Saturday, October 17, 2015

Chicago Marathon 2015 recap

Six days ago I ran the Bank of America Chicago Marathon for the third time, and this one was definitely a test of my will and strength. My dad, one of my biggest supporters (even though he thought I was crazy), had passed away 16 days before I was set to run another 26.2 miles. I kept finding myself getting choked up just even thinking about how I would have loved for him to have had a chance to watch this amazing marathon.

My training this summer had been so much better than in previous years, and I had PR'd at the Fox Valley Marathon three weeks before. But with everything going on with services and having to drive 1800 miles total, I was exhausted and had run a total of two times in between marathons. I knew I could cover the distance, but I figured it was going to be ugly as sin. Luckily for me, I had a special angel watching over me.

The weekend of the marathon was a little crazy, between managing the boys schedules and figuring out how I'd get downtown for everything. It all worked out, and I made it to the expo and then to the hotel with time to spare. After a great meetup with my sorority sisters who were running for Team RMHC, we  joined several hundred other runners for a wonderful dinner. Afterwards I headed back to the hotel to relax and unwind. 

Marathon morning dawned without a cloud in the sky, and with the prediction for warm temps I knew it could be a long day. However, I've trained in the heat and humidity all summer, so I felt ready for it. Plus, I was hoping that would mean there would be even more spectators - and I was right!

I ate a quick breakfast in the Team RMHC tent, and after some pictures with Team ADPi we headed off to our corral. I was blessed to meet another sister who was about my pace, and we decided to stick together. Finally, after a long wait in the corral we crossed the starting line and just had 26.2 miles in front of us.

The miles seriously just flew by...I've never had an experience like that in a marathon. I saw Chad at mile 1 and mile 12 (where I told him my foot was killing me but I was having a blast), and also caught sight of Andrea and some friends volunteering at aid stations. 

My awesome friend Christine found us at mile 21, and joined us for the next four miles. Having her there helped more than she'll ever know!! We had slowed at that point, but I knew I'd still beat my best Chicago time. Before I knew it we were turning onto Roosevelt Road, and were less than a 1/2 mile to the finish line. I turned the corner onto Columbus and there it was...the best sight ever! I was just steps away from completing my fifth marathon! My time was 6:14:03, so over 4 minutes faster than my best Chicago time.

There were many tears shed as soon as I finished. My dad was on my heart and with me every step of the way, and I know he's the reason I made it through. The pain in my foot (most likely some angry tendinitis) was rough, but it wasn't until I stopped that it became extremely painful. Had it felt like that during the marathon, I probably wouldn't have made it.

Back at the Team RMHC tent I was greeted by Jen Webb, our amazing ADPi supporter, and my husband. And just as I got in to get food I was joined by two amazing friends - Christine and Cindy. I was beyond thrilled to see them! I know waiting on a slow runner like me isn't the most fun, and I hope they know how much it means to me.

So...less than a week has passed and I have already said I'll be there again next year. The only lingering issue (besides peeling thanks to the lovely sunburn I got)  is my foot...but I know with time that will heal. And who knows - maybe next year I'll finally come in before the 6 hour mark!