I finished with a new personal record of 2:08!! I do have to admit that I was a little bummed because I thought I finished closer to 2:05 but I’m glad it was under my goal time of 2:10. My previous PR was 2:12 from the University of Illinois half marathon which I did earlier this year. Times from the other  marathons I have done don’t need to be acknowledged…I try to erase them from my memory. My ultimate goal is to be under 2 hours.

Overall, the race was great! It was the 10th anniversary of 9/11 so they asked everyone to wear red, white and blue to show your support so I wore these awesome stars and stripes shorts from soark.com, a white tank from Target and these super sweet stars and stripes headbands that Sarah and I got at the expo for only $4!

After the race when I felt like I was going to fall over (I wish I got a better picture of my shorts):

I was pretty surprised at the lack of people “decked out” in red white and blue but I did see girls in red, white and blue tutus. There were also a lot of runners carrying American flags which amazes me. I can barely run 13 miles, let alone running and trying to keep a flag in the air. There was also the random runners in a Hulk costume and full-body purple spandex. They both looked miserable. The race was led by one of the fire engines that was at the World Trade Centers at 9/11 and that they are restoring to be a mobile memorial. You can learn more and donate here.

Here’s a mile-by-mile rundown of the race:

– Miles 1-4: Sarah, Brian and I started out great! A little faster than our normal pace but we were feeling good. It was warm but perfect running weather.
– Mile 4: best spectator quote ever “You can be happy or miserable today but the distance is the same. It’s your choice.” I tried to keep this in my brain for the second half of the race.
– Mile 5: The first 5 miles flew but then I lost Sarah and Brian at a water station and didn’t see them again until the end.
– Mile 6: Since I lost Sarah and Brian I was really looking forward to seeing Paul. He looked super bored and lonely but I could not have been happier to see him! I think he was still struggling from the night before but he sucked it up because complaining to me during a race will not end well.
– Mile 7: Took a Gu and made the mistake of doing it when there was no water station in sight.
– Mile 8: It got EXTREMELY warm and a mile later, they changed the flag from green to yellow. A green flag means everything is fine, proceed normally but a yellow flag means caution because the heat index is at a point that runners/walkers should slow down and drink plenty of water. I yelled at the man who was changing the flag because I didn’t want to know for a fact that it was that hot and people around me were staring at me. I think I was starting to become delirious. Was no one else mad?
– Miles 7-10: There were a couple of bands and DJs along Lake Shore Drive but not many spectators. This was the longest stretch and I never thought we were going to turn around. I don’t listen to music so I was getting bored with my own thoughts at this point. This is also where I saw the leaders running the opposite direction in a dead sprint…not encouraging at all.
– Mile 9: I wanted to cut my legs off. My knees and hips started to ache and I was getting really hot. I stopped at every water station which I never do so I thought I was hydrated enough…boy was I wrong!
– Mile 10: Paul is not a runner and hates it but he “trained” 🙂 up to two miles so he could run miles 10-12 with me so I was thrilled to see him! As I was setting out my stuff the night before, Paul asked if I had an extra Gu for him! Haha so I gave him some Jelly Belly Sport Beans which he ate right before he ran.
– Mile 11: Bathroom stop (sorry TMI). I was not happy about stopping because I was beginning to get my second wind and porta-potties are disgusting!
– Mile 11: I was glad I could focus on something else and Paul was very encouraging as I started to feel like I was overheating and started to get the chills. I think he was dying by mile 12 but he knew better than to complain because I did not have any sympathy for him and I just yelled at a random stranger for something that wasn’t his fault! You could say that by this point I wanted to be done.
– Last mile: My mom and I have always ran races together and she is always really encouraging. When I am struggling (which is more often than not) she tells me to “just put one foot in front of the other” which is what I kept telling myself when Paul dropped off at mile 11. I sprinted the last leg and after I crossed, I left like I was going to get sick but I kept moving and soon had a beer in my hand.

Overall I was really pleased with the race. I wish it had been a little cooler and at the finish line there were a scary amount of people being taken away in medical vehicles but I did it!! Thank you everyone for all of your support! Also, a special thank you to Paul for running with me. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have beaten my goal time. Thank you Brian’s parents and Sarah’s parents for encouragement on the route and for the awesome food after! And thanks to Sarah and Brian for the support during training and during the race!! I’m looking forward to our next race!

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