I can’t believe the marathon was 3 weeks ago already. I’ve been holding off on this post for a few reasons, but mainly it’s because it has been hard to put the emotions from that day into words. The whole weekend was nothing short of amazing and I can’t thank my mom, my aunt Nancy, and Lucas enough for coming along to support me. I’m also super thankful that Kyle was there to run too. He helped A TON with last minute plans and pre-race jitters. As I begin to write this, the events of that day begin to flood my mind again and I can’t help but be filled with a bit of somber emotion because it was such a happy day. It’s such a surreal feeling – I ran a marathon, I actually did it.
I can’t tell you what it feels like, but I can say it is one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done. I honestly think it was the best day of my life. Picture this: 45,000 runners, all running for a personal goal but doing it together at once. Some running for a cause or a loved one. Others just for themselves.
Over the course of the race, I experienced several (probably a couple hundred) different emotions. The sites, the sounds, the crowd cheering, the runners helping one another out. The runner’s high..
I ran as a part of American Cancer Society DetermiNation team – I ended up fundraising $1525!! And I thank every single person who donated to my fundraiser – I can’t say how happy I feel that my friends and family supported me and helped donate toward the fight to end cancer. I will say that fundraising was the highlight of my training. It kept me motivated when I was feeling defeated. Check out my first post about the marathon + fundraising for ACS here.
As for on the course, every time someone yelled out “Yeah, DNation!” it was like a boost of energy. There are over a million spectators at the Chicago Marathon but having fans there routing for YOUR team really helps.
Below is a photo from later in the race. Around mile 23-24 (I think). I think I had a moment with God there. My feet and my calves and knees were burning and aching and I knew that I needed it to be over soon. So from time to time, I would close my eyes and just let my legs carry themselves. It was the best feeling and the worst pain at the same time. But my legs just kept on moving forward.
By the time the last mile came around, I was ready to kick into gear and finish. My miles had gotten slower during the second half of the race but from my calculations with my watch, I knew I could finish in under four hours if I stepped it up.
I finished strong and in a heap of excitement. Prior to the race, I thought I might get emotional at the finish because during the week leading up to the race I teared up at the thought of it. But the finish was different – it was a feeling of fulfillment, like everything was at an equilibrium and it was exactly where I was meant to be.
I had done a pretty good job staying on task with hydrating and fueling throughout the race (although it felt like a part-time job), but I think that really helped with my energy levels. During training, Lucas rode his bike with me during long runs; doing so got me used to drinking and eating when necessary and I presume it helped me not get stomach cramps on-course. (Thanks a million Lucas!)
All in all, the whole experience was a success, knee issues and all. I knew instantly after crossing the finish line that I wanted to do another one (something I hadn’t experienced with half marathons). As for now, I’m all signed up for the St. Jude Rock’n’Roll Marathon in Nashville this April with some friends – I can’t wait!