My First Marathon: Chicago

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I’m not sure where to begin so I guess I’ll start with the lead up to my first ever marathon, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.  A lot of training and overtraining went into this race for me. I started way way way to early with some of my long runs which in turn led to a strained right hamstring which has been bothering me for the last 6 months, even after taking a three plus week break from running in April. But there were other races to prep for and I plugged away anyway. Fast forward to Saturday night, the eve of the race and my nerves were all over the place. I had trouble falling asleep and then didn’t get to sleep until after 11:30pm. From then on I was waking up each hour and checking the clock. 1:15am. 2:38am. 3:40am. Finally the next time I awoke was when the alarm went off at 5:15am. Then began the process of getting dressed and geared up plus taking in some nourishment before leaving the hotel.

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The packet guide said to be there by 6:00 to start the process of getting through security and into your respective corral, so I took that to heart. If I only knew that I probably could have slept another 25-30 minutes and been fine…Sigh, oh well. I got there with plenty of time and that’s including the fact that I didn’t leave my hotel until 5:50. The security line went quicker than the line I chose to use for the bathroom. Then I got to my corral and stood around wondering where everyone was. Plenty of room to stretch out and then some.

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And then the race began, after a rather long wait in that corral. Wow. Wow again. I have never felt that bit of energy and emotion and feeling before in a race. The crowd was amazing. I don’t know how else to put it. I had on headphones but never even turned my music on until the 15th mile. The cheering was so loud and motivational and then there was all the various pieces of music all over the course and at the aid stations. I was so juiced up I felt great. Every neighborhood seemed to try and outdo the other with cheering, overall support or by offering water/spraying water/different treats and snack (like Twizzlers or orange slices) and then there were pockets of music coming from people’s windows being pumped out by stereos. Just amazing. Great. Awesome. Inspirational. It made running this race a little easier for me. Now, don’t get me wrong. As the race went on and mile 3 turned into mile 15 and then to mile 22, my knees began hurting, my left heel was sore, my shins were pulsating some, but surprisingly my hamstring didn’t effect me as much as I thought it would. I received a moral boost at mile 16.5 when I got some high fives and cheers from family that had come to watch and root me on. That was a powerful feeling when I saw them and that moment of seeing them gave me a little extra fuel in the tank when it was starting to dry up. And then finally that finish line came into sight. Up the incline and around the corner and there she was. I took out my phone and looked like a dork as I filmed myself get closer and closer to the crossing point. I just wanted to capture that big marker being passed over my head. I had done it. I didn’t quit. I finished the Chicago Marathon, my first ever.

It will be a medal that I will cherish for ever. Something that if I had been told about doing it even two years ago, I would have said you were crazy and insane and that I would just stick to half marathons and shorter distances. And never has a post race beer been tastier too, lol. If you were to say you wanted to run a marathon, my suggestion would be to run Chicago. It’s a nice flat course. And it is an amazing experience that you won’t forget.

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If  you have any feedback or thoughts or questions, I would love to hear from you!

Happy running!

5KCrate Box Review

Disclaimer: I received a 5kCrate box to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

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5kCrate is a “curated quarterly box for runners of all levels” that costs $59.99 per quarter. They also offer a deal for all four quarters if you prepay for the year. And they have options for both men and women. The one key element of a 5kCrate box is that they intend to provide you with products that you can actually use and, potentially, use more than once. They do not believe in sending you a box full of gels and snacks that are gone too quick. This really is a great concept! Too often boxes from so many companies include one or two items that have long term usage and then everything else if a sample of a product that is meant to get you buy more. Don’t get me wrong, 5kCrate obviously is wanting the same results but they are providing products where, if you want more, we are talking about a different color or simply more in quantity. Below is a pic showing all the items in the 5kCrate box I was able to test out and use to provide this review.

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Some of the key items (in my opinion at least) were the Zensah running socks (so VERY comfortable), the Mission cooling towel and the Epic wipes. And those are just three of the items! Each selected item was hand picked by the 5kCrate crew and thoughtfully packaged in the box. When I first got the box and opened it, it was like a Christmas present for runners. And it included a personalized note thanking me for trying out their service and hoping I enjoyed what they thought would make a good box. I also like that they provided a variety of products: some hygiene related, some comfort related and some entertainment related. I think that as long as 5kCrate keeps their philosophy as it is, they will have many a happy customer and many a happy runner out there.