A week ago today, I imagined I would be celebrating my return home with a shiny new PR, reveling in the accomplishment after months of tough training, and planning out my next move…and yet, here I am, lips and skin chapped, throat sore, and legs swollen with a finish time right smack dab in the middle of my PRs and PWs – yet, feeling strangely calm about it.
The Chicago Marathon was a race to remember – in so many ways. It was a day of gorgeous, perfect weather. A day of seeing so many amazing athletes, friends, spectators and volunteers. A celebration of running, of health and of life. Amongst the crowd of more than 45,000 runners, I was fortunate enough to run with several friends (including rockstars Lauren and Mindy), see amazing inspirations (like Jess) and soak up the energy from incredible Oiselle teammates and cheerers – I just cannot describe the intense feelings of love and support that I experienced on Sunday.
So, in lieu of a traditional race recap, here’s a list of things I know will stay in my heart and mind forever, following the 2014 Chicago Marathon:
- Sometimes, it’s just not your day. At the start of the race, I was battling a sore throat and some sniffles, but I chalked it off as travel ickiness. Unfortunately, at Mile 16ish, I realized it was much worse. Without going too much in to detail, each step was painful, thanks to intense abdominal cramping.
- I thought about DNFing for a while. DNF = did not finish. Seriously. As my 10th marathon, I thought – I KNOW I can do this, but I have so many more goals coming up, including a handful of marathons. I thought it would be a smart choice. I didn’t think it’d be worth the chance of injuring myself, or overexerting. I stopped right around Mile 17 and sat at an aid station and talked to hubby on the phone. He convinced me that I’d be mad if I didn’t finish what I started. He told me to finish strong. So, I did the best with what I was given for the day, and looking back, I am glad.
- Chicago volunteers and spectators know how to BRING IT. Recaps and reports from past participants warned of dead zones during the race, but there was not one moment that I felt unsupported or “alone.”
- Large races have their pros and cons. Okay, this is one I did NOT expect: the intense lack of etiquette from fellow runners!!!! I had cups thrown at my legs and feet from runners, was spit on from runners who couldn’t bother to move to the side to do so, and elbowed and shouldered. I was NOT used to that and was quite irritated! Was it a huge influx of first time racers, or just a huge amalgamation of self centered rude people? Blah. On the flipside, I did love the fanfare and how ROCKSTAR the City of Chicago makes you feel, wearing your medal around that afternoon…and night…and next day 🙂
I have more thoughts, and will probably post more, but these are the major points that have been popping around my mind since Sunday…so before I go…
Thank you to EVERYONE who has sent kind words, thoughtful notes, motivation, congratulations…it means so much. I’ve been working to respond to as many as possible, and have been continually inspired by the legions of my own friends who accomplished the incredible this weekend – from first marathons (Rockstar Sarah), PRs (what’s UPPP my fabulous race roomie, Ashley!), to BQs (Jesica, you are my hero) and more – it was a weekend of amazing things.