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2017 Chicago Marathon Recap


Last weekend I ran my second marathon… the Chicago Marathon. This is my 2017 Chicago Marathon Recap!

2017 Chicago Marathon Recap

The week prior, the hubs decided he didn’t want to go to Chicago… citing some pretty lame excuses.  I wasn’t too worried about that as I am not afraid to travel on my own.

2017 Chicago Marathon Recap

I flew into Chicago on Friday morning.  The plane from Houston seemed to be full of folks running in the marathon.  I sat by a young couple who were also running (his 1st marathon, her 7th).  After landing up in Chicago, I took the Orange Line into the city and checked into my hotel, then headed back out for some lunch and then to take in the Expo.

The Expo

2017 Chicago Marathon Recap

The Expo was CRAZY! I retrieved my bib, shirt and wandered around for a bit.  I tried shopping in the Nike area, but after I was shoved a couple of times, I lost all interest.  With all the craziness, I decided I needed to find the Goose Island beer bus for a little sample.

2017 Chicago Marathon RecapI checked out several booths and then headed to the Runners World stage for the course strategy session and then called it a day.  I caught the shuttle and then walked the rest of the way to my hotel.  The scent of a Garrett’s popcorn shop caught my attention on the way back and had to make a stop to get a small bag of the Garrett’s mix (it didn’t last the night).

2017 Chicago Marathon Recap

Marathon-Eve

Saturday morning was the We Run Social meet-up at the bean.  I slept in as much as possible, then got dressed to do a little shake-out run to the bean and back (it was about a mile from the hotel).  I connected with a few folks that I follow on IG and their blogs like Michelle from Running with Reds and Kim from Kooky Runner

2017 Chicago Marathon Recap2017 Chicago Marathon Recap

Afterwards, I ran back to the hotel and showered and changed for a day of exploring (with hopefully not too much time on my feet). First stop was for lunch!  I hit up Native Foods again for a big salad and some iced hibiscus tea.

2017 Chicago Marathon Recap

Then I decided to take my own boat tour of the city by getting a day long pass for the water taxi (cheapskate alert).

2017 Chicago Marathon Recap 2017 Chicago Marathon Recap

The weather was holding out pretty good (rain was in the forecast for the afternoon). I decided to go to Navy Pier and ride on the Centennial Wheel – what beautiful views of the city!

2017 Chicago Marathon Recap

Rain was looking emminent, so after the wheel ride I decided to call it a day and head back to the water taxi stop to take me back to the hotel.  I popped into Molly’s Cupcakes for a mini chocolate cupcake and chai latte to hold me over until dinner.  That is when the skies opened up.   I got back to the hotel, a little soggier than I had started out. I dried off, chilled out a bit then headed off to Roanoke for some pasta and a glass of vino.

2017 Chicago Marathon Recap

Once back at the hotel, I laid out my clothes… still undecided about which outfit to wear.  The weather was going to be warm, but cooler than Houston… capris or shorts… decisions, decisions!

2017 Chicago Marathon Recap 2017 Chicago Marathon Recap

2017 Chicago Marathon Recap

Race day morning came early… my alarm went off at 3:45. I pretty much tossed and turned all night, between nerves and excitement! It wasn’t hard to get out of bed.  I had some coffee and my shower, dressed and then went to the restaurant to make a banana and almond butter sandwich. By 5:15ish, I was on my way to Grant Park to the Molex Hospitality tent.  They wanted us checked in no later than 6:15.  I enjoyed quietness, checked my bag, and used the port-a-can. Molex volunteers escorted us to the corral in different groups, I went at 6:45.

It was cold… I was shivering, but I wasn’t nervous.  The only thing I was worried about was slow me starting in corral E with all these fast people around me and behind me in the 2nd wave.  I just hung out and started at the back of the pack, which worked out just fine.

2017 Chicago Marathon Recap

 

The race started on time… I crossed the starting line at about 7;50am.  I took it slow and tried race my own pace.  There were a ton of spectators and things to look at.  I kept a decent pace and kept an eye out for the blue line.  The first mile or so I had “Mr. Cheerleader” in front of me, I don’t know how he kept the pace he was shouting encouragement to those around him.

The first 13 miles went by so fast!  I wanted to run as much as possible, and I accomplished that on the first half.  Around mile 12.5 I stopped at the aid station to fill up my water bottle (and add some more Nuun Performance), and realized that I didn’t close my zipper compartment on my handheld.  I wasn’t aware when my stuff when flying out… I’m hoping that it was near the aid station so that I didn’t litter.  I lost my lip balm, gum, extra packet of Nuun and my beer ticket… but not my last Huma Gel!

2017 Chicago Marathon Recap

I saw Marcia from Marcia’s Healthy Slice around mile 13… stopped off for a little hug (sorry for the sweat Marcia), and kept pushing through to the halfway point.  It wasn’t until around mile 15 that I began to walk through the water stations… mostly to pour on me to keep cool.  I had heard from a few people that the back half would be warmer that the front half because it wasn’t as shaded, and those folks were right!  My pace slowed as I hit every one of those water stations.  At mile 18, I was happy to see the bananas! Around mile 23 I was overjoyed to see bags of ice at the aid station… even thought I didn’t want to stop during the last 5k, I couldn’t help it… I wanted ice!

The final 3 miles was all about sucking it up and making it to the finish.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from Mount Roosevelt, but when I turned the corner… it was definately a WTF moment.  I gave it all I had and kept running up that hill!  Turning the corner and seeing the finish line was a great relief… I was ready to be finished running and I pushed through hoping that I would at least get a PR.

2017 Chicago Marathon Recap

Post Marathon

Upon finishing, I proceeded through the finish chute where volunteers gave me my medal and a bottle of water.  I found a Molex volunteer to let me in through the gate to the hospitality tent.  With thoughts of getting out of my running shoes and into my OOfos, I got my bag from gear check and found the changing area and changed out of my wet clothes.  I rolled a bit with my stick and ball and then got some food… and a beer (didn’t need my beer ticket, whew!).

2017 Chicago Marathon Recap

Realizing that I was sitting zombie-like at the table, I tried to make a little conversation when I noticed the message board.  I had forgotten about this pre-race!  My family wrote nice messages to me for the run.  I lost it when I read my nephew’s message, almost snorting my beer out of my nose.

2017 Chicago Marathon Recap

At this point I was tired, and realized that I had to get back to the hotel… it was the longest walk ever!  I showered and tried taking a little nap, but my eyes just wouldn’t shut.  I got a little rest before heading out to Giorodano’s for my reward meal… stuffed deep dish pizza … that pizza never tasted so good!

Chicago Marathon Goals

As with every race, I set some goals to meet – here’s how I did against them:

  1. Be confident … trust in your training … be positive – Achieved… I wasn’t nervous at the start or actually at any time leading up to the race.
  2. Start out slow … race my own pace – Nailed it.
  3. Time goals … my basic goal is to finish better than my last marathon 5:20:52… with that in mind I have an A, B, and C goal.  C goal – 5:19; B goal – 4:59, A goal – 4:45 – Achieved 5:19:33!
  4. Have fun … enjoy the day … catch the race day excitement! – Nailed it – I had a BLAST!
  5. Find the Chicago Bloggers Press Box and say “hi” – Achieved!

Course and Parting Thoughts

The Chicago course is mostly flat… the hills being overpasses/underpasses.  It passes through 29 different neighborhoods.  I saw drag queens, Elvis, dragons, mariachi band, and a whole host of spectators with great signs to read. My favorite neighborhood was the Pilsen area.  I’m not sure if it was because I was past mile 18 (where I broke down at my 1st marathon), the enthusiastic spectators, or the bananas.

Pros

  • Great course
  • Amazing crowd support
  • Flawless organization

Cons

  • Mount Rushmore

Would I run this again? YES!  The timing of the race has you training in the heat of the summer, but it was well worth it!



I’m linking up with HoHo Runs and MissSippi Piddlin’ for the Weekly Wrap; and with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My no-guilt life for Tuesdays on the Run

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23 Comments

  1. Kim G

    I loved getting the chance to meet you in person at the WRS meet up! That was such a smart idea to do the water taxi as opposed to the boat tour!

    Congrats on a great race! The second half of the race was SO warm. I kept trying to run in the shade whenever possible lol.

    Reply
  2. Marcia

    Hey I loved that sweaty hug! Congrats on nailing your goals on a tough day. Way to have so much fun all by yourself! Love the water taxi idea!

    Reply
    1. Vicki (Post author)

      it was so much fun!

      Reply
  3. Kimberly Hatting

    Congrats, not just on another 26.2, but also on that PR!! Chicago looks like such a great race…..I might have to add it to my 2018 roster of possibilities 😉

    Reply
    1. Vicki (Post author)

      Chicago didn’t disappoint – I’d run it again if I got the chance.

      Reply
  4. Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home

    Haha! Mount Roosevelt is the worst! Congrats on a great race. I love Chicago and would definitely run it again–you just never know.

    Reply
    1. Vicki (Post author)

      You know, I walked past it the following day and it didn’t look that bad (of course I hadn’t just ran 26 mile either).

      Reply
  5. MCM Mama

    Congrats on a good race! Chicago is definitely on my “someday” list.
    MCM Mama recently posted…Fall running gear: I’ve found some new favorites…My Profile

    Reply
    1. Vicki (Post author)

      Thanks! I’d definately do it again if the opportunity presented itself.

      Reply
  6. Shathiso

    Loved reading this! And so excited about you nailing all your goals including a PB!! What a great race recap! Loved all the details about what you did pre-race.

    Reply
    1. Vicki (Post author)

      Thanks! It was a great, fun run!

      Reply
  7. Sonia

    Congrats on your 2nd!! Glad you got your goals!
    Sonia recently posted…It’s Not You, It’s MeMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Vicki (Post author)

      Thanks Sonia!

      Reply
  8. Jennifer @ Dashing in Style

    Congratulations!!! Yours is the only recap I read that didn’t focus on the warm temps. Guess that’s the benefit of training in Houston in the summer!
    Jennifer @ Dashing in Style recently posted…Marathon Training Week 12: Survived 50 MPW!My Profile

    Reply
    1. Vicki (Post author)

      It got steamy with the sun… but maybe maybe you are right, I trained through worse!

      Reply
  9. Janelle @ Run With No Regrets

    Congratulations on your race! Chicago is definitely on my bucket list. I’m glad you had a great experience and got to get that well-earned beer at the end! 🙂
    Janelle @ Run With No Regrets recently posted…Rock ‘n Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon RecapMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Vicki (Post author)

      It was a really great race!

      Reply
  10. Lacey@fairytalesandfitness

    Congratulations on completing your 2nd marathon! I really enjoyed the flat course too when I ran it last year. I agree with you, I would definitely run it again!

    Reply
    1. Vicki (Post author)

      Thanks Lacey!

      Reply
  11. Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy

    Congrats on meeting your goal! Sounds like you had a great race. Boo to hubby, though — I mean, I get it’s not everyone’s thing, but still. Although I will admit that the logistics can make my husband nervous & it was nice not being around that negative energy for my last half (shhh! don’t tell him). Although of course I missed my own personal photographer.

    Deep dish stuffed pizza . . . I’m drooling over here . . . and my Garrets fueled all my halfs this year I think. And not a small bag, either. I even ordered it online for the last one since I wasn’t flying! mmmm, Garrets . . .

    Congrats again, Vicki. Anyone who tackles a marathon once is a rockstar in my book. To tackle it multiple times –your’e a superhero!

    Reply
    1. Vicki (Post author)

      Oh, that pizza was sooo good!

      Reply
  12. HoHo Runs

    Congratulations Vicki! Receiving messages from loved ones is an awesome perk! I remember the how far the trek was just to get back to the family reunion area and THEN back to my hotel last year. It was so much walking and I had busted knees! LOL. I’m glad you enjoyed the experience. You make me want to go back for a do over! Thanks for linking.

    Reply
    1. Vicki (Post author)

      Oh, I remember your busted knees. It was a great time… I’d definately do-over.

      Reply

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