Chicago Marathon Finisher!
Well, ladies and gentlemen I did it. Photo above is from Mile 3. I was VERY excited to be running. Actually, even though I did have some rough parts…I pretty much had this goofy smile on my face the whole time.
It wasn’t easy. I woke up at 5am to get out the nerves and get some food in my tummy. I looked at the weather and realized that not only was it cold, it was below freezing. Thankfully I put all of my layers on which were a bit aggressive and left my boyfriends place at 6:20. It was crazy to see so many runners, walking around in strange amounts of layers, trying to stay warm and get themselves pumped up for the big race.
Here is my “stay warm before the race outfit.” Note the disposable jacket, old sweatpants, gator and fleece hat over my running baseball cap.
I found the porta potties which thankfully didn’t have the crazy lines I experienced at the PF Chang’s Half-Marathon and got into my corral at 7am. I was a bit early but I made some friends and realized I was in the wrong pace group but I thought I could easily slow down as the race started. Bad idea.
The race began and I flew for the first mile. Seeing the crowds was amazing and I was so cold that I couldn’t feel my body. By the time I hit mile 3 I was running way faster than I should have been. About at 11m/m and I should have calmed myself down but alas, I did not. I got to see my mom and boyfriend though soon after and got jazzed up to run the north “loop” partially because I heard that the crowds were great and Boystown was super festive. It was awesome, I was staying on a solid pace but knew the first few miles were going to get me at one point.
I saw my mom and boyfriend again after a great 12 miles and then went west. Mentally I was doing great and I kept thinking that this whole marathon thing as going to be a breeze. I kept thinking that I should walk…just for a little bit. Problem was after seeing my mom, boyfriend and two of my best girlfriends from college I started to freak out a bit.
We were running west, and I had no idea where we were going. I told myself I’d take a break at 18, sadly though after 30 seconds of walking through a water stop I couldn’t get my legs moving very fast. Then started a bit of a crazy time of me being wildly confused but still motivated.
Then 22 hit me like a ton of bricks, my lungs hurt my feet hurt and I had never run this far before. I looked at my watch at realized 11m/m had gone to 14m/m and I was pushing it. I started to doubt myself and broke down into tears, partially out of pain and partially because I realized I was so close to making my goal. So I walked a bit, ran a bit and kept motivating myself to run just to the water stations where I could collect myself and keep going.
Finally we turned onto Michigan after what seemed like an eternity of being lost to what our direction was. Once I saw the Michigan Ave sign all of my pain and self-doubt went away. I got my big smile back on my face and just took off. So many people had cheered for my “Run Tiffy Run” shirt along the way and once when I started to slow down one lone lady who was out there cheering got in my face and said “Tiffy, run, it is right there.”
The “hill” everyone warned me of at 26 was nothing. I ran up it turned left and saw my boyfriend and friends cheering…obviously relieved that I had made it. When I crossed the finish line it was surreal. I was done! I got my 312 beer, some gatorade and took, what will most likely be, the worst finisher photo ever because I had warm clothes shoved down my top and pants.
All together it was amazing. The cold weather was a bit much, but better than 80s and the crowds were…well…just thrilling. Thank you to everyone that screamed my name. The lady at 22 who gave me a banana, the little kids that gave me high 5’s and to my friends, mom and boyfriend. I also got flowers from my high school girlfriends two days before the race which were so beautiful.
All in all I did it. It was a year in the making but it was so worth it. I’m going to take a week off but then start up again. I have NYC 2010 to work towards!
Pictures below are from the party my boyfriend threw for University of Chicago Booth runners and me, Chicago Marathon t-shirt personalized today at the Nike Store, and some awesome photos he captured of the day (including the amazing elites at the start of the race!).