On a recent business trip to Chicago, my Uber driver drove straight through Grant Park on the way to the hotel – and I got chills as we crossed the Chicago Marathon finish line. “I am ready to run another marathon,” I immediately texted Karen. Nearly a year earlier, I couldn’t have been happier just to hobble across that finish line and at that point, I swore “never again”. But, I’m a sucker for the energy surrounding a marathon.
Chicago is my favorite city so I knew one day I would run this race. When I signed up for the race in late 2016, I was hell bent on a BQ. I hired a coach to help me train. Why not put it all on the line?
Well, 2017 wasn’t my year in general. So much adversity as the year progressed, but I remained steadfast and focused on my training. It was hard and not so enjoyable in the NC summer, but I headed into marathon well-trained. My training data suggested I can run 3:40, but I didn’t believe it. I went into the race uncertain instead of confident. Long story short – this was not a good race for me – not even close. I won’t go through any of that because there is no point in dwelling on the negative. I spent too much mental time there for months following the race and I am over it. Despite my result, this race is fun!
What was awesome about this race?
- It’s a world major. There isn’t anything quite like running a world major! I LOVE being part of an event that unites runners from all over the world!
- Easy race day logistics. Compared to New York, the start and finish line were short walk away from the many hotels. I mean, taking the Staten Island Ferry to the start of the NY Marathon was an experience, but there’s already enough to think about on race morning. Just wake up and walk to the starting line.
- It’s great for spectators! My husband and my sister were able to find me at several points in the loop area, then take the train out to Chinatown area, and back to Michigan Avenue. I loved this support!
- A tour of the neighborhoods. Perhaps the most awesome thing about this race is the fan support. Folks were out in full force throughout the race. My favorites were drag queen corner, the Chinese dragon in Chinatown, and Greektown. Spectators had snacks and drinks for runners too. I NEVER do this (because don’t take candy from a stranger), but once a decent race was out the window, I decided to go for it – Twizzlers and pickle juice!
- It’s flat. While I like some hills in a race, I know many runners don’t, so we’ll put this in the “pro” category.
- Post race recovery. Yes, this race has all the usual post-race goodies, like bananas and chocolate milk. But before you even get to the post-race party area, you can take as many as you can carry. I took two, along with two bags of ice for my sore legs – what at treat!
Chicago knows how to support a marathon. Yes, New York was amazing too, but Chicago brings a friendly mid-western energy to every neighborhood and every street corner.
Do I want to do it again? You bet!