I’m baaaccckk! After a week away from everything – workouts, running, blogging and social media – I’m happy to be back. I don’t really have a “large” blog or following, but I really cherish the friendships that I’ve made over the past few years on my little slice of the internet. I missed connecting with you all!
So I have absolutely dreaded writing this race recap. I have so much to say but not sure how I want to say it. I’ll try to make sure that I don’t ramble and make this blog too long. Let’s get started!
We arrived on Friday morning and dropped off our bags at the hotel. We were staying at the Hyatt Regency which was one of the 4 hotels that offered free shuttle service to the Expo. We hopped on and 15 minutes later we arrived around 11am. This was obviously NOT a good time to arrive because it was VERY chaotic inside the expo and there were lines for EVERYTHING.
There was a two step process to get your bib. You had to wait in one line to get your ID checked and then they sent you to another line to get your bib. I found this to be a little odd as the lines for the first “check-in” were all over the place and it was very confusing. After I got my bib it was time to do some shopping. I found the items I wanted and then waited on line another 30 minutes to purchase the items.
Then I waited another 20 minutes on another line to buy a beer glass and coffee mug…are you seeing a theme here? By the time I made all my purchases, I was pretty annoyed at how crowded the expo was and did a quick walk through for the other vendors, picked up my official race shirt and swag bag, and then left.
I think the expo would have been perfectly fine if I didn’t go at such a busy time. I really thought that 11am on Friday wouldn’t be bad, but I was wrong! I also thought it was weird that the official finisher jacket wasn’t available at the Expo. It was available at Niketown the next day. I didn’t feel like dealing with anymore crowds so I just ordered it online and it came last week – I love it!
I wasn’t running the race (I was trying to save my legs for race day), so I made my way down to the finish line for the race so I could cheer on all the runners. I don’t spectate races often so it was nice to be on that side for a change! My mom said that she enjoyed the race but that the course was a little cramped overall. She was happy with he swag (race medal and scarf).
After the race I had to hustle to get to the Bean for the WeRunSocial meet up! I got there a few minutes late but there were still plenty of runners there! It was nice to catch up with old friends, and also meet new ones. These meet-ups never disappoint! If there is a WeRunSocial meet up for any of your races – check it out!
After the meet up I went back to the hotel and the family and I went out for breakfast at Corner Bakery – it was delicious! After breakfast I headed back to the hotel and my family did some sight seeing. For dinner, we ordered food from Giordano’s and it was freaking delicious! I swear I could eat my way through Chicago if I had the chance…
So I think this pretty much sums up race day for me…
Heartbreak. That’s the word that stood out for me. Last Sunday I definitely felt this and about 100 other emotions. The weird thing is, the morning started out promising. Sure, it was humid (88%), BUT the actual temperature was cooler than expected (I think it was in the 50s). I even had to wear a long sleeve shirt as a throwaway! I was in Wave 3, Corral J so I got to my corral around 7:45am. Luckily I had some entertainment as a T-Rex was nearby.
By the time my corral started around 8:35/8:40, the sun was out and it was starting to get warm…crap! I knew that we would have higher than usual temps for October, but I didn’t want to focus on that too much. You can’t control the weather, so there’s no need to obsess about it, especially while you’re running a race!
I would say that the wheels started coming off pretty early. Around mile 2 I knew something was “off” but I kept running. I had to stop for a potty break around mile 5 (I was hydrating like a boss), but after that I felt pretty good, but I think I started to slow down around mile 7. By the time I saw my family at mile 10.5, I felt completely defeated. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get my breathing under control. This was extremely infuriating because my body felt great! Any time I tried to pick up the speed, or run more than 5 minutes, it was hard to breathe. By mile 13.5 I knew my PR was out the window so I stopped to snap a photo to post on Instagram. I knew that some people were tracking me, and I didn’t want them to be alarmed that I was going a lot slower than expected. I also texted my coach to let her know the PR wasn’t happening today.
I walked/jogged/shuffled to the medical tent around mile 15. I just wasn’t feeling right at all and I made the decision to get checked out by the medical staff. I was at this medical tent for about 20-25 minutes. My PR was already out the window so I didn’t really care about stopping at the tent. I told them what was going on and they checked my lungs, blood pressure, etc. They told me to hang out in the tent for a little while, rest, and to drink some water – I did just that. They cleared me to continue but told me to take it easy.
Sigh…take it easy was exactly what I had to do for the next 11 miles. I mainly walked and sulked the rest of the time. I ran when I could, which was not very often. The breathing issues continued. Around mile 25 I was sick of walking and tried to run most of the mile. I was coughing like a crazy person after I crossed the finish line but I was just so happy to be finished with the worse race of my running life.
I’m not 100% sure yet (still waiting on test results), but I might have exercise induced asthma. I saw my primary care doctor (who is also a triathlete so she can relate well to runners) last week. I told her what happened and that was her initial diagnosis. I went to the pulmonologist yesterday and took a breathing test and the results should be in by the end of the week. I’m hoping that I don’t have this, but if I do, I’ll work through it.
What you need to know about Chicago
My horrible race experience aside, the Chicago Marathon is a freaking awesome race! Yes, it is crowded, but that crowd support is EVERYTHING!! Literally the crowds line the entire course. It really seems like the city loves this race. My two favorite neighborhoods were Pilsen and Chinatown. The energy in both these neighborhoods was electric. I think it was the only time I cracked a smile throughout the race because everyone was so full of energy and happiness! Oh and the beer after the race…magnificent! I never had Goose Island IPA before, but now I am definitely a fan!
How I’m Feeling
Immediately after the race I felt like a failure and I was extremely disappointed in myself. It wasn’t that I had an issue with the finish time, because a finish is a finish, but I was embarrassed that I trained for 20 weeks and had a race result that was so far off from my goal. I know that many people came in over their goal time for the race because of the weather, but 15 or 20 minutes is a lot different than over an hour, almost 2 hours.
I questioned myself, “Could I have trained harder?” “What did I do wrong?”. I also thought that maybe I was way too confident going into the race. I just KNEW that I had that PR. What I finally realized is that the marathon doesn’t give a sh*t about your training. It doesn’t care about the early morning runs or the late night PT sessions. It doesn’t care that you hit your race pace, or faster, during training. It doesn’t care that you hydrated like a boss before the race. It truly doesn’t care. You get what you get on race day and that’s it.
And honestly, with everything going on in the world – hurricanes, fires, gun violence – how on Earth can I sit here and complain about a race? It is really a “first world” problem and the truth of the matter is, I finished. I am thankful for that because some people were not so lucky and had to DNF.
I deferred my NYCM race entry to next year. After this race I had zero desire to suffer through another marathon in a month. On Saturday I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll Brooklyn 5 Miler (dropped down from the half marathon). I have 3 5K’s in November (including a Turkey Trot) and I’ll probably do a holiday themed 5K in December. Other than that, I’m not running any more long distance races this year. I’ll still do “longish” runs on the weekend to keep up my fitness level (6-10 miles). I’m thrilled that I will not be officially training for anything. I’m looking forward to enjoying running again because right now, we’re not friends. I’ll also start back up at the gym this week as well.
I know the million dollar question is – Will you run another marathon? The answer is YES, but I will not do a 20 week training plan as I think it may have been a few weeks too long for me. I am planning on running another marathon next year (besides NYCM) because I still want that PR that I know I am capable of getting – but it will probably be a Spring marathon because training the entire summer is not going to happen for me next year – I just will not suffer through that again.
I also need to take this time to say two simple words – THANK YOU! I lost count of how many people reached out to me on my blog and Instagram/Twitter. The amount off love I received was overwhelming and I really mean it when I say runners makes the best friends. I love you all 🙂
I also love all the special messages and inside jokes I received from friends, lol
…and a special thank you to my running coach, Abby, for sending me this shirt this week. She knew I needed a pick-me-up.
Have you ever had an epically bad race? If so, how did you recover?