Last weekend was incredible! Had I never been able to run Boston, the Chicago Marathon is the real deal. The whole event was flawless from start to finish. They know what they are doing. As for my personal race, I decided about 4 miles in that I was going to see how long I could hold a pace that would qualify me for the Boston Marathon. I felt great until about 14-15 when I could feel just a slight tightness in my groin. I was still maintaining pace though! I lasted through about 21 and then decided to shut it down. I never thought that deciding to do that would still yield a great experience. I enjoyed a classic 312 at mile 23 with some frat guys, waving to some relatives and KC fans, and enjoyed a few laughs as I was heckled by some onlookers to keep going. I was breathless for the last half mile of the race. What a finish! Even though I was very far back, the crowd was still involved as if I was in the top ten. I shed a few tears at the finish and got lots of photos of me, a first time Chicago Marathon finisher, healthy and happy (and with a beer in hand).
My favorite part of the race was Boystown, or up in Lakeview. The entire first half was incredible, actually. West Loop was pretty boring after you passed over the half way mark and after Greektown. I wasn't overly impressed with Chinatown but appreciate all of the enthusiasm and culturally exclusive neighborhoods in the south part of the race. Overall, I would give this race a 11 out of 10. What an experience! I had the best weekend, spending it with my temporary roommates Candice, Valerie and Lynne. Even my parents made the trip from Iowa to cheer me on. I saw them three times on the course and could tell them were proud. This made the entire event extra special.
This was my last marathon for a while. The race was Sunday; it is now Thursday. I am four days deep into my "70.3 training". I've got a long way to go.