This weekend is the Chicago Marathon. For all y’all running it, we wish you the best of times! We ran it in 2015 – our first marathon together – and absolutely LOVED it! This post gives you our advice…take it if you want, give it back if you don’t.
RUN FOR CHARITY:
Both of us ran this race on behalf of charities. M raised money for the Special Olympics, as M’s brother has Downs Syndrome. S raised skrilla for Alzheimer’s Association, as S’s G-pa passed away from it. This is a great way to run this race if you don’t want to go the lottery route…Or if you just want to do some good! Combined, we raised a few thousand dollars!
This is a bit of a beating. The site is quite a ways from downtown. There are shuttle busses. The ride is long, but at least we had good company.
The expo is pretty crowded and overwhelming at times. But they do have free beer, so hooray for that. Brews are needed to deal with the crowds and commute.
This is fun. A day before the race, tons of people met at The Bean. We took selfies and got a little 2-3 miles in along the shore. Then more selfies, duh.
- Get there early. A crap ton of people run this race. You gotta navigate people to the tune of 40+ large to get to the porta-johns, gear check, and corrals.
- They paint a line on the street throughout the course – this line is the shortest distance of the race – try to follow it. It will help you hit your tangents.
- Everyone says the race is “pancake flat”. Mostly true, but like grandma’s mashed taters, there are a few lumps in it. Mainly the bridges over the rivers. Don’t be surprised by them*.
- 1st half of the race is downtown and mainly in the shade from the skyscrapers**. This is a good thing. Helps keep it cool. 2nd half of the race is on the outskirts of town. It can be sunny and warm. This was not a good thing. Be ready for it.
- Those same tall buildings that shade you, also jack with your GPS**. Everyone, we mean everyone, around us had inaccurate mileage on their Garmins. Mile alerts were beeping at random times. Don’t worry about it, just run your race and don’t obsess over your watch.
- Crowd support is AMAZING! Nearly 2 million people cheering their Windy City heads off. And the ethnic neighborhoods have themes – dancing lions in Chinatown, mariachis in Little Mexico and drag cheerleaders in Boystown. Soak it in.
- Do. Not. Go. Out. Too. Fast. It’s easy to do in the shaded and boisterous first half. We both made the mistake of thinking we could go faster than we could in the beginning. Suffice it to say, we did not have negative splits this day.
- There is a hill*. At. The. Very. End. Of. The. Race. “Pancake flat” they said…yeah, not at the end it’s not. Be ready for that stoopid hill.
- Enjoy the after party – beer, music and really really tired people make for a good time.
- After you recover a bit, spend the next couple days sightseeing sightseeing sightseeing!
OUR CHICAGO STORY
Personally, we learned a lot running this race. It’s one of our best and favorite marathons ever! We both PR’ed by 20 minutes S: 3:48:28 & M: 3:45:50. Our only regret was that we did not run together. We were assigned different corrals, but we should have found a way to start together. And after seeing our splits online, we realized we would have been right next to each other, just like in training.
We spent the entire 26.2 miles looking for each other. It was an amazing race, but we were sad we didn’t share it together step by step. After that day, we promised ourselves we’d never run separately again. Since then, we’ve run every half and full marathon side by side.
That said, when S crossed the finish line he immediately stopped, turned around and desperately hoped to see M. But there were 40+ thousand folks in this race. How could we possibly find each other in that mess? But about 30 seconds later, it happened: M crossed the finish line we had the biggest hug. We were happy we had a good race result, but happier that we had found each other.
This race also brought us our best good friends in the whole wide world of sports…
First, M got to meet S’s college bud, Rexy (who is fast AF – she ran this race in 3:05). And even though she lives in the great state of Ohio, we’ve all become very close. That’s what happens when good chill people come together. LOVE HER!
Second, we got to meet in person for the first time, the ever so internet famous HellyOnTheRun!
Her and her Hubby have since become our bestest friends ever…our “ride or die”. They even made us Godparents to their sweet little Benny! Can you believe that?!? Some people who we first met over the internet are now so important in our lives. And Chicago was the first in-person meeting. Destiny.
And with this motely crue of misfits, we spent the next couple days frolicking around Chi-Town. It was the. Best. Time. Evah.
GOOD LUCK to everyone running Chicago this weekend, YOU will ROCK IT! And who knows, it may even change your lives for the better forever.
Questions: Do you have any tips for running the Chicago Marathon? Do you have any questions about Chi-Marathon? Have you ever met someone from the internet in person?