Chicago Recap

It's been five days since I was running down Michigan Avenue with 40,000+ other people but it feels as if the race was months ago. The stiffness in my legs has finally left and I'm getting the itch to go for a run again! However, my appetite is still running strong and I've been hungrier than ever this entire week :)
Staying warm and trying to keep calm before the race (remember this hoodie: it will be not so important later!)

My sister and I stayed with our good friend the night before the race. We had a great time eating pizza, talking about how weird we were in high school, and practicing self-defense on each other. She told us that we could reserve a taxi online for the next morning which proved to be a very useful thing. Our taxi arrived promptly at 6:30 a.m. and we were dropped off right at the starting area by 6:45 a.m. The morning was quite cold in the the 30s/low 40s. While this made waiting for the race to begin seem even longer and painful, my sister and I both agreed that it was 100% better than running in 80/90 degrees like the race has been the past few years.

Our wave went off exactly at 8:00 and from there on out it was over 3 hours of constant passing people and weaving around the other runners on the course. I thought that this would be annoying before the marathon, but it turned out to be a great way to pass the time and focus on who to catch and move around instead of focusing on what hurt and "what do you mean I have 20 miles left to run?!" sort of thoughts.

The temperature remained cool and I was never too warm or hot at any point of the race. It was nice and comfortable and I was just so surprised by how good I felt. The 2 weeks leading up to the race I was transitioning into working full-time and during the day, taking away the mornings and afternoons when I normally would get in my runs. I took off way too many days in that time and it shook my confidence on how this race would turn out. But somehow, this race turned out much better than I had expected. The entire time I was passing people and felt like I was pushing the pace. There were points where I was concerned that I was using too much energy too early in the race and I would pay for it later, but everything was going so well I didn't want to hold back. I felt pretty awesome for most of the time and it wasn't until mile 23 that I started "breaking down", although I never bonked or had that terrible last 10k like all the marathon horror stories you hear. The last mile was extremely painful but the excitement over being so close to being done and completing my first marathon made it bearable.

When I crossed the finish line, I experienced so many emotions in such a small time frame. As I crossed I just felt awesome like I was on top of the world and could do accomplish anything! Then a man that finished near me began to cry tears of joy and happiness over what he had just done and it made me think about it and I started to well up too. That didn't last very long because about 20 seconds later was the pain of what I had put my body through hit my all at once and those tears turned from ones of joy to ones of pain. I clearly remember very melodramatically thinking that there was nothing I could do to rid me of the pain and I would never feel pain-free again. I almost started crying even more when I realized just how far I had to walk before I got to the exit of the finish shoot.

Reading all the nice texts people sent me about the race
 However, I managed to survive and get to my family's meeting point and live to tell the tale. We sat for a good half hour and at some recovery snacks before we hobbled walked over to Chipotle for lunch.
Very focused on eating, not much different than every day life
See that pink item on the left side of the pile? That was my throwaway hoodie! Still can't get over that I spotted it and it was sitting right on top of it all

Extremely excited to get some coffee to give me enough energy to move and warm me up
 After refueling and sitting some more, we had to make the long walk back to the car to head home. We had about a 6 hour drive back home since we had to make a pit-stop in Grand Rapids. The drive was uneventful and boring, so enjoy these pictures I took in the car to pass the time and forget about my soreness!

Boston qualified!

Proof that I actually ran the whole darn thing

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