Last week, I completed my first full marathon! That’s 26.2 consecutive miles!! And I survived!!!
I will admit, there were moments where I didn’t think I was going to finish it (I had a minor setback at the Mile 15 medical tent) but we’ll get to that later. I walked away from the finish line with a medal and a Goose Island 312 in my hand! Here are all the wonderful, fun, emotional, exhausting and beautiful things I experienced during the long race weekend.
I took the day off from work because my boyfriend was in town and I knew the expo and packet pickup was going to be a crazy time. If you’ve ever raced before, you know how huge and exciting these things can be. There are so many vendors, giveaways and new runners to meet. By the end of it all, you’re ready to race the moment you walk out the door!
That night, I also came across a new friend at the Blackhawk’s game! And Chicago won so that was a blast!
Only one day left ’til race day so the last of the preparation was in order. And by preparation I mean eating and resting and eating and resting and then eating again and sleeping. My aunt and uncle took me to the Signature Room for lunch which is at the top of the John Hancock Building in Chicago. If you’re ever visiting, I would highly recommend stopping by for dinner or a drink at the Signature Lounge one floor up.
For dinner we went to Rosebud in Little Italy. It’s in the heart of my neighborhood and one of my favorites. This portion was enough to last me a few days.
After months of training and eating well and testing out fueling techniques, the day had finally arrived!!! It was an early 4:45 a.m. rise time as the corral gear checks opened up at 5:30 a.m. I felt surprisingly ready and was focused more on the fact that it was freezing than being nervous.
I had a few friends coming into town for the race and met up with former ASU Sun Devil, Jessica! Here we are in front of the starting line.
After we crossed the line, all bets were off! I could not believe how many people were running! And even more people out on the streets of Chicago braving the cold to cheer on the crazy! I’m so thankful for the supporters because they push you to keep going no matter what! The whole experience was so inspirational.
Before the race, I was talking with a co-worker about how the most important aspect of racing is to appreciate the experience. As runners, we get so caught up in working hard and training for the best time we forget that it’s supposed to be fun and silly and enjoyable and it doesn’t matter what time you get as long as you have fun.
Thank goodness for that conversation because I got stuck at Mile 15 with a minor setback and was in the medical tent for a good 20-30 minutes. I finished much later than I anticipated, but walked away with a great experience and plenty of room for improvement for the next race.
I was so blessed to have my family, friends and boyfriend to cheer me on during the race and am so grateful they were able to experience this with me. The Chicago Marathon also has a runner’s tracker so my family in Arizona was able to virtually be with me the whole way. I’ll never forget my parent’s call at the finish line to tell me how proud they are of me.
Also, the race winner’s swag was pretty cool too! I wanted to wear this out and about for the next week. I still can’t believe that I finished. I saw a great sign along the race and it read, “Pain is temporary but bragging rights are forever!” So with that, I leave you as the Healthy Latina AND Marathon finisher. Saludos, Latinas! When’s your next race?