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Chicago Marathon race report – part 1 October 22, 2010

Posted by bettyjoan in Races, Running.
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I have tried to write this post so many times, and each time I ended up just staring at a blank computer screen and giving up.  I tried to remember if my first triathlon race report was this hard to write, and I just don’t think it was.  The Chicago Marathon – the whole process, from starting training to increasing mileage to tapering to the trip and the race itself – was probably the most challenging, eye-opening, and life-changing experience I’ve ever had.

My husband and I got to Chicago on Thursday before the race, and we checked into the very posh Intercontinental Hotel right on Michigan Avenue.  It was a great location for our trip – right in the middle of everything, and since we are Ambassador members, we got lots of perks that made the pre-race nerves and the post-race pain a little less noticeable.  We had a great dinner with my cousin and his wife on Thursday night (FYI, for those who are interested in our Chicago dining experiences, I’ll be posting some things shortly on my other blog), and I got a fantastic night of sleep in a sweet King-sized bed.  I really love staying in hotels.  Housekeeping, free toiletries, no domestic responsibilities whatsoever – what’s not to love, right?

On Friday afternoon we had an awesome lunch and then headed to the Expo.  It was huge!  I normally breeze through expos and avoid pulling out the ol’ credit card, but since marathon numero uno is such a big deal (and since I really didn’t dig the official race shirt), I bought a bunch of cute Chicago Marathon gear at the Nike booth.  On Friday night the whole Georgia TNT crew went carbo-loading together, with our coaches’ eagle eyes watching to make sure we ate our weight in pasta.  Nothing like pounds of spaghetti to lull you into a deep sleep!

On Saturday morning, I woke up to take a short run with the team, and I started to get a delightful nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I had a great warm-up run – just a couple of zippy miles around the waterfront – but it brought on the first of many “Holy $#!^%, I’m really going to try to run a marathon” moments.  Hubby and I decided to watch some football to take my mind off my nerves, so we found the UGA Alumni Association bar and had a great time watching college pigskin and chatting with fellow Bulldog fans.  Then it was back to business – our team strategy meeting had me tearing up when one of our Honored Heroes (who couldn’t race because of a broken toe) spoke, and then the TNT Inspiration Dinner had me cracking up when John “The Penguin” Bingham gave a really funny speech.  When we got back to the hotel room, I set up my clothes and gear and tried to get some sleep.  As I anticipated, I was up just about every hour on the hour – I was just too nervous to sleep.

At 4 AM on Sunday 10/10/10, my alarm went off.  What happened next?  You’ll have to wait for part 2 to find out!

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