For those that don’t know, I ran in the 40th Anniversary of the Chicago Marathon this year this past Sunday. (woo hoo
I have been a runner my whole life (See post here on my running background!) and this was not my first marathon. Typically, I am well trained and in racing shape when I take on a marathon.
This years race was different for me in many ways.
It was the first marathon I have tried to tackle since starting a family. (Last ones were before I was married when I only had 1 child at home). BIG DIFFERENCE. Less time. More stress. Doesn’t help when training!
Secondly, I injured my ankle and leg running in a half marathon earlier this year in March. Was in rehab until July and was only able to do about 25% of the training. So going into the race, I was still injured and in pain, and under trained. Two strikes against me.
Third strike came with the weather. I am a fall winter running gal and heat does me no good. Strike 3.
So basically, I was setting myself up for failure.
These are my takeaways.. and lessons from the race.
1. Mind over Matter.
Despite being physically in pain (my feet swelled pretty bad and to top it off the first 6 miles my back started to spasm), the race was mental for me. For most of the race, I had to over come the pain I was in and force my mind to accept the inevitable and just.keep.going. My mantra was forward motion. As long as I kept moving forward, I would get to the finish eventually right?
2. “A Little Help from My Friends”
Truly, seeing people you know along the route is so helpful. I was in pain and annoyed and seeing some of my runners from my club at mile 13, my brother in law at 16, half of my running club (along with my husband Ryan) at mile 21, with some more friends at 23 is what got me through the race. All I kept saying is, just get to 21 to see everyone, just get to 21. It was instrumental in me finishing this year.
3. The crowds in Chicago were awesome. If you are going to run a marathon, I highly recommend. (Also recommend training the right way, lol). The energy of the crowds, the various neighborhoods you run by are just awesome. I laughed at a lot of funny signs, gave a lot of kids high fives, cheered on runners as I passed them by, cheered runners as they passed me by (most notably my sister Kristy who did awesome this year!)… despite being down on myself, I was able to enjoy a lot of the race.
4. No more pity parties.
Trust me, the pity party in my head from mile 13-21 was pretty sad. At some point, I told myself to knock it off, you don’t have it that bad. I thought of people in my life who would have loved to be healthy and running.
-My dad whose diabetes and other ailments have forced him from running, one of the loves of his life.
– I thought of my friends 19 year old, soccer loving son, whose leg was partially amputated earlier this year due to cancer. (He is finishing treatments now and will be working on getting a prosthesis soon so he can become mobile again).
– I thought of my friends very active dad who passed at 60 years young from a heart attack.
It put things back into perspective.
The race turned into a battle of wills for me and I was grateful to be healthy enough to start and finish the race. I started to run for those that couldn’t.
I feel like my lessons are ones you can take and use for everyday life.
– Sometimes life is tough. Sometimes you don’t want to wake up early and workout or pack your lunches. Sometimes there are work and family setbacks. But mind over matter. This too shall pass and you will be tougher for getting through it.
– “It takes a village” is a saying when raising children. I think it applies to everyone. Your friends, family, neighbors, coworkers are there to lift you up when you need it. Don’t be afraid to depend on them when you need it or to offer a high five or a listening ear to someone in return.
– Take time to enjoy the ride. We only get one life. May as well enjoy the ride. Take time for you. Set goals. Enjoy the scenery along the way.
If you ever had a chance to at least watch or volunteer for a race like this, I highly suggest it. Don’t be surprised if you sign up to train for your first 5K. (Need help or motivation? See me!)
In good health,
Kelly Devine Rickert MS RDN CSSD LDN
Need some motivation? Join our Run to Pub 6 week training series. Starting this week in 4 locations! (Orland Park, Arlington Heights, Schererville, and Frankfort!). Beginners encouraged!
More info and to register here: