I'm glad I went and ran the Chicago Marathon. I wish it had ended up differently. I'm glad I stuck it out. Race morning we didn't get too much warm up. We had to fight our way through the crowds and make it through security before getting to our tent; upon which they told us they were taking us to the line in fifteen minutes. I used the porta potty, got a couple of strides in, stripped down, and they made us stand right outside the corral for another 20 minutes or so.
I got off well. The lack of warm up didn't seem to hurt. I felt great, but I really need to learn the difference between feeling good and feeling easy in the first half of a marathon. Even though I didn't feel like I was pushing, it was too fast. I went through the half on target, but knew my legs were feeling the quick early miles. Fuel wise I was great. I got water and Gatorade at each stop and managed to get more in my mouth than down my front. All my gels sat well, too.
After the half we moved into more open area and the wind was much more noticeable, as were the climbing temperatures. I knew I had blown my chances (again) but vowed to accept the consequences, accept the hurt, accept my now bleeding feet and finish this sucker. I just concentrated on getting through each mile. Between 24 and 25 I passed Jasmine, which gave me a little boost. The little hill at 26 felt like a mountain. But, I made it through the finish.
It may sound silly, but I'm really glad I finished the race. I was disappointed in myself after dropping out of CIM. I didn't want to have two DNFs under my belt. I thought that if I ever want to become better and more experienced in the marathon, I can't drop out every time it doesn't go according to plan.
I know I have better in me. I sure wish I had started marathoning a good 10-15 years ago. It takes multiple efforts to learn how to race it effectively. Especially for an impatient runner like myself. So, Trials is not in the cards, but I'm not finished with the marathon. I'm already planning on Ogden in May. I'm excited to run a couple local ones before I try a biggie again. There's something about the marathon that keeps you coming back to it to punish yourself again and again in pursuit of that elusive moment of glory. I love it. I hate it. I love the journey.