I finished! I finished my first marathon! Yes my first, the first of many. When I ran my first half in 2012, I decided that I could never run a full marathon because running for over 5 hours seemed painful and loooong.
Well I did it! How did I decide to do it one of my sorority sisters sent me a link to join a charity team for the 2013 Chicago Marathon… So I decided to do it… why not! Worst come to worst I will walk run it.
The charity team I joined was Girls in the Game Chicago they are an organization out of Chicago. There mission is to empower girls to live healthy and active lives thru programming. Running and fundraising with this organization meant a lot to me during my undergrad I became an Hermana of Alpha Sigma Omega LSI one of our missions is to empower women. This charity seemed very fitting so I signed up. I was overwhelmed at first by my fundraising goal. I devised a plan and went with it. I reached my fundraising goal within a couple weeks of hitting social media outlets. It’s not to late to donate!!
Fundraising for this cause was fun and inspiring, receiving the email that someone had donated was very rewarding. On days that I didn’t want to get out of bed and strap on my shoes, I would tell myself that I couldn’t give up because I have so many people that have donated and I was running for the girls, I couldn’t possibly give up.
During my training I decided that I was going to run most if not all of the marathon. I may have decided this going up hill… bad idea.. never make decisions while going up hill. My training went well with some days that runs were cut short. I followed a training schedule from Hal Higdon I was diligent in making sure I got my runs in. I was very fortunate that a friend of mine ran just about everyday with especially since I needed to start running at 5:30am. Why so early ?! I work 2 jobs a full time job and a part time job, my part time job varies in hours from 5-20 hrs per week. I am very grateful and feel so blessed to have a boyfriend that is so supportive helping me with everyday chores, and pushing me, especially with calling me every morning to wake me up for my runs and work outs. He is a keeper!!
The week of the marathon I started to become nervous and anxious. We had received our packet pick up pass a couple weeks ago in our participant guide, I waited until Tuesday to open it, why?! It made me nervous just to think about it, I opened and immediately felt overwhelmed with all the information, I reviewed what I need to and ignored the rest. During this week I went to bed early because I knew I wouldn’t sleep very much a couple nights before. On Friday I started getting even more anxious, I use to run with my Nike+ sportband and it had gone out a couple of weeks before and I was using the Nike running app on my phone. Well on friday I had the instant need to go out and buy a new sportband for the marathon to help track my pace since using my phone would probably not work if my phone died mid run. I knew of 2 places that might have them so I went to the closest store and they were OUT!! So I went where I should have gone in the first place, the local running store. It was meant to be I went and they had, their employees are also very knowledgeable and gave me some tips and help my anxiety decrease a smidgen.
The expo was very large and overwhelming especially for a first timer however the packet pickup was smooth. There were all kinds of vendors but all I wanted to do is eat and relax and hope some of the anxiety dissipated.
Its Marathon Day!! I was focused to get there and wait. I stayed with Sofia and Tanya, at Sofia’s Mom’s apt. We dropped off our bags with our charity team at the Hilton, which was awesome because we did not have to wait in the huge line. They also had food, their hospitality was awesome! Sofia was in wave 1, I was in wave 2 meaning I didn’t start until after 8am. I decided to head out to the corral when Sofy headed out, I was in my corral by 7:15ish, I just wanted to get there and wait.
And I waited, meanwhile I looked for my cousin who was also running it and was in the corral next to me. I talked to a girl next to me about our goal time, and did what I do best while standing in one spot, people watch, I checked out their outfits and watched people run to their corrals.
They start opening ceremonies, the national anthem was sang, a fighter jet flew above us and the elite runners and wheelchair athletes started. My corral didn’t take off until 8:15! The girl I was talking to earlier was next to me and she decided that we would run together sort of… well since I got there so early, and have major anxiety of not being where I need to be when I need to be, I held it until we started, so I had to make a pit stop before we even started, so I stopped and she kept going, I never saw this girl again, no hard feelings on my part I knew I was going to run this alone.
The first 13 miles went smoothly I was right on schedule, I got past 20 miles and felt tired but I kept going. I do stop at all the aid stations and take a lil bit of water and put the rest in my water bottle thing, I ate my chews. I was really starting to feel fatigued the last 6 miles, I stopped at my last aid station around mile 22. I realized at 5K left to that if I stopped it would be very tough for me to start again I decided I had enough water to go to the end of the race. So I just kept going, they mentioned the hill at the end of the race at mile 26 was uphill, I had some fear but I trusted my training would help get thru it. Mile 26, I see the hill and I pick up my speed, why?! because I have conquered hills worse then this one and I really wanted to pass the guy in front of me. There is something so gratifying when sprinting up a hill, (at this point I don’t know if what I was doing was called sprinting :D). Crossing the finish line was one of the most amazing things I had done.
If someone would have told me 2 years ago that I would be crossing the line of my first marathon 2 years later I would have straight up laughed in their face and said they were out of their mind!! Maybe I am the crazy one for doing this but I did it and I ran most of it except for pit stops, I didn’t meet my goal time but there will be more… Yes I am doing it again!!
I am so happy that my first marathon was the Chicago Marathon and that was able to share it with one of my running inspirations, Sofia. We ran thru 39 neighborhoods, my two favorite neighborhoods were Pilsen and Boystown. Pilsen was my favorite mainly because they were playing banda, the music I grew up with I was kinda dancing as I ran. Boystown was so lively, I loved the enthusiasm. Chicago truely shows that it loves the runners with all the support.
Thank you all for your support!