Chicago Marathon Race Report

As you may already know, I ran a 3:01 at Chicago last weekend. It was still an awesome weekend, so here is the recap!

On public transit to get my packet! Rocking Brooks and CW-X!

We flew to Chicago on Thursday evening. Nate and I stopped at Walgreen’s for some Allergy/Decongestant medication the minute we arrived. I was SO stuffy. I don’t think I’ve ever reacted so much to the fall, but I’ve been stuffy for 2+ weeks during the MN harvest. I should probably get myself tested. Anyone else have allergies? Is getting tested worth it?

We didn’t end  up buying anything because the pharmacy wasn’t open and I thought the allergy + decongestant was the better option (vs. just the allergy meds). Turns out, though, Chicago must not have the same allergens in the air as MSP. After 24 hrs in Chicago I was breathing pretty much normally. YEAH! No allergy/decongestant meds needed!

Fast forward to the next morning. Nate and I slept in, did a 4 mile shake out run (I felt awesome!) and then made our way to the Expo. Wow! I have never been to something so large and so organized! I picked up my bib and then sat on the floor while Nate and his family loaded up on samples :).

At the Expo! 186! I tried to figure out how that (186) would equal 2:42, but couldn’t, despite any mathematical  tricks.

Nate and I hung around the apartment until our cheer crew arrived Friday evening. Seriously, who is lucky enough to have a packed SUV, complete with SIX bikes, come down to cheer? I am one lucky girl!


Breakfast the morning of. Claire is the best (right). She had the assistant coach’s “no stress” role down pat. She danced at the breakfast table and in the elevator. Also note her awesome smile! I may need to hire her as official assistant coach/cheerleader from now on.

Before I entered the gates, my herd put on their costumes :). I couldn’t have asked for a better send off!

Kieran and I before the start. This girl has POTENTIAL! Watch for the name! 🙂

Craig-man, looking oh-so-serious. He was most likely the navigator for the “herd”, so I’m  sure this is when he was contemplating their next course-spot. Check out the googly-eyes on his costume – they offset his seriousness :).
After getting in trouble for thanks for trying to cross Grand Avenue, Craig asked if they could lock their bikes up and just “cheer”. The cop responded with something  like, “Oh, I WILL lock YOU up!”. Cool enough altercation to make  it into the Chicago Tribune :). Note Nate trying to make good of the situation with hand gestures and Claire trying to sneak away :0

Early in the race. Smiling even then!

Realizing I was not (at all) on pace for the OTQ.  I was still within striking distance of my 2:42 through mile 9,  but then things fell apart & I kept slowing and slowing. There were only 3 miles where I scowled and pressed the pace. After that (after recognizing it wasn’t going to happen), I vowed to have fun and smile. Because if you’re not going  to run a PR, you might as well  have fun, right? 🙂
This solidifies the fact that I have AWESOME  friends and the BEST cheer crew 🙂

Can I just say that Claire is so cute she even makes this Mad Cow Costume look decent? 🙂

I kept a  smile  on my face  the entire way. Because, let’s be honest, if you’re  going to run ~20 minutes slower than your goal pace, you might as well enjoy it, right?
Despite my finish time, I will say that Chicago is a freakishly FAST course. There were a few more turns than I was expecting,  but still… TOTALLY flat! Love!


The most awkward photo. Let’s not try this again, k?

With SS, one of my athletes. She is just a JOY to coach – love her! We’re working together for a huge PR at Boston :). Like her Sparkle skirt?  Or “grape race” nail polish? 🙂

Deep Dish Chicago Pizza! And a Diet Coke :). I loved it until it hit my stomach… and then I realized I’m not used to this much or this type of food! Like the sunglasses? Nate picked up a few free pairs at the Expo.

I am enjoying the down week. I’m sleeping in, eating whatever I feel like (frozen pizza tonight! Yikes!! Don’t tell Rasa!), and only running if I feel like.

I’m still mystified by my finish time, but I’m not allowing myself to beat myself up about it.  I have a lot of reflecting and reviewing to do this week. Any thoughts/suggestions/comments appreciated.

I have a fun running -related meeting scheduled for Friday, so I’l have to keep you hanging until then :).  A likely life-plan blog post between now and then, but there could be major changes Friday. Stay tuned!

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  1. I'm anxious for the life changing news! If it's what I'm going through…I highly recommend it 🙂
    As for the run – yes, a fast course, but there is no elevation change, thus the same muscles the entire run. I haven't found a flat run around here where you get that same feeling. I was on target for a 3:45 in Chicago, but ended at 3:55 (not as fast as you by any stretch, but I experienced a set back there too…) You are amazing and have a great attitude! LOVE IT!

    1. Yeah, that is a little tough. I was surprised at how few of the women that were trying for the standard there didn't get it (because of how fast the course is). But, I loved the course and definitely think I'd go back!
      And no, no news like yours yet!!! 🙂

  2. Nichole this sounds eerily similar to my Twin Cities race! I applaud you for having fun and smiling all the way through! Of course if I saw my cheer squad in cow suits I would smile too! You got the bad race behind you now. Nothing, but good things in New York 🙂

  3. I love this blog post! I'm so glad you are finally happy, even if you didn't get your targeted time. It's really awesome to see you smile so many times throughout the race, I don't think you would have been that happy still working. I love the Chicago PD thing ha. Plus the Chicago pizza 🙂 I don't think I've wanted to be in Chicago since u were running there. Take some time off. Don't be surprised in grandma calls the marshall independent lol. Proud of you 🙂

  4. Oh my gosh I love this post! Thanks for the shout-outs 🙂 I'll be your cheerleader anytime! Also, I'm pretty sure my eyes are closed in the first pic, must have still been alseep. It was SO great to watch/cheer for you, cant wait to hear your other news – keeping us on pins and needles!

  5. Great post Nichole. I'm so impressed with your attitude about enjoying it. Because at the end of the day, if running is not about joy, what is it about? You set a great example for us slower folks 🙂

    Are you still running NYC? I live in the city and would love to come and cheer you on.

    1. I'm still planning on it! Although, may make the call not to? I had the thought on my run yesterday… it's such an awesome opportunity to be able to run as an invited Elite… but I also know I'm not in a good place training wise to be able to actually race it. So… still go? I'll let you know! Would LOVE to have cheerers along the course (I won't have all of my "herd" with me)!!! Have you run NYC before?

  6. Sorry to hear the race didn't go as planned, but that the overall experience was great. That about sums up my Twin Cities weekend as well, so I can relate! Keep up the positive attitude and I'm digging the cows 🙂

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