The Chicago Marathon was a blast.
And I’m not just saying that because I’m some delusional marathon freak who gets a kick out of waking up at 5am to ride the L across the city and stand outside shivering for 45 minutes while waiting for my wave to cross the start line so I can run for 4.5 hours as blood blisters form on my toes and my legs slowly turn to lead. It has nothing to do with that, I swear.
My experience in Chicago redeemed my faith in running marathons. Unlike my last marathon, where I crossed the finish line whimpering, mere inches from blacking out, I finished Chicago strong and able-bodied. Well, able-bodied may be a bit of a stretch, as I turned into a zombie seconds after completion (as in, everything was fuzzy, my dexterity plummeted, and it took me a solid minute to get from a standing to seated position). I’m not saying it wasn’t hard and that my muscles weren’t on fire, I’m just saying that I liked it a whole lot better this time around. As in, I could (will) do it again.
The abridged recap goes something like this:
Kim, Heather, and I started the journey together, and within .2 miles, Kim and I had no choice but to break away to take care of some urgent business. We aren’t two minutes into the race, and we’ve already lost Heather. Great. Our only solace was that we had empty bladders, and that is a necessity when you’ve got 26 miles ahead of you. We ran for miles and miles at a steady pace, entertaining ourselves with random conversation, the city sites, occasional spottings of our cheerleading significant others, and clever spectator signs.
Some of our favorites:
- Worst parade ever
- If Britney Spears can survive 2007, you can survive 26.2
- Forward is a pace
- Call me, I like your stamina
- Toenails are for sissies
- Run like you stole something
- The Kenyans went that way ~~~~~>
- You are beating all the people behind you
- And the ever classic, Don’t poop your pants
Soon after the half marathon mark, by some stroke of sheer luck, we magically caught up with Heather and eventually finished the race in trio fashion. See, look how happy we are!
We ran without taking one walking step until mile 19 (my longest consecutive mileage ever!), where we enjoyed our first small break. And I mean enjoyed with every fiber of my being. Your body gets so tired of performing the same repetitious movements over and over and over for hours on end, even the seemingly small act of switching from a run to a walk makes your muscles rejoice. And cry a little, too. It’s basically all painful from here on out. From this point forward, we walked a stint at the beginning of each mile until the finish, but overall our run/walk ratio was much more impressive than my first marathon attempt. We pressed on, and on and on and on, and eventually, after 4:30:39 had elapsed, we crossed that finish line, and it was a beautiful thing!
We owned the Chicago Marathon, and we’ve got medals to prove it. We’re a little zombied out, a lot sweaty messes, and ready to collapse, but we made it! This calls for a celebration, and celebrate we did!