On Sunday, October 9th, I ran the Chicago Marathon (my 8th one and my last one for a while). This one was special to me.  It was 10 years ago when I ran my first one.  I remember my feet hurting a lot,  I was cold and wanted to quit.  I told myself I would never do another one again. Yeah, right.

I took it easy the days prior to the marathon.  I went to the expo on Friday and stayed home most of Saturday.  I was excited, nervous, but looking forward to running 26.2 miles around Chicago.

Saturday night I went to bed at 8pm since I had a 4am wakeup call.  I took a sleeping pill and fell asleep right away.  However, Sunday morning I woke up at 2:30 and could not go back to sleep. Finally at 4 I got up, ate a peanut butter sandwich with coffee, and got ready.  

Perfect running weather, right?


I picked up a friend, drove to the train station, and then boarded the train to get downtown.  We had access to a “resort area” offered by Chicago Endurance Endurance.  There was lots of food and plenty of bathrooms.  I had a banana with peanut butter and tried to relax.  I did get a little emotional just like last year but quickly got my act together.


Finally it was time to walk to my corral.  Let’s do this!  I met up with two other pacers and decided to run with them for as long as I could.  I was in wave 2 and it took us 10 minutes to cross the start line.  However, we had been in line waiting for almost an hour.


I knew that the satellite signals were going to be wonky so I turned off the auto lap and opted to press the lap button at every mile marker.

As you’ll see from the picture below, I was doing really good for 11 miles.  I set my watch to only show the current time and I would only look at it after pressing the lap button.  I was shocked but happy and proud of myself to see the numbers after each mile.  I began to feel pain in my left hip around mile 9.  I remember I was a few feet behind my friends but managed to catch up to them.  By mile 11 I knew I could not stay with them any longer.  I decided to wait till the halfway point to see how I was feeling and to decide whether to stop or continue running.  


At mile 13 I saw Wendy and Marcia.  I remember smiling and saying Hi to them and kept on going.  I was still hurting but decided to see how much longer I could hold on.  I mean, I was already halfway done so just keep running, right?  I remember that when I saw the sign for Mile 16 I realized that I only had 10 miles to go.   I was more than half way there and now more than ever I had to keep going.  Shortly after that I saw a coworker with her family and stopped for a few seconds to talk to her. She asked me how I was doing and I mentioned my hip and how I wanted to quit.  She told me not to quit and to keep on going.

At mile 17 I saw a some Oiselle team members.   They motivated and encouraged me to keep going.  My favorite area was Pilsen.  Wow, so many people.  It was one big party with loud music and people cheering for us.  


I don’t know if I hit the wall but miles 21-25 were difficult for me.  The sun felt strong and I was tired of running.  I kept telling myself that I was almost done.  At mile 21 my time was 4:09 and knew that I could get a PR.  That was my motivation.  I would push myself to get through each mile.  I saw the 1 mile to go marker and I was in tears.  So close to the finish line.  Then the 800m sign and then the 400m sign.  I couldn’t believe it.  Just a little bit more to go.  I walked most of the small incline on Roosevelt (cursing again why this was before the finish line) before making one final left turn and seeing the finish line.  I ran as fast as I could.  Finish time is 5:12:59.  Yep, it was a 4 minutes PR set in 2012 in New Orleans and I bettered my time by 40 minutes from 10 years ago.  I was very happy to finish but even more happy that I did not quit or give up.




Overall, it was a great race.  Lots of wonderful volunteers and so many people cheering for us.  AMAZING!!  And great course! 

I may not have gotten a huge PR and I am a little disappointed in myself.  I trained hard this summer.  OK, so I did miss a few runs and the last 3 weeks I hardly ran at all.  I am glad I was able to finish but I know I could have done better.  I was hoping to finish under 5 hours.  Sigh. Maybe I should just stop here, let it go, and move on.  Another marathon in the books and call it a day.

Who is signing up for next year?  Applications for guaranteed entries will be available on October 25 and those with non-guaranteed entries will open November 1st.

Did you read the article about the Chicago Marathon medals showing up on eBay?  Would you sell your medal?    I really dislike this year’s medal and the one from last year is even worse.


I’m linking up with Holly and Tricia for their Weekly Wrap.

Hoping everyone had a good week!


21 Comments on 2016 Chicago Marathon

  1. Congrats on not quitting and on your PR! I think that those couple weeks where you weren’t running may have played a factor — are you thinking of giving it a go again soon? What’s next for you? Next time you’ll have to come to some of the team meetups! They are always so fun. 🙂

  2. I think that since you PR’ed then there is really nothing to be disappointed about. A PR in a marathon is a huge deal, especially for someone who is as experienced as you are. And the fact that you didn’t give up when it got hard at the end is really huge!

  3. Congrats Zenaida! I’m so glad you talked yourself into pressing on and finishing. It was wonderful to see your bright smile at 13! I didn’t care for this year’s medal but it has grown on me. You’re right: last year’s was worse. Pilsen is my fave too!

  4. Congratulations on your PR! I’m so stoked for you– can’t wait to see what Marine Corps Marathon brings! And not sure if you knew, but I ran Chicago 2006 as my first marathon too! I definitely remember it being cold… I actually picked up a jacket-thing someone had discarded probably at least 3-4 miles in to wear since I was freezing in a tank top & shorts! Glad you had better weather, even if there were some struggles. If it wasn’t easy, we wouldn’t keep doing this, right? 😉

    • Thanks! I am excited for you to run MCM but I decided not to run it anymore.

      That year it was late in October and cold and the next year blazing hot. Thank goodness someone’s thrown away item came in handy for you.

  5. Congratulations Zenaida! I’m sorry you had some hip pain but you did a great job of pushing through to the end. That mile 16 sign was significant for me too. I didn’t particularly like the medal at first, but now I see it as a reward for something I did that was so mentally and physically challenging. And I wouldn’t sell that on e-bay for anything. Thanks for linking!

  6. Congrats for pushing through. I have only run one marathon in 5:11, and am running NY next Sunday. Hope to run it in under 5 hours.
    I didn’t hear about the medals on ebay. I hear you though about not liking some medals. Some are so great and others just suck, but I am sure preference is a personal thing.
    Congrats again, finishing any marathon is a huge accomplishment.

  7. Congratulations on your race! You did a great job…I have heard such great things about Chicago but I’m not sure if I’m ready to sign up as I haven’t run my first one yet (Philly on 11/20)! You pushed through and still got a PR so kudos!

Thank you for your comment!