This is technically my recap of my second marathon. But trust me- we’re going to circle back to the concept of “anyone can run”.
Let me preface this by telling you two stories-
1) Four years ago, I did my first 5k. I had to train for it because I was so out of shape and so not a runner. Like I legitimately followed a plan to get ready. That race was the start line.
2) Last year I trained for and completed my first marathon. The week leading up to the race my hip began hurting out of nowhere. I thought it was the taper crazies. Looking back it was overuse and likely my hip out of alignment- but it caused a lot of pain throughout the race last year, both mentally and physically.
This year. I signed up for Chicago again, and got in the lottery. Throughout the entire training process people asked me if I had a time goal. My steady response was “I just want the experience I didn’t get last year”. And it was that was mainly what I wanted.
And ultimately- that’s what I did.
– I had fun- as much fun that is possible when your quads are on fire….
– I ran the entire thing, the entire way- with only a few “pauses” for Gatorade and water bottle refills
– it was hotter than I expected and I still felt fine
– my main priority was to have this enjoyable experience- the one I didn’t have last year- and I did that.
– I wasn’t in any pain (outside of the obvious aches and pains felt whilst running a marathon)
I saw so many friends while I was in Chicago, and was even able to run with one of my running buddies. I also had family come into town for the marathon to cheer, seeing them along the course made it that much easier to get through the race.
When I look back on all of my positive experiences I really don’t feel anything but happiness. I’m thankful for all of the friends I got to see, for the spectators that make Chicago great, my Venados squad, and my dad and step mom for coming down to watch- and especially for Morgan getting them around the entire city. It made the race seem so much shorter than what it actually was.
With that being said: I’m retiring from marathons.
I actually feel so good that I’m already planning marathon #3. If my self from 2011 heard me say that I feel confident past Sarah would think future Sarah was high.
So. Anyone can run. Whether it’s a marathon, whether is a mile. I joke about losing my sanity- and while I’m not sure how much of that I actually had to lose to begin with… But my point is- it CAN be done, no matter where you start.
And I will tell anyone with ABSOLUTE certainty. When you line up for a race, whether it be your first, 5k, half, or even a full- you will be embarking on something bigger than you, and something very cool (ridiculous understatement).
If you’ve EVER considered doing the Chicago Marathon- SIGN UP! It’s such a fantastic race. It showcases everything that’s amazing about Chicago- not just the sights- but the people. The volunteers who fill up your water bottle, and tell you to keep going, the people who bring their hoses out to the street to cool you off, the residents who stand on the street to hand you any variety of: Vaseline, sunblock, jelly beans, watermelon, pretzels, gummy bears- the list goes on. Things that aren’t necessary- but make all the difference.
Finishing Chicago, surrounded by friends and family- and meeting my goals- was easily one of the best things I’ve experienced. That and the iced coffee Morgan had waiting for me afterwards.
All in all this marathon was everything I wanted it to be – in every sense of the word. It turned out to be everything I had built it to be, everything I trained for.
It was genuinely amazing. So many people helped make it such, and I am forever greatful for the love, the hospitality, my friends and family.