The last few weeks leading up the 2013 Chicago Marathon were a bit stressful. My legs and ankles were hurting. Did I overtrain? Or did I peak too early. Also I was flirting with a possible cold the week of the race. This has the makings of being a really bad race.
I had tons of support from friends and family leading up to the race. I couldn’t ask for a better support group. On Saturday afternoon, I got a call from Coach Sklar. This totally eased the nerves. He brought me back to focus and help me finalize my race plan.
Race day began with an early alarm at 3:45am. I probably slept a total of one hour that night. Surprisingly, I wasn’t tired or anxious. The adrenaline was pumping though. I made my way to the starting corals. Security was tight once we entered the park. I was happy to see their presence. The park was crowded and temps were in the high 40s. The sky was crystal clear. All the makings of a great race day.
The race started at 7:30am. It took me 4 minutes to get to the actual starting line. Then, I was on my way. A half mile in, my watch malfunctioned under the bridge and it totally threw off my pacing. But, the constant math correction in my head kept me from focusing on the physical activity. The first 2 miles came in around 9 mins. A good warm up speed. The Chicagoans were out in force and cheering us on. It was a great boost. I settled into my race pace that bounced between 8:15 to 8:40 depending on the mile and the terrain.
The crowd and support were amazing through all of the neighborhoods. The only hiccup I had was at mile 18. I developed a cramp in my abdomen area. I ran though it, but it made the next 2 miles a bit of a struggle. According to my watch, I didn’t break pace though.
I crossed the finish line with a time of 3:39. This beat my previous PR by 11 minutes. And it’s 33 minutes better than my first marathon.
I am ecstatic and relieved. It was a race a year in the making. I can’t wait to get back on the roads and improve.