Chicago Marathon 2017 {race recap}

On the one year anniversary of my first marathon, I figured I would finally share about my race experience.

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My alarm went off at 4:45am on race day. I surprisingly slept pretty well but I woke up anxious that the day had finally arrived. I met the girls downstairs at 5:15am and we were off. We were on a tight schedule to pick up Jamie at her hotel, then head over to the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) tent in Grant Park. I was super amped up at this point. I was jittery because of the nerves and the chilly air at 5:30am. The walk didn’t seem too bad at the time, but looking back, it was a long walk before having a run a marathon.

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We arrived at the tent to find a full breakfast spread, the DJ pumping up the runners, and an area to stretch and foam roll. I had breakfast, used the potty, stretched, and finally checked my bag at the tent. We took a large RMHC team photo then waited until it was time to head over to the corral. Majority of the RMHC team was in corral H since that was the charity corral, but the tent cleared out a little bit from runners in the faster corrals.

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The volunteers led us to the corral around 7:20am. We headed in through the security check points and continued to walk until we found corral H. There was a lot of walking before the race ever started! We waited in the corral until about 8:10am when we finally started moving up to the start line. The nerves were really setting in at this point.

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I started the race with Heather and Julianna and we made our way across the start line. The start of the race was pretty congested and we were in the city surrounded by the tall buildings. The weather was amazing since we were in the shade of the buildings and the crowds were insane. My adrenaline was pumping hard. Right away, my watch lost signal and my first “mile” clocked at the 7 minute mark. I expected this to happen due to my last Chicago race, but I was hoping my new watch would be a little better. I shouldn’t have been worrying about my pace at all, but I immediately wish I had a pace band since I knew my watch was going to be completely inaccurate.

I will say this several more times, but the crowds were unbelievable. I was so happy during the first miles of the race, I was running with a huge smile on my face the whole time. The city was so loud and I was taking it all in. Greg texted me the first time around the 5k mark to tell me where they were set up. It was a whirlwind and I was so happy to see them so early in the race. Unfortunately, I did not give proper hugs or hang out as long as the kids would have liked and they were sobbing after I ran off.

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I was cruising for the first nine miles and feeling good. Greg texted me again around the 15k mark to tell me where to look for them. Just knowing which side of the street they were on was so helpful. The streets were absolutely packed for the entire race! Greg said that the spectators were so amazing and would let them get to the front when they knew I was close. I lingered a little bit longer this time. Greg rubbed my calf and I was texting with Amanda to see where she was in the race.

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Amanda and I texted for a little while. She offered to hang back so I could catch up, but I felt like that was a lot of pressure for me to get up to her quickly. My calf was starting to ache pretty bad. Around the half marathon mark, I stopped at the medical tent for Biofreeze. I stopped at a second tent a little bit later for Tylenol. My half marathon split was 2:23:21.

I kept an eye on my pace, but I knew that I just wanted to finish. I kept calculating in my head what my finish time would be if I kept my current pace. However, the likelihood of me keeping that current pace was slim. Towards the end of the race, I was running slower and walking more.

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I saw Mary Beth and Mandy (who flew in from Kansas City to surprise me!) in Chinatown, which was such a great motivator. They were so positive and it was so good to see their smiling faces! Just down the road, I saw Greg, Michael, and Rachel again. My parents had taken the kids back to the hotel by this point. I thought it would be the last time I saw them and we discussed how and where we would meet up after the race.

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I was down to the last five miles or so which seemed to last forever. I knew some of the other girls would be finishing the race soon since they were ahead of me. As it was reaching the middle of the day, it was insanely hot. Unseasonably hot for Chicago actually. I thought it would be fine since I had trained in the humidity and heat all summer, but we never ran at noon in the middle of the day, so this was all new territory. As I made my way into the last couple of miles, I spotted Greg, Michael, and Rachel again. I almost started sobbing. They had gotten ice water from Starbucks and refilled my Camelbak. I gave them my headphones and prepared for the last couple of miles. After they saw me in Chinatown, they decided to go ahead and find me again. Bless their hearts. I so needed it.

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I probably walked more than I should have in those last couple of miles, but I made my way back to the city and the finish line. I crossed the finish line at 5:23:14. I was emotional, but also so hot and so happy to be done. My finish time was slower than I anticipated or hoped it would be. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed with how the race went, especially the second half. I was bummed about the weather and aggravated that my calf started bothering me so early in the race.

On the other hand, I was extremely proud just to have finished the race! I joined the 1% of the population that has completed a marathon and that was something to be proud of!

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After crossing the finish line, I grabbed a banana and a beer. Like before the race, there was an obnoxious amount of walking after the race to get back to the RMHC tent. My feet hurt and all I wanted was to sit down. I was so happy to see some of my cheer squad waiting for me at the tent.

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I will say again how amazing the entire race was. The crowds, the city, the support. So many spectators looked me in the eye, called me by my first name, and said such encouraging words to me. I was overwhelmed with emotion throughout the race. I will never forget how the city rallied around every single one of the runners out there for the entire race. I will definitely be back Chicago. I am coming for a redemption run.

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I also cannot express the gratitude that I had for my own cheer squad that day. They conquered that city for me showing up at the most needed spots during the race and wearing the most appropriate shirt of the day. Each time seeing them gave me that boost of courage and energy that I needed to keep going.

Finally, I trained with the best runner friends that anyone could ask for. These girls made the 16 weeks of training not only bearable, but fun! We spent countless hours together before the sun came up. They were there for me in the good times and the bad times. I was so grateful to have run this race with them.

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Cheers to 26.2 miles!

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Chicago, you did not disappoint. See you in 2020.

my weekend in photos

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grammy came to visit this weekend, so we started the birthday celebrations early!

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daddy held down soccer saturday!

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saturday morning, i headed up to atlanta for kelly’s wedding!

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i cannot believe how long it’s been since i’ve seen this girl!

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let’s get kelly married!

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mr. and mrs. martin!

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the venue was absolutely gorgeous!

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post-wedding!

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selfie with scott!

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zeta squad back together again.

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i could have sat in the lobby all day. it was so lovely.

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sunday afternoon bike ride.

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it was such a good weekend! how was yours?

my weekend in photos

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we headed to cooper’s hawk for date night and apparently had not been there in a while since we had eleven bottles of wine to pick up!

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when it’s date night, but you also have to run errands.

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then, we finished the puzzle!

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we packed up the car for our day away from the house. 12 hours away and we apparently needed all the things.

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our first stop was kenley’s soccer game! the mighty warriors played a great game.

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next stop, crosby’s tee ball game!

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after their games, we headed down to the beach club at disney to celebrate the twins’ 4th birthday!

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ucf game by the pool.

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the kids take on food and wine… for a little bit.

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my big girl.

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smoothies before dinner.

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sweaty and tired but still smiling.

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our saturday was crazy but our sunday was a little more low key. it was a solid final weekend of september.

how was your weekend?

my weekend in photos

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crosby had a rough week with croup, but he had his first tee ball game on thursday! overall, he did well all things considered.

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after a short work day on friday, we were back on campus to tailgate before the ucf game.

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knightro!

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friday night lights!

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the knights win!

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five miles before our busy morning.

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between the four of us, we were three different places on saturday morning. work, soccer, and tee ball. so thankful for friends who treat my kids as their own, cheer for, and take pictures of while we weren’t there. it takes a village!

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fort building on a lazy saturday.

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another lazy afternoon on sunday. just what we needed.

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i wish we would have started this on saturday. now i’m determined to finish!

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after a busy friday and saturday morning, we did nothing the rest of the weekend. i really wanted it to be a true fall weekend with football and pumpkin spice everything, but it was still 90 degrees out, so we stayed inside. it was still glorious and a much needed chance to regroup before a crazy busy season that is right around the corner.

how was your weekend?

Dahlonega, Georgia {September 2018}

Over Labor Day weekend, I headed up to the Georgia mountains for Kelly’s bachelorette party! I hopped on a flight on Friday which got me to Atlanta, then we drove up to the mountains late Friday afternoon. As soon as I got out of my sweet rental car, I snapped a picture. The view was amazing! The house was enormous and just perfect for the occasion.

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On Friday night, we spent the night in celebrating the future Mrs. Martin.

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On Saturday morning, a few of us went out for a walk…down the mountain and then back up. I just could not get over the gorgeous views!

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In the afternoon, we set off on our winery tour. I had so much fun with these ladies! We’re already looking forward to our reunion at the wedding next month.

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Our first stop was Yonah Mountain Vineyards, which ended up being my second favorite stop of the day. The views were great and the inside was gorgeous. The wine was also delicious!

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Our second stop was Kaya Vineyard and Winery. Based on the wine, this was my least favorite, but it had the best shopping. The gift shop was full of adorable rustic goodness.

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Our last stop was Montaluce Winery and Estates which was my favorite. The entire property was stunning. The wine was delicious and our dinner was fabulous. I had fancy chicken and waffles because I was in the south and I had to.

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We had such a great day celebrating our sweet friend Kelly!

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I spent Sunday by the pool with the girls and my Kindle before it was time to head back down to reality to catch my evening flight.

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It was such a lovely weekend away. Did I mention how beautiful it was there? This is an area that I would love to go back to so I can try the other wineries in the area.

my weekend in photos

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soccer saturday!

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determination.

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my boy. waiting through soccer before it was time to head to tee ball.

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he got his jersey at practice and is ready for game day!

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we headed down to epcot on saturday for the food & wine festival.

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the girls.

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more girls.

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love our date nights.

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group selfie!

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elsa!

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anna!

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we jumped on test track in the single rider line and lucked out with fun passengers who like to dab.

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goodnight, epcot.

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we had a great weekend though i didn’t take many pictures. the kids fell in love with the zombie movie and we spent the afternoon today in the pool since it felt like 100 degrees outside. where is the fall weather?

how was your weekend?

my weekend in photos

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tijuana flats with trevor the white tiger.

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a big crew for 5am!

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time for coffee after 8 miles.

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one of the team captains for the game.

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she had such a great game. she scored the first goal of the season!

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that’s a beehive…in our bush. eek.

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he was so excited to see his name on the fridge.

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girl time.

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selfies.

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we had such a great time at ellipsis before heading home to watch the ucf game!

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he had a fun weekend with trevor.

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can someone send some fall weather please?

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we had a fun weekend. how about you?