Chicago Marathon 2017 Race Recap


I ran my first marathon almost two weeks ago. 

I can't wait for my next one, but let's work our way through this beast. 

First of all, let's talk about my feelings on this race. I felt disappointed in myself for not training as hard as I should have...but still I felt so proud of myself as I crossed that finish line. At mile 13 I cried because I realized "oh my God, I'm running a marathon" and at mile 17 I cried because I realized "Omg I have such an amazing support system behind me." When I finished though, I didn't have tears of any kind; all I felt was pure, unadulterated elation. It was the same heart-pounding, adrenaline-laced excitement I feel when I drive under the welcome to Disney World Signs, tbh. 

Photo by Andrew Engleheart

Photo by Andrew Engleheart

Photo by Andrew Engleheart

Photo by Andrew Engleheart

I LOVED the crowd support and I LOVED the volunteers. I felt like this race was so well organized and everyone was so nice and helpful, even when directing crowds. My favorite neighborhood to run through was Pilsen, hands down. The excitement was like electricity through the air. I LOVED it! To everyone who saw me on the course and said hi and asked how I was doing, I am so grateful for you. To every spectator that yelled my name and told me I could do it as I limped near the end of the race, thank you so much. I slowed down at one spot and a girl reached out and touched my shoulder saying "Brittany, you have GOT this. Look how far you've come!" and when I started running again, she and her friends screamed for me. It was so kind of her.


Next, let's get physical. Coach Robyn told us the only thing we were promised on race day was suffering, and she was right. I started to hurt right around mile 15. I started slathering on Biofreeze (poor-man's Icy/Hot) preventatively around mile 13, and it was absolutely necessary by mile 18. I did use a Hot Shot cramping relief shot and it helped with my quads and hamstring cramping a LOT, but nothing was helping my IT bands. I had so much Biofreeze on that there were globs of it dripping off of me. At mile 18, I started my pattern of walking through the entirety of a water stop, and then running to the next. I like to slow down at water stops anyway so that I can actually consume the water without waterboarding myself, but I was limping through them at that point. I took 6 total Salt Sticks and that definitely helped, as well as drinking both Gatorade AND water at every stop. If Gatorade is good enough for paramedics to use on victims of heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and dehydration, it's good enough to keep me rolling, and that it did. At around mile 23 I  saw a woman holding a sign that propelled me through the final 5k: "There will come a day when you cannot run. Today is not that day."


What's next? More marathons are next. I'm planning on running 26.2 once more in Champaign for the Illinois Marathon this spring, in addition to hopefully running Chicago again next year. I've not given up my BQ dream. I've never felt so passionate and focused on running...on anything, really, and I can't wait to finally hit that BQ, one day. 


Until then, catch me at Pumpkins in the Park on Saturday, Hot Chocolate 15k next weekend, the F^3 Lake Half Marathon in January, and the Princess Half Marathon Fairy Tale Challenge in February. I'm sure there will be more races sprinkled in ;)