Wednesday, 12 October 2016

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon 2016!!!

Okay folks, this post will not do justice to what really happened but I'll try my best! It was just such a freaking awesome run!

On Friday night Matt and I stayed at the alt hotel near the airport since we were leaving  super early in the morning and we wanted to get as much rest as possible. Our flights went very smoothly and before I knew it, we were in Chicago!!!!

We are creatures of habit. Matt and I love to return to a place where we've already navigated and knew what to expect. We actually made comments about how smoothly and quickly things were going for us such as the cab ride, bib pick up, etc.

Mr. Matt!

Pizza at the expo...mmm.

I actually Met Run Selfie Repeat and Katie's Fit Script in the washroom at the expo!!!

Ready to run!!!!

Last year when we ran Chicago  I had just battled a major sinus infection. Well guess what?! The same freaking thing happened this year!!! :( Before we flew out on Saturday I had started antibiotics a day prior and other meds for the remainder of the earlier days that week. Oh boy. In reality I was feeling very good on Saturday so I figured I could finish the race, but I had these worries fluttering about in my head because of all the things I googled and heard about running a race on antibiotics. Never the less, Matt and I had both trained very hard and dedicated using Project PB and I certainly wanted to see him have a great run!

We did our pre-race ritual - Carb up on pizza and chill at the hotel.

Flat Heather was laid out and then we hit the sack for our early o'clock wake up call (4:30!!!!!!).

Matt and I walked about a mile to the start with tons of other runners up Michigan Avenue. (We love that the hotel is so super close to the start). Again, I had no expectations because of the meds I was on and my sinus issues so I was not nervous for the first time ever in the history of my 14 marathons!

Everything was going well until we got to Gate 1-our gate. There was a massive line to get scanned and patted down by security and the lady was a little rough and ACCIDENTLY banged me on the forehead with her metal detector thingy. :( That was all it took. I started to cry and Matt was like "What's wrong?!?!?!" I said, "I trained so hard and now I'm going to suck" wah wah....super tear fest which is not ideal when you're heading to the starting corral. The head bump didn't make me cry but I definitely think it opened up the flood gates and let my disappointment flow about my super drastic taper from the virus/infection.

Check out that bump above my brow! And glossy eyes from crying, lol I'm such a baby.
 Matt and I said goodbye and good lucks and got separated into corrals. He told me to run smart and listen to my body and that was the plan.
I told myself to pull up my big girl pants and get sh*t together!!! You trained hard and now you need to go run your A$$ off!!!!! * But of course my plan was to run safe and not do anything that felt bad for my body.
So that's what I did.

For the first 4+ miles I seriously had NO IDEA how fast I was going! My garmin was telling me I was running 5:36<-----YEAH RIGHT!!!!! LOL. It was also saying that I was going at 6 ish minute miles. I knew that wasn't correct because of effort and the fact that I was just behind the 3:25 Nike Pacers, (around where Greg said I should be but also taking into account my recent bug). Also, last year I recall the tall buildings and tunnels seriously screwing with the gps signal so I didn't freak-however, I did run this first section a bit too fast after seeing my splits...oops.

I just couldn't believe how fresh and strong my legs felt! I was passing people like nuts! I kept slowing it down after each mile, but then I wondered if my Garmin was just still acting wonky since my miles were mostly around 7:3X ish.
The entire race was seriously not a piece of cake by any means. I ran mile for mile and just kept thinking of all the gruelling training runs I did and long runs of upwards of 22 miles IN THE HEAT! Matt and I made a joke about Greg sitting at the computer on race day wearing a "Coach" hat and every now and again I'd giggle to myself about that. 

I hit the half mark in 1:40.....yikes! This has never happened before. I definitely predicted a major marathon bonk during the last ten km. 

But it didn't really happen. 

I took Gatorade, usually 2 sometimes 3! at every station on Jennie's advice because of the antibiotics. I fuelled every 5 miles with Gu that were stored so perfectly in this Rack Pack Bra!!! I chatted at the start line with two girls who recognized me from Instagram :0 about how awesome the bra was since all three of us were wearing it!!!!!

Sure I slowed between a few checkpoints, but once it was because I slammed right into a man who stopped at a water station flat out. I felt bad that he was probably exhausted and cramping but dude, you need to respect runner etiquette and pull over, if you can, lol (especially in a marathon). Also I slowed because I was worried about conserving energy and heck I also slowed a bit because MARATHONS ARE FREAKING HARD! There's always that point where I'm ready to call it quits, but that didn't really happen. I had banked so many tough miles and I was darn ready to cash them in!!!! 
This was the last 400m!!!! 
 Are we there yet?! LOL. I just kept pushing with no clue what my time was because of the gps freaking out.
 As I approached the finish I saw 3:28:XX and I knew I was golden. The elusive sub 3:30 was no longer a dream. I knew I took a couple of minutes to cross the start but I had no idea it was 5 whole minutes!!!!!!
I was seriously in shock when my Long Run BFF Jennie texted me to tell me my time and to congratulate me! She also informed me that Matt had got in under 3!!!!

Some random stranger offered to take my picture when they saw me struggling to take a selfie, lol.

Squinty eyed smiles from everyone!!! I love how the Nike pacers let Matt cross the finish holding the sign!!! Yes, we kept it and brought it home. :), I can't even imagine.
 We were both elated!

So celebrations were in order!

When you're on antibiotics and you insist on having a celebratory opt for non-alcoholic, lol!

My biggest source of motivation during those last tough 4 miles!!!! Love me some Giordanos!!!!!

Michigan Ave. Bridge Selfie!

The garmin stats....Yes, my garmin freaked out for the first 4 miles and somehow, I still clock an exrta 1/2 mile?!?!?

Out of 40 000 runners, I'll take these stats!
I have to say a HUGE thanks to everyone who cheered, tracked, wished luck and congratulated us. We are so appreciative! Super thanks to GREG!!!!!!!!! Seriously get Project PB to hook you up! ;)

Thanks for reading this super long recap and if you made it to the end, you get a  medal! ;) jk

Happy Running,
Heather :)


  1. Only one word...AMAZING! Okay...maybe one more 'goosebumps'!

  2. Wow!! That's a pretty impressive time for the both of you!! Great race recap sums it up perfectly!! Hope you're feeling better too! What garmin do you use? I'm in the market for a new one.

  3. Giiiirl, you're flying in that finishing pic!!

    Way to go, Heather! You worked hard and really earned this PR!

    1. Thanks Ali! I can honestly say that was the hardest I've ever trained for a marathon but at the same time it was the best marathon I've ever run!

  4. WAY TO GO HEATHER! I was tracking you all morning and so so so so excited for you! I saw you were being SUPER SPEEDY and came to your blog to check your current PR and then I messaged Megan and was like "OMG HEATHER IS ABOUT TO DO SOMETHING REALLY AMAZING!!!" Then we both started cheering you on from afar :). So happy for you!!

  5. Your strength is inspiring!! I knew you had a sub 3:30 in ya ;) Seriously, congrats on all the hard work. Congrats to Matt! I was tracking him too, and I can not even imagine moving that fast!
    It is so cool you both had such strong runs at the same event. It is fun you have traditions now lol same hotel, same meals...
    I can not believe the security lady bonked you :(
    That is great Matt has the sign!

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