16 December 2013

Chicago Marathon Recap

I can't believe I'm really here!!!
So, back in January I ran my first marathon at Walt Disney World.  Before then, I would have laughed at the idea of completing ONE 26.2 distance race.  So how is it I find myself 10 months later gearing up for my 2nd... with my 3rd only two more weeks away?  I remind you of #90daysofinsanity.  After completing the Dumbo Challenge in Disneyland over Labor Day, and the Climate Ride - 300 miles from NYC to DC - in late September, here it was October and I was gearing up for the Chicago Marathon!

In case you missed the craziness surrounding Chicago and the #ActiveCrisisof2013, signing up for Chicago was a disaster!  Active.com, the website dedicated to processing thousands of race entries, crashed in the middle of the registration process.  As in thousands of people were unable to register for the available slots and registration had to be SHUT DOWN and a two-week break taken to figure out how to address the problems.  I had intended to try to register during the first enrollment, but didn't set up an alert so I missed out.  After some internal discussion, they decided to do a lottery for the remaining slots, and I threw my name in the hat.  I did not get picked, but very soon an opportunity popped up for me to run, and I couldn't turn it down!

This year, I took a course at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago - A Certificate in Environmental Ministry and Leadership - with class meeting in Chicago in March and in October, conveniently wrapping up right before the marathon.  When I was there in March, I thoroughly enjoyed running the lakeshore in frigid temps and I couldn't wait to come back and run the marathon in October!

We had an option to stay on campus, which I took advantage of in March, but this time decided to stay with a classmate, which was SUPER fun.  BUT - she is vegan and prefers that visitors adopt a vegan diet when in her home.  I completely respect that and when we made plans for me to stay with her, I completely forgot about the marathon.  Only when I arrived and realized I'd be vegan for the four days leading up to the marathon did I start to panic - if only slightly.  Luckily M is a fantastic cook and I ate VERY well in her home!  We had a blast doing some shakeout runs in the park near her home at up at Glacial Park in northern Illinois after our field trip.  I was more than ready to head to the expo and meet up with my #CorralG buds - Captain Linz and Coach Marcia - and get the marathon party started!  I cannot begin to describe how amazing it was to be in this venue with this two people.  Linzie would also be running, and Marcia was there to rep for 26.2 with Donna and cheer on her besties.  We hung out together at the expo for a bit and then grabbed dinner together - oh yeah, Marcia and I had grabbed Chicago-style pizza for lunch while Linzie was hanging out with his other friends, but of course that didn't mean we couldn't have Chicago-style pizza AGAIN for dinner!  #eatallthepizza

Then it was time to tuck in for a HUGE day ahead - Linzie and I would be running our first WORLD MARATHON MAJOR!!! OMG!! Linzie was so stoked about this - it was only begining to sink in for me.

The course winds through 29 different districts in Chicago, first heading north out of Grant Park, then back towards the city and out west, then back in and south before coming back up and finishing in Grant Park.  I absolutely loved every minute of it.  Unfortunately I forgot my headphones in the hotel room, so I had a tough time keeping pace with my intervals, and had some knee pain around mile 22, but I pushed through and finished in 5:42 and change - knocking AN HOUR AND TEN MINUTES off my WDW Marathon time!  I wore my compression pants again, and probably lost about 25 minutes in bathroom breaks, but I think my knee probably would have been hurting even sooner if I hadn't been wearing them so it was totally worth it - and this time there was no one waiting on me to get out of the restroom!

After I finished the race, I enjoyed the amenities of the race retreat tent, and then ended up walking back to the hotel, since I had no idea where to pick up the shuttle.  It was all good - I need to walk anyway to keep my legs from getting too stiff before my flight to Little Rock the next day.

All in all I had AN AMAZING time and have decided that I want to attempt to run all of the WORLD MARATHON MAJORS by the time I'm 40.  Let's hope that happens!!

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