My 1st Marathon – 2014 Chicago Marathon

“Most people run a race to see who is fastest. I run a race to see who has the most guts.” – Steve Prefontaine

After the marathon

Photo: Right after crossing the finish line in 6 hours and 33 mins.

I DID IT. I ran my first marathon on Sunday, 12 October 2014.

This has been an experience that I will never forget. Training all summer (since June) with Nike Chicago has been amazing. I was surrounded by a community of like-minded individuals who wanted nothing more than to see my succeed. I met a lot of famous distance runners this summer and I also learned a lot about training smart (nutrition, stretching, wearing the right shoes, etc). If it wasn’t for Nike, I don’t think I would have stuck through my training.

The week of the marathon, I did not run at all because I just wanted to rest my legs. The Friday before the marathon, I attended the race expo with one of my favourite Instagram friends, Michelle. I also got to meet another Instagram buddy, Auggie (after countless text messages). That Friday evening, Nike treated everyone to a superb dinner. This was a 5 course meal that definitely left me full. There were 2 guest speakers at the dinner – Joan Samuelson and Lisa Uhl.

Although I was very disappointed that I didn’t run the marathon in about 5 hours, I still crossed that finish line. The reason I ran the race in over 6 hours was because by mile 15, my left knee started to hurt. I knew that I would have knee problems because 2 weeks before the marathon, my left knee began to pound and it hurt. The knee brace that I wore did not help so finishing the race was very hard.

Some pictures:

After crossing the finish line
Photo: After crossing the finish line. I was in serious pain as you can see (I still tried to smile). There’s the awesome medal around my neck.

Friday at the race Expo
Friday, 10 October 2014. This was at the race expo. I had a ton of fun walking around the different booths including the Nike booth, food sample booths, and also, the New Balance booth, as seen in the photo. I met the creator of November Project (Brogan) and we decided to take a jumping photo together.

Me, Cindy, Susana

Photo: This was around mile 12 or 13. Cindy, Susana, and I were waiting to use the bathroom (well, the porta potty).

Running through mile 10
Photo: Look at the BIG SMILE on my face. I was very happy to spot a friend (Lisa) in the crowd. Lisa took this photo of me running.

Agnes Owns Chicago
Photo: Here is my medal 🙂 That t-shirt was made on Saturday (11 October) at Nike Training Club (NTC). Nike allowed anyone to come up to NTC to make t-shirts. There were Nike employees designing race cheer signs but some people made their own signs. There was also a machine that the Nike employees used to quickly make t-shirts. I love my t-shirt.

Seobia Cheer Sign
Photo: Here’s a cheer sign that Seobia got one of the designers to make at the Nike pre-race party at Nike Training Club on the Saturday before the marathon. Seobia added her own touches (colours) to the cheer poster as well as names of those she was cheering for. You can see that my name is written on there as “Aggie”

Tristan, Kari, and me - on race day before the start - AggieRuns
Photo: Sunday, 12 October 2014. Tristan, Kari, and I (walking to our start corrals on race day)

Here’s my race review that I wrote on BibRave:

On 12 October 2014, I ran my first marathon. What an amazing experience. Although I was plagued by injury the whole summer and I didn’t finish in my ideal time, I still managed to cross that finish line and earn a medal. I encourage everyone to run a marathon at least once in their life and the Chicago marathon will be a great race to run.

Some highlights:

Expo
…..a really fun experience to get the runners pumped up for race day
……it was very easy to pick up the race bib and t-shirt. Volunteers will guide you to the right spot.
……lots of photo opportunities with the Chicago marathon sign as a backdrop
….BIG but not too overwhelming. You could easily and comfortably walk around the expo to get all your free samples of snacks, drinks, energy chews, energy gels, etc
…..there were lines at some of the popular areas such as NIKE but I only waited in line for about 15 minutes. Other lines may take longer

Start corrals
…..it is pretty easy to find your corral. Just follow all the directions and arrive early. Plus, you will be given a race booklet a few weeks before the race (it will be mailed to U.S. residents) or you can get one at the expo. Make sure to briefly skim or read the whole booklet because it has important information for race day
….once my start corral closed, I waited for about 15-20 minutes before my section could leave. I recommend bringing a jacket and/or old pants to wear as you wait to start running because it was a bit cold in the morning. Before starting, you will be able to throw off your old clothes to the side and those clothes will be donated to charity.

Course
….a beautiful 26.2 mile tour of the city of Chicago
….you’ll pass neighbourhoods that really reveal the charm of the city
….my favourite neighbourhoods were Lincoln Park and Pilsen
…..the crowd along the course are sectioned off so they do not interfere with the runners
…..the crowd support was wonderful – so many cheers . I saw a 2 friends holding signs and cheering for me at the course and that gave me the extra motivation to continue running

Bathroom plus Aid and Water stations
……plenty of assistance along the course if you need the bathroom, need medical attention, or water/Gatorade
…….at the water station, the gatorade came first then water. So keep running through the gatorade until you reach the water.
…….water/gatorade came every 2 miles or so
…..sometimes there were lines to use a Porta Potti. I only waited once in line and that was for about 5 minutes long

Race Swag
……you will receive a dri-fit T-shirt at the expo that has “Bank of America Chicago Marathon” printed on the front. This year’s t-shirt was grey and simple
—the MEDAL is a great finisher’s prize

Post race
….I didn’t get to attend the post race party because I had to leave right away but I heard it was fun
…..the race organizers give our snacks/water at the finish. I think there were bananas too.

I thank all the VOLUNTEERS for putting together a fantastic race. I really had nothing to complain about plus by mile 18, I was already in pain (left knee issues) so I didn’t have time to think…haha.

Go ahead and #OWNCHICAGO in 2015. You won’t regret it.

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