In the spring of 2015, I decided to throw my name into the Chicago Marathon lottery. I have awful luck, so I figured there was not a chance I’d get in. But people always go on and on about how much fun Chicago is, so I figured why not? I ran St. Louis, I can do Chicago too. Right?
Of course the day I got the confirmation that my name had been drawn, I started doubting it. Anyone that has run it before knows it costs a lot of money, and you don’t get refunds. After much debate with my mom, she convinced me that that I SHOULD do it because it was an opportunity. We figured we’d get a hotel close to the start line, and my cousin would meet up with us to help us get around Chicago.
Training for Chicago sucked. It just flat out SUCKED. I learned that I am not a summer runner. My body shuts down in the heat and bad things happen. So many times I thought I had heat exhaustion and stroke. I’m also not a morning person. I work 2nd shift, so waking up to beat the heat never seemed to work.
And then I got walking pneumonia. Kicked my butt. Even after the meds, it took at least 3 more weeks for my body to perform normal. My running wasn’t happening and I remember one night crying because I knew I’d have to drop out from Chicago. I was pissed. Pissed that my body wasn’t cooperating with me. Didn’t it know that I wanted to run this race? Didn’t it know how much money I shelled out for this?!
A couple weeks out from Chicago, I had also signed up for the Pleasant Creek 30k Trail Run. I knew it was a trail race (obviously) but I was cocky and figured no biggie. I’ve done 18 miles before. WRONG. This race. This race was hard. So many hills. So much mud. So much complaining. The course is 9 miles…so we had to do 2 laps. That’s just sick. The whole time I was running the first lap I couldn’t stop thinking about how I had to do it again. At the halfway, I was ready to be done. But, I trekked on and somehow finished. It literally took me 4:10:33. When I got home my family wanted to know what had took me so long (I was not pleased).
Anyways. I figured if I could survive that, I could buck up and run Chicago. So off we went. My mom and I picked up my cousin and her daughter and headed to our hotel. We then had to meet up with the shuttles to take us to the expo. Since I was only used to St. Louis, I was annoyed with how long the whole process took. But really, it went smooth. After we headed out to get me some pizza!!
I was definitely nervous for this race, considering how training went. There was not 1/2 marathon for this race, so I knew I either had to finish the whole thing, or get a ride back to the finish. That was not an option. The morning of the race my mom and I argued a lot. I was nervous. She was annoyed with all the people. SO MANY PEOPLE. I of course didn’t read my instructions wrong and got in the wrong security line. Fortunately they let me in. Running St. Louis was so simple…you didn’t have to go through security or be down at the start line so early. I waited for what seemed like an eternity. Peed 5 million times because I get paranoid, and finally they were calling for wave 2 to start. 20 minutes later and I finally crossed the start line. I knew things could go wrong because I was already hungry. Not a good sign. I saw my mom and cousin at the 3 mile mark first. For some reason I teared up after I passed them. Probably because I knew I still had 23 miles to go. No biggie.
The next miles were interesting. I did a lot of weaving and was shocked at how many people there were running and watching. I know people love this race for the crowd support, but after running it I decided it’s not my thing. Way too many people for me. Somewhere around mile 10 I knew I’d have to pee. I found some porta pottys, and made my way over. I opened the door and bad things happened. Someone else had previously used it and made, um, a mess. I instantly started gagging. I have the worst gag reflex ever. So then I started trying to calm myself down, while crying and gagging. I decided it wasn’t worth, it. I’d have to find another porta potty. I came stumbling out and almost threw up. I decided to keep running on, because I’d wasted enough time. Luckily up ahead a business was letting runners use their nice regular toilets. THANK THE GOOD LORD. Next stop was 13.1. I knew my mom and cousin would be there and I couldn’t wait to get rid of my spibelt. It was driving me up a wall.
After taking my spibelt off, I realized it had been holding up my shorts. So I spent the next couple miles trying to get my shorts to stay up. LOLZ. Hot mess. I knew I’d get to see family again around mile 18 and that kept me going. But then, it all fell apart. You see, Chicago has lots of smells. And when you have a sensitive nose and stomach, bad things happen. I was literally gagging WHILE running. I also had a slight anxiety attack because the support crowds were so thick, I felt like there was no room for me to walk on the side and just breath. Tears came at some point. I just kept telling myself that when I saw my family at mile 18, that was it. I was done. I just didn’t care anymore.
But then mile 18 came and I didn’t see my mom or my cousin. I thought maybe they had gone ahead to mile 19. Nope. Mile 20? Nope. Are you kidding me?! I have to freaking finish this race. That means I still have 6.2 miles. UGH!!!!! It was also at this point that the aid stations started running out of gaterade. Not cool friends. Not cool. I proceeded to do a walk/run method for the next hour of my life. And then I just ran. My legs were numb and I just wanted to cross that finish line. Somehow I made it. Not even close to the time I wanted, but I did it. Got myself a bag of ice and limped to meet up with the family.
Overall, Chicago was an experience. Will I ever run it again? Not real sure. For now I’ll stick with smaller races 🙂