officially a marathoner!

oh my goodness you guys, i finished a marathon! i can’t believe that i can officially say that i am a marathoner. i never thought this day would come. i won’t lie, the journey has been long but honestly so rewarding. between all of the training miles, preparation and nerves leading up to race day – i am glad that i decided to run 26.2. and i couldn’t have picked a better race to run – the chicago marathon.

now, there is a reason why i chose chicago – 3 years ago (at the chicago marathon expo), i actually signed up for my very first half marathon. i was so inspired by my best friend running the marathon that i decided to jump right into this whole running thing. so a few years later, it only seemed right that i would run chicago as my first marathon. now, if you’ve read my blog prior you may remember that i actually didn’t get into the chicago lottery – thus deciding to run for a charity. looking back, i am glad that the lottery didn’t work out because running for team bright pink was the most incredible experience!

so, flashback to race day…i won’t lie, i was such a ball of nerves. i knew that i had done all of the training, but there is something about the unknown that really made me nervous. knowing that i hadn’t ever run 26.2 was daunting, but i had to trust that i was ready. by the time i stepped into my corral, i knew it was game time and that i was going to become a marathoner.

the best cheer squad around

now – weather wise, it wasn’t so great by the time my corral started. rainy and cold. it ended up raining for about the first ten miles – however i think the rain actually distracted me from thinking about the distance. looking back at my progress throughout the race, the first half actually went really well (i think the half marathon distance is definitely more of a sweet spot for me). by about mile 15-16, my pace definitely started to decrease – that was when i hit wall #1. all of my veteran marathoner friends definitely weren’t kidding when they said between mile 16-18 was tough. there was a lot of doubt and mental battles to overcome, but thankfully i made it to the other side. the crowd support along the way definitely made those miles much more bearable. and then wall #2 hit right around mile 23. it’s amazing how much of a roller coaster you go through – the highs and lows, physical and mental battles.

and with those roller coaster of emotions, i am so glad that i had the most incredible cheer squad around. making 5 stops along the race route to ensure that i had everything i needed and to push me through to keep going. they were there all the way up to that last turn – and quite honestly, i didn’t think i would do this but tears definitely started to roll down my face when i saw the finish line. i just couldn’t believe that i was able to finish something that a few years ago i never thought i would ever do.

i ended up finishing right around 6 hours and 23 minutes. my goal was to finish the race under the “course limit” and i did just that. i was just so proud and then the wave of emotions hit – relief, excitement and joy that i finished!

that moment before you cross the finish line…

now, even though i finished my first marathon, this probably will be my one and only. knowing my body, i am not sure that i would be able to endure the mileage again…but hey, i can check off “run a marathon before i turn 30.” and i want to give huge shout out to the bright pink team – they made the whole experience so incredible. and i am happy to say that i officially raised $2K to support breast and ovarian cancer education and awareness.

thank you to everyone who donated and supported me along the way. this was an experience that i will never forget.

until next time

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