Running the Chicago Marathon
I had trained eighteen weeks for this and was as ready as could be. Given the time commitment, I’m not sure if I will be training for the 2014 marathon. The Chicago marathon was the longest race I had ever attempted. With 40,000 people running the race, it took me twenty minutes before I actually crossed the starting line.
The first thirteen miles were a breeze as I ran much slower than I could have to preserve my energy. As the miles started adding up, I began to feel the heaviness in my legs as well as the effects from the excessive heat. It was an unusually warm day for October.
We went through all the different neighborhoods of Chicago, such as Little Italy, China town, and Greek town. Many people from the various ethnicities in the different neighborhoods would come out to cheer. I addition to the million spectators spread across the course, there were bands playing at almost every mile marker, along with Gatorade, water, gooey gel and bananas handed out as refreshments.
At one point, following the 20 mile marker, there was a Goose Island Brewery stand handing out small plastic cups of beer samples. I was surprised and tempted that beer would be handed out during a road race.
I had seen many people collapse before and after they crossed the finish line. As I wrapped up my last few miles, I alternated walking with running to alleviate the cramping in my thighs. My goal was to finish it in four hours. But considering how hot it was and the excruciating burning pain in my thighs, my time was five hours and four minutes. I was happy finishing it at all. It seems that in marathons, we are competing mainly with ourselves.