is about 3 miles south of the downtown area, and it gets incredibly congested with traffic (so taking a taxi/uber can suck too).  The shuttle was free, and it gave me an prime opportunity to catch a few pokemon (yes, I am one of “those” people). There are multiple locations and they run to and from about every 15 minutes. 

Saturday night was just your typical pre-marathon night- we gathered in our hotel lobby for some pasta and few glasses of wine.  Saturday night was a rough night for me, I had a pretty safe dinner but for some reason (probably an assload of anxiety) I ended up getting sick in the middle of the night.  So Sunday morning I was VERY anxious.

Sunday morning we all rolled out of the hotel to get to the Congress Hotel, despite a few hiccups with our uberX.  I encouraged everyone (I forced them all) to purchase a spot in the hospitality suite there through another local running club.  For $25 it is so clutch, indoor restrooms, breakfast and coffee, and snacks/beer afterwards.  It also serves as a very convenient place for reuniting with family and friends after the marathon.   We were all dispersed in various corrals (corrals are assigned based on estimated finish times.

My plan was to start with two of my friends who run around the same pace as I do, and around 8:25am we were finally off.  The first few miles were pretty tough, because they are SO congested, so we were running pretty aggressively into the first leg (9:10’s, 9:15’s) around mile 8 I just decided to reign it in, I couldn’t keep that pace anymore, and dialed it back a bit, and I am glad I did even though I ended up running the next 16 miles alone (huge mental win).

Speaking of my mental game I broke the course into 6, 4 mile segments (yes I realize that equals 24, NOT 26).  The first 3 segments are in the north leg, the next 1 is in the west leg, and the last 2 are in the south leg.  I break it up to think about only four miles at time that way the course doesn’t seem so daunting.  The last two miles are really just about keeping perpetual, forward motion.  This worked out really well for me, I made it to mile 20.5 before I walked, and started walk/running.  I also knew around this time that all I had to do to pr was to just keep things consistent.

Around mile 24 I reunited with my girl Emily, and we finished together, which was amazing (I’m sorry again for yelling at you when we ran up Mount Roosevelt).

I crossed at 4:40, which was 22 minute pr for me.  I was pumped.  I have been relatively quiet about my training and updates for this marathon, because after Glass City in the Spring I was really disheartened that I still hadn’t broke 5 hours for a marathon.  I fully admit I was aiming for 4:30, but I am so so happy with what I ran considering how fast and loose I was with my long runs.

Everyone in our group finished under 5 hours which was awesome, and what was even more awesome was everyone had a blast.  Special congrats to Salatelli for finishing your first marathon!!!  We all met back together at our suite and started to slowly make our way back to our hotel (about 1-1 1/2 miles away) on foot. This actually required a pit stop at a bar, followed by a group dinner.

We all opted to come back Monday afternoon, which worked out really well, this allowed us to go get breakfast and head to the Nike store to look at the Finisher specific gear. We did want our medals engraved, but the line was out of control. 

All in all it was an amazing weekend! 

Who’s ready for 2017?!

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