13 things I learned running 13.1 miles

4 Jun

It seemed like a good idea this past February when we made the decision to run today’s half marathon in Chicago.  I mean, sure, we were a few cocktails in when we devised this brainchild of an idea but why not, right?  One of our closest friends lives in Chicago so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to mix business with pleasure.  Until race day.  [Even if you don’t have a fitness degree via Guide to Online Schools, you can still take advantage of marathon opportunities like this.]

Here they are: 13 things I learned running 13.1 miles today.

#1:  Although I’ve spent more energy than I care to admit trying not to panic at, well, life in general, it is okay to panic in the following heat-induced situations: when you step outside at 6:15 am and the temperature is already 85 degrees; when you are sweating just waiting for the race to begin (as one of my girlfriends put it: “My eyebrows are sweating!”); when, just past mile 2, all you can think is “I’m never going to make it through 11 more”.

#2:  There are times in life when you need to momentarily pull away from those around you and run/jog/walk on your own.  It took just one mile in today’s ungodly heat for me to realize that success would simply be finishing this damn thing.

#3:  Try, try, try again.  Despite a friend’s claim that running is “just one foot after the other”, you can bet I’ll stick to a much stricter training schedule next time.  Yes, I said next time.

#4:  Never rely on expectations.  Running alongside a lake – no matter how Great it is – did not provide the “cool lake breeze” I had anticipated.  It instead served as a massive reflective surface for the sun’s unforgiving rays.  (This would never happen on Lake Erie…wink, wink my fellow upstaters!)

#5:  Don’t always let the “squeaky wheel get the oil”.  The announcer may have had the mic but he couldn’t have been more wrong: this race was not where “the party meets the pavement”; it was where my face almost met the pavement.  Repeatedly.

#6:  Make time to take in the view and breath in an experience.  Especially one as incredible as the path we ran along the Chicago skyline.

#7:  There is such a thing as too much of a good thing.  I will never look at blue Gatorade the same.  Especially warm blue Gatorade.

#8:  Pay attention.  I am eternally grateful that I did not miss the cold towel station.  Like some people I know.  (I’m looking at you two.)

#9:  Trust your gut.  And don’t be afraid to slow down when your gut tells you to.  As race officials called a red flag – extreme heat – and I realized several people were receiving medical attention around mile 8.5, I knew I wasn’t overreacting as I slowed to a pace that would embarrass most New Yorkers.

#10:  Don’t ever let disappointment cloud an accomplishment.  As I passed mile 10 we were officially black flagged.  Race cancelled.  Two hours in.  Three miles from the finish line!  We were allowed to walk/slowly jog the remainder of the race but it wouldn’t be official.  Race times would not be available.  I do not care how I crossed that finish line…because I crossed it.  Not everything in life is official; just make sure it’s official to you.

#11:  Everyone needs a girlfriend to slap their ass half a mile from the finish line.  This is amongst the many other ass-slapping moments in life of course.

#12:  There is nothing more inspiring than succeeding at something  you never would have dreamed yourself capable of one year ago.  Well, other than that.

#13:  Always make sure you have a cocktail in your hand.  Even when you can barely walk the next day.  Shout out to the Chi-town crew for a great weekend!

As I met up with my two friends who also ran, post-race, there really was only one thing they could say: “Oh my god, she (me!!!) has a finisher’s medal!”


2 Responses to “13 things I learned running 13.1 miles”


  1. Happy Unmarried and Single Americans Week! « Unwedded Bliss - September 29, 2011

    […] tolerated; it’s encouraged: sushi making class; holiday BBQ in – gasp – Queens; the Chicago half marathon; splurging on myself; standing up for myself; meeting new people; meeting serial killers; […]

  2. 11 highlights in 2011 « Unwedded Bliss - January 5, 2012

    […] Chicago Half Marathon […]

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