Age Group place: 731
You find your faith has been lost and shaken, Here’s your chance and it’s worth taking, Get on your knees and dig down deep, You can do what you think is impossible. Keep on believing, don’t give in. You’ve got the strength, to raise the win. Remember what one dream can do. You are unstoppable
Chicago has come and gone but what a race! 45000 + runners taking to the streets filled with thousands of spectators. The race took place on a cold 41 degree Sunday morning with temperatures barely reaching 50… ie perfect weather conditions. This year the corral system changed as there were two waves, one that took off at 7:30 and one at 8:00. The 7:30 wave required athletes to submit previous race times as to qualify for the earlier start.
The Expo was probably, behind Philadelphia one of the coolest and biggest I have ever been to. Full of plenty of booths it took my mom and I, a good 3 hours to get through most of them. I did, however, enjoy the free shuttles from Michigan ave to McCormick plaza, those were great and somehow our hotel was right by the drop off and pick up, and a mile from the start line (courtyard Marriott). They had a wall which posted everyone’s names that were running, a screen where if you scanned your bib it had a special saying just for you, plus so much more. It was so much to take in, but I loved it. The downside, the Nike booth ran out of some sizes for women so I wasn’t able to get the jacket I wanted, so future references, go early.
I chose to run this year with DetermiNation once again and I am so glad I did. Not only did I raise $1000 dollars for The American Cancer Society but I beat my goal and raised $1115. It made the race experience 10 times more amazing. First they have their own huge tent in charity village which is only for those who ran with a charity which have their own porto pots, a tent with heat (which was needed) with tons of volunteers available and willing to help those runners and their families which I really appreciated. They have food, drinks, throw away shirts in case you didn’t want to use your own, and a gear check in so you don’t have to check your stuff with the other 45000 runners. What I thought was really special was that they had a wall where you can post the names of those you are running for, and this was all before the race even started.
Race time arrives and they have us all smushed into our corrals with people checking bibs to make sure you are in the right one. Gun goes off and it took about 3 minutes for corral C to cross the line. The first half mile you go right under a bridge with tons of people lining it cheering you one, then through the heart of the city turning onto Michigan ave. The course took us up and down and around again. My favorite part was probably Chinatown with all the little old Asian ladies and men outside dancing to Gangnam style, the ROTC guys doing a sexy little dance and of course Elvis at the Fleet feet station. So much to take in while also focusing on the running.
There were plenty of aid stations and they were very long. Not as many GU as I have experienced before but they did offer bananas. Many people were not wearing running belts and I’m considering giving that a try at the next race as there were so many stops I didn’t need that extra weight.
I ran a pretty good half, 1:47:18 and was on pace to run a 3:35 but once again my IT bands were starting to flare up. Maybe it was from my cold that sidelined my training, the triathlon training I focused more on this summer or just the inevitable that this happens to me. Well, the second half was a struggle but I pushed through.
Even in the cold hours of the morning thousands of people lined the streets of Chicago to cheer us on and that helped me get through. Even that last 200 meters up a hill before the finish line where you just saw people upon people. The finish line shoot was large and by that time the sun came out so very lovely to take in as I cruised down the strip.
But I finished and immediately once you come in they shower you with your medal, warm up sheets, and you head straight for the food and beverage line including Gatorade recover and beer. They also provided us with bags to carry our food. Once I finished I made my way back to charity village as I wanted to change into warmer clothes.
As I’m making my way to the tent in the village all of the DetermiNation staffers and volunteers have rolled out a red carpet and are clapping and cheering for you. That moment made me smile incredibly because I felt I received recognition not only for doing something incredible but doing it for a great cause. I continued to make my way into the tent where SURPRISE! They had masseuses waiting for us. Free massages which was exactly what I needed plus if you were cold they had towels awaiting. of course tons of food, a live feed of the race and plenty more.
Chicago was an incredible experience even though it was not my best marathon time, it was an incredible city, great course, and many many spectators. I don’t think there was one thing I didn’t like (well maybe beside it being cold out). Fantastic experience especially while running with a charity. Highly suggest doing it with one as it makes the race much more enjoyable and special.
Perks: Awesome Course, Expo, running with Determination, food, finish line
Ehhh Not a Fan…: charity village far from finish line, medals were ok,
Final Grade: A