A picture tells a thousand words, right? Well, I guess this one says ‘I did it. I’m a Chicago Marathon finisher. I am thrilled, happy, proud – oh so proud, tired, sore, elated, emotional, surprised, shocked, lucky, appreciative, strong, healthy, determined, grateful, loved, supported, driven, inspired and blessed’.
So yesterday was the big day. I ran the Chicago Marathon with a time of 4:29 minutes, that’s 40 minutes off my last marathon time and right on my goal of finishing under 4:30. I am so happy and I actually feel so proud of myself. It’s not often that I feel proud, but today I am proud.
I have to start by thanking the people who came and supported me along the course. I can honestly say, I would not have managed it without them. They seemed to pop up just when I needed a boost. So thank you to my friends and family who were there and also for those much needed words of encouragement I received online and via text from those who could not attend.
To the volunteers and crowds of people who lined the streets of Chicago to support all runners, a huge thank you. What an incredible atmosphere you created to help us all power through and be successful.
I learned a few things this time round, which I wanted to share in the hope of helping other runners…
Trust Your Training
You have to have trust that all your training will help you succeed. If I’m honest, I wavered on this a little as I was injured for the last month of training, I know now that I should have had a little more faith! If you follow a marathon plan and put in the milage and speed/strength workouts, your body WILL be prepared and ready to do its best.
In the build up to my first marathon 5 years ago, I was stressed. My whole life was centered around the marathon and hitting my goal, let’s just say I was a bit of a mess. I wonder if it is because I am a little older now and I have experienced some amazing highs as well as some major lows, that I took a different approach this time. I try and take something from all experiences, and from the lows I have gained strength. Strength to carry on and strength to challenge myself to be a better person. This past year especially has been hard for a very close friend and for my family. How could I be stressed about a race when they face major challenged and struggles each day? The Chicago Marathon is a big deal yes, but it’s a positive big deal. I encourage all of you to take a step back when you feel like you are getting swept up in something that should be a positive experience that is slowly turning into a negative. Whether that be work, being a parent, taking part in a race or event, anything. Try and gain perspective. For me it helped tremendously and I hope it will help you too.
Enjoy The Experience
It is very easy to get caught up in the race and not take in your surroundings. I hit mile 3 and realized I hadn’t even looked around me. So, I made a point of taking in Chicago’s incredible architecture, the different neighborhoods and cultures and made sure the surroundings became part of my race. I already mentioned how supportive the crowds were. I had my name printed on my shirt and it was the best thing ever. Hearing people shout your name and give you support pushed me like you wouldn’t believe.
Now onto my next challenge. Hmmmmm another marathon or another baby?!