Friday, October 12, 2012

chicago marathon race report

Bling for Marathon #3
Spoiler alert - I finished the marathon!

5:19:43 is my official time.  I started slow and ended slower.  But I finished! It was a tough one, no doubt about it.  The last few months have been tough for me on a personal level, and training really took a backseat to everything else going on.

My long runs saved me.  Good thing I know myself - I'm both lazy and a bling whore. (Because I know that about myself, and because I obviously need external motivation to get my ass out the door, I signed myself up for a ton of races so I wouldn't have to map out my long runs or carry my own water, and then when I'm done, I get rewarded for running, with things like food, medals, shirts and sometimes jewelry. Winner!!)  Anywhoo, it was all those races that kept me in some semblance of running shape.

The husband and I flew to Chicago on Saturday morning.  Race or no race, we were going to be celebrating our wedding anniversary on October 7th (which just happened to be the same day as the marathon.....the man loves me so much he agreed to travel to a distant city to watch me run a marathon ON OUR ANNIVERSARY. I'm a lucky woman) and then spending a few extra days to prolong the celebration.

Unless you're new here, you know that my training for this marathon has been, shall we say, less than ideal. Until I went to the race expo, I wasn't even sure I was going to run the marathon.  But damn, it was hard to not get all caught up in the excitement of the event and being a part of it!

So I was waffling.

I bought a pint glass (had to - it's tradition).

I bought an official Nike Chicago Marathon shirt.

See if you can spot my name.....
Ok, there's a back story here.  I wanted the shirt in day-glo orange. I looked and looked for a medium but all I could find was XL and XXL. I tried on the XL and it was ginormous. Pretty much all women's shirts in size medium were hot property. Then suddenly a woman holding my desired day-glo orange top says, "Hey, is anyone looking for a size medium?" I said yes and she was handing to to me when some ballsy beyoch RIPPED IT RIGHT OUT OF MY HANDS. Unbelievable. The husband looked her in the eye and said, "REALLY??"  She didn't even flinch. In retrospect however, she probably did me a favor. Day-glo orange shirts and red hair do possess a bit of a conflict.) Aaaaanyhoooo......

I think there were about a bazillion people at the expo. Seriously. I counted.  Can you say clusterf*ck? But that's a subject for another post....

You know what sealed the deal for me?  Finding my name on the wall of runners. How could I NOT run now??

Pre-race. "Hey stranger, would you please take our picture?  It's our anniversary!!'"
So that's how I ended up in corral L early on Sunday morning. Me, along with 44, 999 of my closest friends.
It was cozy at the start.
It was a fun run, if you can believe it.  I had my earphones in just in case I decided I needed some music, but never did turn the music on.  (Yurbuds - the best, most comfortable earbuds EVER.)  It was much more interesting listening to the crowds!

My timing chip.
I should probably leave it on my shoe as a reminder to help keep me upright.
Did I mention that there were 1.7 million spectators at this marathon?  Yeah, one point seven MILLION. It was amazing. The various neighborhoods take their cheer sections seriously.  My favorite section was (I think) in Old Town. A bunch of crazy enthusiastic people in yellow shirts yelling out encouragement to us slow runners. I loved it!

Mile 2.  Still feeling fresh as a daisy.

Though it was a fun day, as I mentioned above, it was a frickin' tough run for me. No lie. I had to dig deep for this one. On the upside, I think going sooooo slow prevented me from having any GI issues.  That was a nice change! (I did still have to take two potty stops but no 8+ minute breaks in the action like at Grandma's last year.  Oh, sorry, I guess that qualifies as TMI......)

Around mile 23 or so, I saw Bobbi and her sister Michelle.  That was a huge boost for me - I was pretty tired at that point and seeing Bobbi's familiar face was fantastic!  Michelle was running her first marathon; her knee had pretty much given out on her but she was determined to finish. And finish she did! I took a picture of the three of us and Bobbi & Michelle look adorable.  I on the other hand, look absolutely hideous.  Even the husband when looking at the photo said, "You're beautiful!  Buuuuttt, that picture isn't your best." God love him, he's the king of understatement.  

Mile 25.  Sore as hell but still smiling. And still running!

I kept going and saw the husband at mile 25. Only 1.2 miles to go!  He gave me a kiss and sent me on my way.

Finish line!
(Actually, now that I think about it, this is just the painted photo-op area about 2 miles from the finish.  But whatever.)
I pushed on, turned the corner to the finish line and powered on through. My goal (had I been in shape) was 4:30.  I crossed the finish line almost 50 minutes slower than that.  But it was a most satisfying marathon finish.  I'm pretty damn proud of myself.

Actual finish line photo.
This must be my "happy marathoner" pose.
(I'm the one in the grey shirt.)

My slowest marathon time to date, but I think it's the one I'm most proud of.
So far.  But perhaps I should rethink the headband. <sigh> At least my ears stayed warm.
Damn straight I did!

And now for the big question: Which marathon should I set my sights on next?


  1. Great job Nora!!! Woohooo!!!! You are awesome. Enjoy that bling. I'm a bling whore, too. Nothing to feel bad about!

  2. You SHOULD be proud of that one! I am so so so glad we ran into each other! Can't wait to see what 2013 has in store for you :)

  3. Congrats! And happy anniversary! This is on my list of dream races.

  4. We finished lady, slow and steady wins the race! Was so good to meet you!

  5. Congrats and Happy Anniversary!!


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