Race bib properly pinned and ready to run. Tip of the day: before pinning the bib to your singlet, crinkle it into a ball to make it more pliable and less noisy.
Instead of the usual pacing wristband, the Chicago Marathon and Nike created these easy to read and non-interfering temporary tattoos. Since this was my first full marathon, 3 hours 10minutes seemed like a feasible accomplishment. By the end of the course, I would be rather pleased by my somewhat faster time. Does the first time racing a particular distance count as a PR?
During the wee hours of the morning I gathered with my energetic race support team. T-shirts on, the team is ready to zip around Chicago (by foot and even by taxi -- just to make sure they'd be able to cheer often and loudly) and encourage me through all 26.2 miles. Fantastic job!
Still waiting for the sunrise, I am more than adequately hyped up on adrenaline, nervous energy, and just general excitement. After a leisurely walk to Grant Park and the race coral area, it's time to say goodbye for a few hours. One last hug and quick photo before heading into the racers' only area.
Reggie, Alyfia, Jon, and Carmen make a quick breakfast stop at Dunkin' Donuts.
After fueling up for a long day of zipping around the city, they're hot-footing to another spot along the course.
And, now on the finishing straightway, a final surge of energy to blast toward the line (the next three photos are courtesy of MarathonFoto, thank you.)...
Realizing that I've rounded the final corner and that I actually have some energy remaining (arguably it may not have been "real" and "remaining" energy, but more accurately a boost of adrenaline), I kick up the speed a bit. The time on my watch indicates that I've qualified for the 2013 Boston Marathon, but I really want to finish under the three hour mark.
The facial expression should effectively translate the effort. With all bodily energy, I was trying desperately to break the three hour mark...
Well, that wasn't so bad. Look at that smile. One of relief? In all seriousness, it was a wonderful race and an outstanding first marathon experience. Although I just missed the three hour mark, I am well satisfied with a finishing time of 3:00:42 (757 overall, 659 male finisher, and 150 in my division (male 30-34)). While there is some much needed rest and recovery upcoming, I am already looking forward to my next marathon. Now having run a full marathon, I have a better sense of what to expect from my body over the entire 26.2 miles and believe the next race I will be in a position to [hopefully] improve upon my time.