I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I ran my first marathon. I can’t explain in words how incredible the experience was; something I will never forget. The crowd in Chicago is every bit of AMAZING! I actually think the crowd is what made the experience! As a rookie marathoner would do I put my name on a piece of tape and attached it to my top. It was a great idea so many people would yell my name and give me inspiration to keep going. Although the first time or so I heard someone yell my name, I thought I don’t know you, who the heck are you? Oh right, my name is on my shirt!
I started out the race morning with a couple of girls from my training group I was a part of this summer. FYI CARA marathon training is an amazing program! I met so many great running friends, I highly recommend, it was the only thing that got me up early all summer on Saturday mornings to run. We stuck together for about the first 9 miles and then Melissa and I stuck together for 20 miles! It was fun looking in the crowd as specific mile markers for our friends and family cheering us on.
Here I am past the 13.1 mile point getting support from my amazing support team. Having people in the crowd that you know and love to cheer you on makes the experience even more memorable! I wasnt tired at all and was ready to conquer the next 13.1.
I was initially extremely nervous about hitting a wall at Mile 20, many people say Mile 20 is when the marathon really starts and 20 miles was the farthest distance I ran in trainings. I also had heard the crowd in Chicago from 20-24 is dead, but that wasn’t the case. I felt strong the entire race and I don’t remember any point where there wasn’t a crowd of people cheering me on.
Although I didn’t physically feel too drained during the race my legs started to get achy about the last 2 miles, but with the large crowd on Michigan Avenue I pushed through. The walk from the finish line to meet my cheering crowd meetup was awfully slow and my legs defiantly felt like they just ran a marathon.
Having a cheering support team was amazing! I had planned out timing for a 9 minut pace so they knew which miles to hit at what timing. I ended up running a little faster than I had expected so I missed them at some spots, but with 3 groups of supporters I always had someone to look up ahead for.
I actually ran into multiple people from my training group from the summer at different miles. It was a neat experience to see a racer you knew! My goal was to make the 26.2 under 4 hours. I know a lot of people say your goal of your first marathon should just be to finish, but I knew I would be upset if I didn’t hit under 4. I made it with 3:51!!
I highly recommend the Chicago Marathon, especially for any first timers. If I didn’t have a wedding to plan next year I would defiantly be signing up for the CARA trianing group and running it again, but I think I will be under enough stress and will just stick with half marathons for 2014. This was my first marathon, but defiantly will not be my last!
What was your first marathon?
How many marathons have you ran?
Next running goal?
Break my half marathon record, but take it easy for the rest of 2013.