Tag Archives: marathon

Marathon Signs

Funny signs I remember from the Chicago Marathon:

  • May you chafe minimally – yea, Tim, Joanne & Amy!
  • I don’t do marathons, but I do marathoners
  • Hurry up, the Bears play at 3 PM – I thought this was funny, but I might not have if I was a slower runner.
  • the spray painted happy faces on the drainage grates in Boystown

And in San Francisco:

  • Hey girl, that fuel belt makes your ass look fantastic

My Chicago Marathon Story

Sunday morning I was snoozy-awake before my alarm as my nose was on alert for the smell of coffee, my new pre-run ritual.  I actually smelled coffee an hour before my coffee maker was set to start brewing!  Around 5:15 AM though, I headed downstairs to drink my coffee & start my morning prep.  Which really started with a big gulp of hot coffee and me burning my tongue! Can we blame anything that goes wrong on my burnt tongue?! Smile 

Anyway, I continued on with getting ready, including warm-up clothes:

  • Sweatpants & a Jacket
  • Armwarmers
  • Gloves
  • Hat
  • Trashbag w/ a hole for my head (for after I check my jacket & sweats)

My friend Dave & I cabbed it downtown and met up with another Dave (Hawk) at the Congress Plaza Hotel Bar.  No we did not drink before the race, we just wanted a spot to be warm before heading out to to the race!  We were there for maybe half an hour, and then headed out toward gear checks, port-a-potties & corrals.  I’m a bit superstitious and don’t feel ready to get into a race corral until I’ve visited port-a-potties twice, so that had to be done. 

I was a bit  worried as the corrals had started moving when I actually got out of the port-a-potty, and made a beeline for the 4:40 pace group I’d planned on running with. I tucked in behind the pace group, spied Bobbi & her sister, and then we started the race! 

The first two miles were good, but I began to realize I needed to use the bathroom (#1 this time! Not #2!).  I kept running, but the urge did not go away. Just as I was thinking through where the next aid station was, I realized that the pacer I was behind had her name “Kay” written all over her pace signs… and that this was a friend from Madison! 

But alas! I had my port-a-potty break I was jonesing for, and didn’t want to be rude with a “hi & bye” type of a greeting.  I figured I’d go to the bathroom, and then take a few miles to catch up to the pace group, similar to what I’d done at the Madison Mini Marathon

I timed the stop, and I was out for almost 7 minutes.  It was a quick, but much needed relief at the bathroom stop. And then I was on my way.

I spent miles 4-9 working toward catching up. These miles are chock full of spectators as I ran through Lincoln Park, Boystown, and Lakeview.  I saw Mike at mile 9.5 and felt like I’d been speeding by. But off I was! 

Miles 10 through 13 were pretty familiar territory, although I started to get hungry at mile 13 and took my 2nd gel a little earlier than planned.  Whether that was good or not, I don’t know. I started to get a bit nauseous, even though I’d only been drinking water. 

I saw my in-laws cheering around mile 16 and was so happy to see them!  I was a little worried I hadn’t seen them at all earlier even though I knew they were out there (but I couldn’t remember where I’d see them –oops!), but I had been cruising along and see a sign come up that says “Go Lauren” – I look a little closer and I see it says “Go Lauren Wong!”  Then I saw them!  It was good to get a quick hug, and then I was on my way! 

By this point it was warming up, and I realized my arm warmers weren’t evaporating sweat much anymore.  I’d been pulling them up & down for the past 6 miles, but at this point I took them off. I considered holding them for a while, but I didn’t think I’d see Mike or the in-laws again soon since I’d just seen both in the past few miles. 

Mile 17 is when I started to break down. I was SO CLOSE to my pace group. According to my calculations, they were only a minute in front of me, but I couldn’t see them.  And I was starting to slow down.  I realized I couldn’t get to the pace group. 

That was a hard and disappointing realization.  I was sad – because I knew I could do a 4:40, because I wanted to see Kay, and because I realized my execution fail on going faster for miles 3-16.

It was hard for me after that. I kept slowing , began feeling my legs tighten up, and started taking some walking breaks.  I was not happy, and at times wanted to drop out since I wasn’t going to make that “A” goal. My stomach was also a bit nauseous, although I kept drinking water. 

I was pissy through Pilsen & Chinatown, and rallied as I approached my friend Lilian at her cheering station at 22.  I realized at that point I just wanted to finish, however possible.  I got some chips (ya salt) & swedish fish, and kept running.  I walked again for a little, and rallied when I saw more Swedish fish (!) where I asked a stranger if I could have some. 

I also stopped for a dixie cup of beer at the Hash group (Mile 23) and then saw Mike after that.  He yelled to me – “bring it home” and I realized I had a 5K to go.  I can do a 5K in my sleep – most of my runs this summer were longer than a 5K. 

I finished at a good pace, telling myself “You can do anything for 30 minutes” or “20 minutes” or “10” or “5” as we got closer. 

I finished strong running up Roosevelt & Columbus drives, although I was a hot mess of disappointment when I finished.  I did finish 15 minutes faster than I’ve completed a marathon, and I am proud of that, but I expected more of myself. 

It took me a little while to rally and actually meet back up with my people.  The beer they were giving out before the gear check pickup was actually good.  Yay 312! After re-clothing myself in layers appropriate for the 50 degree weather, I then found Dave & Mike, and met up with the rest of my cheer committee (Yay Wongs!).  We chatted a bit and then all headed out to leave the race craziness. 

Chicago Marathon


So I registered for Chicago. Just like the other 30,000 people this week. 


I’m excited about it, and have some major goals:

  • Train well
  • Don’t wimp out in training
  • Break 5 hours, target 4:45 or faster. 

I said in my 2012 Goals that I wanted to wait before committing to the marathon again until I get faster.  While I haven’t given myself much opportunity to prove myself on this quite yet, I am confident that I’m working to get myself faster. 

I want to commit myself to selecting a good training program and commiting myself to following it through.  In both of my marathon training periods in 2011 (for the Illinois Marathon and also Fox Valley Marathon) I didn’t actually follow my marathon training to a T.  I’m not sure if I need to be a part of a group training program or be coached, but those are both things that I’m considering for Chicago.  I want to do well by me and meet my goals.  Even when things get tough in training, I want to accomplish what I set out to do. 

Post Marathon Activities

I’ve been back from vacation (i.e. the Amsterdam Marathon) for almost 3 weeks now, and I feel like I’m still getting the hang of things.  Here’s a random sampling of things that have been going on.

  • Work has been chaotic. Not in a concerned for job security way, but the projects we’ve been working on have been getting switched up each week.  I need to work on accepting that change will happen, and how I react to it. 

  • I lost my Garmin somehow on vacation.  I swear it was packed in my bag on the flight home, but I haven’t seen it since packing it up in Amsterdam.  I’ve been piecing together my own from Craig’s List & Ebay.  Works beautifully, and cost $30 less than the one I bought on sale last winter. Same 305 model.
  • Yoga & Biking have gotten hard.  I’ve had this weird thing in my back, and it’s exacerbated by biking to work, or doing yoga positions with weight on my hands. So those are on hold.  BOO. 
  • I’ve also been working on eating healthier.  This can be done without putting my back into weird positions.  YAY!
  • Last weekend, M & I went to ogle the very expensive Dutch bikes at one of the few stores in the city that sell them.  Definitely not something we can buy now or soon, but was fun to ride them around again.  They are excellent for commuting. 
  • Daylight Savings Time – it’s screwed up my workout schedule.  And I hate waking up to rain. 
  • CES Pacing!  I started with the CES Winter Warriors half marathon training program last winter and made some great friends through it.  It’s a good program to get started with training for your first half marathon, or to keep running throughout the winter, and this year I’m working to pace one of the groups on their long runs.  And I get to participate in the program for free by doing this! Yay!

CONGRATULATIONS to everyone who ran a race this past weekend!  I love hearing about your experiences, whether it’s a 5K or 42K Marathon!