Illinois Marathon Recap: Mother Nature Won

Well, guys, it truly does seem the 26.2 distance is a big old jinx for this running mama. About three hours into the race — nearly 18 cold, windy and wet miles for me — runners of the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon yesterday were told to exit the course and take shelter because lightning had been sighted. So why, you may wonder, am I smiling in the picture below, which my hubby took right after I learned the race had been canceled? Because I kicked some serious butt for those 18 miles. I maintained a consistent pace, I felt great, and I absolutely, positively know I would have finished strong and met my time goal. It was a huge disappointment to not have the opportunity to cross the finish line, but the race officials made the choice they had to make to keep us all safe. 


The bright spot in all this, for me anyway, is the next picture, taken by one of my awesome running buddies (who drove two hours and stood in the rain to cheer me on). Look how happy I was during the race. And, really, isn’t that the point? I may not have earned a medal or scored the PR I have been chasing so desperately for the past year, but my victory is knowing I did my best.


Thank you so much for all your support during my training, for both Illinois and Portland. It has meant so much to me. I’m still super bummed about how yesterday turned out, but I know there will be other races. In fact, I’m figuring out my next one right now. Stay tuned.

18 Years and 15 Kilometers

Yesterday was our 18th wedding anniversary, so my husband and I did what any couple who loves to run does: We ran the Hot Chocolate Chicago 5K/15K. It probably sounds crazy to you non-runners, but, for us, it was the perfect way to kick off our anniversary and celebrate with an activity we both truly enjoy. After my husband’s injury last spring, I am happy for any chance to run with him, but it was beyond awesome to have him with me in the start corral again (along with our 13-year-old daughter and her running pal).

I have to admit, though, that I had an ulterior motive in signing up for this race. After months of training for a marathon that didn’t go at all as planned, I wanted to remember what it feels like to just run for the fun of it. I wanted to hit the streets of a city I love with no time goal in mind, to follow my body’s natural pace and truly enjoy the experience. And I did. My husband and I ran together until the 5K/15K split, shared an awkward “Happy Anniversary” kiss (it’s not easy to smooch while running, people) and then parted ways. My Nike + app went berserk, so I had no idea how fast I was running. I just ran, and it was wonderful. I felt strong throughout the race, clocked negative splits and sprinted across the finish line with a smile on my face. It was the most fun running I have had in I don’t know how long.

Hot Chocolate Chicago 5K/15K finishers

Hot Chocolate Chicago 5K/15K finishers

Sometimes I think I get so caught up in obsessing about time goals and rigidly following training schedules that I forget the beauty of running and how much joy it brings me. What’s funny is that when I stopped being so hard on myself and forgot about goals, I set a personal record. I ran 0.14 seconds faster than last year. A tiny victory, for sure. But in the face of the disappointment I felt about my performance in the Portland Marathon last month, I’ll take it.

Next month I start training for my third 26.2: the Illinois Marathon in April. I definitely have something to prove — to myself – after Portland, so I know I will be serious about sticking to my training schedule. But I also hope to keep yesterday’s 15K in mind and focus on the journey to the finish line rather than the amount of time it takes me to cross it once I get there. I’m guessing that having my husband and favorite buddy along on some of my training runs – the guy who got me into running in the first place – will help me remember to not only keep pushing myself but also keep enjoying myself.

We celebrated our 18 years of marriage in a more traditional manner with a steak dinner yesterday evening. We may or may not have discussed running. We definitely had fun.

Cheers to 18 years!

Cheers to 18 years!