Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Chicago Marathon

The Chicago Marathon!! ~ Never did I think I would say I ran the Chicago Marathon! It was kind of surreal being there after watching online the past 2 years. It was amazing being there, there was such an energetic atmosphere all over the city!
So this might be a long post so, sorry about that! But I will include some pictures through out to break up the words a bit!

I thought about signing up for the Chicago Marathon around mile 21 at the Detroit marathon, while I was running alone on Belle Isle. Ok not alone, but there were no spectators! and that was when I thought I really want to do Chicago. Don't ask how I remember that, but that was one of the things going through my brain back then! Before I signed up for the marathon, I really wanted to be able to run in one of the corrals that went in the 1st wave, and in order to do that I would have to get a PR in either a half or full before the deadline of August, but I really wanted it before I even registered. So that was one of the reasons why I went and ran the Mercedes Half Marathon (read recap here). SO I had my half PR which also allowed me to be in the C corral and 1st wave start. And then registration was the Tuesday after the race, perfect timing! In regards to registration, I was one of the lucky ones who after about an hour, did get in the 1st day even with all the madness. I really do hope it does not go to a lotto system next year, because I would like to run it again. But even if it does, I will most likely enter or run for a charity (which does seem to have some decent perks about it!)

Onto the weekend....I drove down from East Lansing on Friday afternoon. One of the other highlights of this weekend, in addition to the race, and played a huge role in making it an amazing weekend, was meeting up with so many of my runner friends from Alabama!
Photo Op during our Shake out Run
It was amazing to see all of them, and having their support made the weekend even more special! On Friday when we (my most amazing husband came with me) got there on Friday, he went to go sit in the bar while I explored the Expo. It was the most amazing and most organized expo ever! I didn't really spend that much time there, just enough to take most of it in and get some Nike swag (that I bought). I would had stood in line for a picture, but after being in the car and then being around so many people I was just ready to be done. So guess I have to go next year for that! That night we went out for dinner and it was nice to catch up with everyone. On Saturday we did our 3 mile shake out run around Grant Park. Then my husband and I went to Navy Pier for lunch and then I spent the rest of day off my feet being a bum, and drinking fluids and eating carbs!
Race day layout

Good Night Chicago

Then the morning came! And Holy Shit Balls it's RACE DAY! Before I get into the race, I need to preface a bit. And I guess it goes with why I have blogged much, running this summer has not been the greatest. It's been a challenge after the Flying Pig, winter running, mental battles, and stress of work. Of those, the stress of work is gone and for the last month life has felt good again and it reflected how I felt on the road as well.  I really did not know how I was going to do, but I was going to give it all I had and be happy with what ever I got. I had goals, A) 3:55, B)3:59, C)finish with a smile & PR. Will get to the finish in a bit.....
Good Morning...Let's do this!

Resolute Running Teammates Becca & Michael! 

We met up in the lobby at 5:20am to get the shuttle to take us as close as possible to Grant Park. {***They(Chicago Marathon) did such an amazing job keeping everything safe and secure with little hassle***}
Once we got there, myself, Michael & Julie and I walked to our gate entrance while we dropped the other runners with us at the charity tents. We then found a spot along a fence to pop a squat for a bit with a couple potty stops on the way. When the sun final rose we decided it was time to really get this day started! One last potty stop and bag check then we were off to the corrals! and then it hit me, WOW it is amazing! We were still trying to get in the corral when the National Anthem was going on but we were able to hear & see the fly over.
Michael, Julie & I in Corral C. It's Go Time! (thanks Julie for the pic)
And then it was run time....and running out of the chute was amazing, even more amazing then I had imagined after watching the start so many other times. Now onto the run.....It started AWESOME! I felt amazing, I was a bit faster then I should had been, (and that may have haunted me at the end) But it felt easy and steady! I was not breathing hard, I was taking everything in, I felt amazing! The only thing I didn't like of the whole run were the bridges, but I was able to figure out quickly find the rugs to run on! But the crowd support was every where, it was a perfect day to run the weather was awesome the sun was shining! I had no issues with hydration or nutrition, today's run fail was all mental. Around 18-19 is when I started to realize how much was left (and I have to say up until this point I had not looked at any of the mileage markers!) and I also looked at my watch and realized that I was on target to hit my goal and then I freaked out! I panicked, I started breathing really heavy, tears were welling up and I lost it. Things were started to move really slow & I guess I was too because a few people tapped my shoulder to ask if I was ok. I said yes, but was I?! It's kind of strange as I looked at the pictures from the course and I can see a really dazed look on my face and my hands were not in a good form, as they were in the earlier miles. I tried so hard to regroup myself, but somehow I was not able to get my self back, and then when I realized I was going to miss A and B goal I sunk again. So I guess I hit the wall.....and it sucks! It is so true, the marathon is not just a physical battle it is as much a mental battle. and on this day the mental battle beat me. I have now experienced everything that could go wrong in a marathon, Injured (stupid IT band)Some GI issues on the course, & Winter training, then Hills & Humidity on race day. So Lucky Number 5 will be the one! the one to get that sub-4 monkey off my back! 
I was able to get myself back enough to still get a 5 minute PR (finish at 4:06) but not the goal I had originally had for the race. Am I disappointed, yes a bit, but I am still very thankful and happy with my PR. And I am not devastated, especially knowing  I can do it (And WILL), and knowing I didn't have the greatest running year. I still would not had been able to do this with out the help of my Coach Alex! Even though he may live in Alabama, his support along with the whole Resolute Running team helps me in so many ways! 

So it is onto the next one....So far Cleveland Marathon is on the schedule, but Rock n Roll New Orleans might be happening first! 
Sorry for the long post & thanks for reading! 
~ Jen

Did you run the Chicago Marathon? Thoughts?

Have you ever hit the mental wall? How did you react?