I Love the Chicago Marathon

As a teenager, I liked to spectate at the Chicago Marathon while my dad was running.  Along with cheering for my dad and the other Team in Training members, I liked to shout things like, “Go shirtless guy!” “Go girl in the blue hat!”  And cheer for anyone with their name on their shirt.  I loved the energy and excitement of race day.  The whole city of Chicago feels different that day.  It’s an energy and a feeling I really can’t put into words.

In 2006, after watching my brother-in-law run his first (and maybe only) marathon, I finally decided it was something I could do.  So in 2007, I laced up my sneakers for my first Chicago Marathon.  And then it was ridiculously hot and they cancelled the race… so I didn’t finish it.  I had already been planning on the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco in 2008, so I stuck with that plan.  In 2009, I came back to Chicago and I fell in love.  It was hot, and I struggled.  But I had a new friend beside me every step of the way and I was so happy to “finish” a journey that felt like it was three years in the making.

Finally, last year, I ran my best ever marathon in Chicago on 10.10.10.  It was hot.  But not as hot as 2007, and that thought kept me going.  I smiled for every single step of that race through a city that I love.

My friend sent me this video recap of last year’s Chicago Marathon a few weeks ago.  (I can’t embed it here, but click the link, it’s worth it.)

I cried.  Then I checked the final date to get a charity entry to the 2011 Chicago Marathon.  There’s still time.

My focus is 70.3 this year, and I have been swearing up and down for over a year that I would not be doing the marathon this year.  I know myself well, and I know that after a Half Ironman, I will feel very entitled to sit on the couch in my pajamas all weekend long, never even thinking about a long run for quite some time.  I am not one of those people who gets all jumpy when they don’t have a lot of training.  I go out on short, leisurely runs with my favorite people, take classes at Lifetime, and fill the rest of my training hours with things I didn’t have time to do while I was training.

There is no way I’d put in the time or effort necessary to have a great race like I did last year.

I fully plan on spending the wee morning hours volunteering (to get the sweet jacket, of course), and then running around the course to see my friend complete her first marathon.  I plan to be there at the hardest miles to help her find the strength to keep going.

And yet… something in me still wants to sign up.

Somebody please keep me away from the registration page until June 30.


Want to read about my previous marathons?  (I mean, it’s rainy out again, so you might have exhausted all the other things you want to do.)  I have been pretty fickle about where I blog until recently, so my race reports are all over the interwebs.  Lucky for you, I tracked them down:



Filed under Run

2 responses to “I Love the Chicago Marathon

  1. I just read all of your previous race experiences, and, as a slow runner who had a horrible experience in my first full a couple of months ago (having walked the last 4 miles because I was sobbing and hyperventilating and ended up having a time an hour longer than I had been on pace for the rest of the race), and I just wanted to say how inspiring reading all of them was, and how inspiring you are. I’ve been toying with the idea of running another full soon, and I think reading your stories may have, truthfully, been just what I needed. Thank you for sharing :)

    Also, I <3 GOTR

    • Lauren

      Thanks for reading, Jamie! I actually re-read all my old posts yesterday and thought, “Wow, I don’t remember struggling so much in ALL of my marathons!” You’ll find your groove. Marathoning is intense and there is a delicate balance of nutrition, pacing, and attitude that comes into play during every single race for me. As you saw, it wasn’t until my fourth marathon that I truly feel I got it right. Make sure you practice everything from what to wear to positive self talk on your training runs. You CAN do another full marathon!

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