Running the Chicago Marathon this weekend was a huge success for me. Not only did I PR this race big time (by more than 21 minutes), but I PR-ed my way through my entire marathon training cycle (5K, 10K, 10 mile & 13.1). I improved by extraordinary amounts in every distance and now including the marathon.
Coach Amanda’s plan for me was to run my miles as evenly as I could in order to accomplish my sub four hour goal. That meant I had to keep approximately a 9:00 minute per mile pace. Sounded crazy to me, but I trained to do it and my plan was to trust in the hard work that I had done over the last several months.
At the start I gave my friend Sania a huge hug and we both both headed off at our own speed. I knew I was going to be running this 26.2 solo. In the first 2 miles of the race my watch kept going into auto pause and turning off even though I was moving. I should have remembered to turn the auto pause mode off, but it was too late. I searched the settings on my Garmin but could not remember where it was located so when I saw the “return to defaults” setting I opted for that. Once my watch reset it started asking me how tall I was, how much I weighed, if I was M or F etc. OMG I just wanted it to turn back on so I could concentrate on running the race. After pressing a billion buttons my watch started giving me commands in Spanish. Um, I don’t speak Spanish. Was I going to have to ask one of these runners near me from Mexico to help? Once I got the numbers to show up again on my watch I couldn’t get the watch to find the damn satalites. After trying and failing to get my watch set up at mile 4 I tried again at mile 5 and finally got it up and running.
5 miles into the race and I had absolutely no idea how fast/slow I had run them. Was I on pace? Did I lose time? Did I run too fast? I wasn’t going to let it get me down so I kept trudging on using the information my watch I was now telling me. I saw coach Amanda at mile 11 and I shouted at her that I was still feeling good. Which is a joke because of course I was feeling good at mile 11. My next goal was to make it to charity row at mile 14 because I knew I would have the Run For ALS cheering section waiting for me there. I loved their shouts of encouragement and happy race signs.
I was still keeping my goal pace no problem. The next landmark was to meet my family between mile 18-19 so I could enjoy their cheers, kisess, hugs and get the turkey sandwich I had requested. I probably stopped for just under a minute to give my girls the attention they deserved grabbed my sandwich and headed back out there.
As I ran I ate about 4 bites of my sandwich a few chips and chucked the bag to the side of the road. It was about mile 19-20 that my legs started to feel heavy and my mile times slowly diminished. I had no idea how much leeway I had since I did not have the time from my first 5 miles of the race. I just pushed my body as hard as I could hoping that I would finish in under 4 hours. It was in the last 5 miles when I walked through a couple aid stations. My brain was telling my body “this is the part you trained for, you can do it, pick up your feet, run faster!” but my body wasn’t listening.
Upon crossing the finish line I did not know exactly how long it took me. I was thrilled that I was finished, thrilled that I had a new PR, but clueless as to weather or not I had met my sub 4 hour goal. I pulled out my phone and checked my Facebook page to see my Chicago Marathon tracking finish status and it said 4:01:39. I was close, but really not that close. And of course I’ve been playing the “what ifs” with myself (but that’s another post) ever since.
The weather was amazing, being with my friends is always fun and accomplishing a huge PR (couldn’t have done it without my coach) was the icing on the cake. As for my sub 4 hour marathon, I’ll see you in the future. And that’s a promise.