Monday, October 15, 2012

iRan and Owned Chicago :)

Ready or not, here I come Chi-town! 

During my 6-week rest and no running period, I was feeling pretty down as I was hoping much earlier on to attempt a PB at the marathon, even if it was just a minute or two... But thanks to my amazing support system (you know who you are ), I got myself psyched for the marathon again last month when I started running again :) BUT, 2 days before Captain and I left for San Francisco (SF), I caught the flu bug from my lookalike brother and inevitably it got really bad on my 2nd day in SF and was down with viral infection... Cough, runny nose, phlegm, sore throat, you name it, I was experiencing all of it... So, I had to rely on the meds that I bought from Walgreens pharmacy... I got frustrated again and I was grateful to have Captain around to be 'entertained' by my drama on this ;P

When we got into Chicago, I was still recovering and thanks to the infamous weather forecast due to the strong winds, I knew that the recovering process was going to take much longer than I anticipated... As per my previous post, we came to the States much earlier on to get ourselves used to the time difference (SF was 12 hours earlier while Chicago was 13 hours earlier than KL), get acclimatised to the unpredictable weather and to have final rounds of running just to wake our legs up too, just like what we did for last year's New York City (NYC) marathon... Only that for this time around, we decided to be tourists in SF first :)

As Nike was the official apparel and footwear for the marathon, we both decided to check out the Niketown store at Magnificent Mile on our first day after our first torturous 7km run (we were still trying to get used to the weather and it was 2 degrees that morning!) in the beautiful windy city, as they were launching the marathon's merchandise and the campaign 4 days before the big day! Quite odd of Nike to do so, maybe it was part of their marketing tactics... Needless to say, the campaign 'Own Chicago' is super shagedelic and I really dig it!

One of the displays in Niketown

Felt like I was running in the 60s ;)

Apart from the banners that we saw along a few of the streets in downtown and around the start/finish area at Grand Park, we didn't really feel the vibes until race day... As the marathon is the second biggest one in the world, we certainly didn't feel like it was though... But hey, I was just excited to run at a new (and windy) route with 44,999 other runners :)

And I have to say that the bank's campaign for the marathon was pretty neat as it uses positive adjectives to describe the city and real runners from the previous marathon as their poster peeps :)

Outside of the expo

My favourite word ;)

I was feeling pretty good on our last run before the marathon as I felt much better to breathe properly while I was running, so I had positive thoughts running through my system again :)

I was thankful that our apartment was just an approximately 1km (or less) walking distance from the starting point, which meant that we both could sleep in more the night before the marathon ;) We woke up at about 6am to get ready and walked to Grant Park... And just got in time to our corral 15 minutes before the flag-off at 8am after deposited our bags... We were assigned to the same corral so it definitely felt nice to have someone to be nervous with up until the flag-off ;)

It was a freezing morning that day with a high temperature of 6 degrees (damn cold right?), we were shivering even with our hoodies on! We only took off and donated our hoodies just before crossing the line, hope that the day will become much sunnier and warmer... But the weather was definitely much better than our first run there a few days before that!

Apparently, we were either twins or sisters here in Chicago ;)

The course was flat but with elevations here and there from the bridges that we had to go through... It was good for the legs ;)

The course map
You can click here to see a bigger view of the map

At State Street... 

We ran through 29 neighbourhoods that morning... The city was buzzing with cheers and music from the supporters... I was in awe again with the view of the skyline while running at The Loop! My favourite ones are just after entering the Lincoln Park, as there was a band and they were playing 'She Loves You' by The Beatles (loved it!!!) and Old Town, where there were lots of peeps supporting and playing and singing to the loud music for the runners since we had to go through this neighbourhood twice... I will always remember singing along to a few of the songs (eg. The Proclaimers' I Would Walk 500 Miles) and the Korean supporters for playing the darn Gangnam Style song for us ;P

I was doing pretty okay during my first half of the run and surprisingly my left leg was doing pretty darn well too! But just after the 22km marker, my right foot felt superpain out of nowhere, and that's when everything went down the hill *drama* From that point until the km30 or so, I was walking and stretching my leg on the side of the road like a lot!!! And to make things worse, there were strong, gusty winds that accompanied us during the race and I almost had an episode of asthma attack as I started to have difficulties in breathing and was wheezing for a good 1-2km...

Felt really crappy for a while as the thoughts of giving up were lingering in my mind while my right foot was screaming at me to stop! I knew that I can't push myself anymore... But I kept going and kept telling to myself to just take it easy from then on.. And enjoy the experience and atmosphere instead... And so I did :)

Loved the dragon dancers that greeted us at the gates of Chinatown! Oh, and I enjoyed eating all of the free candies, pretzels, sweets and fruits provided by the lovely supporters and hi-fiving the lil' cute kids that were out to support as well... It was also nice to see runners hugging their partner/family member/friend respectively to get the extra push to complete the remaining miles of the marathon... While I on the other hand, had fun posing for the cameras and was enjoying every single water station after that! ;)

Just after entering Chinatown
Taken by MarathonFoto, the official photographer for the marathon

I decided to run more instead of walking at my last 3km... I thought that I might as well just endure the pain since I'll be suffering after the marathon anyway ;P

Moments before crossing the finish line at Grant Park
Taken by MarathonFoto
It's my fave shot from them :)

So, I crossed the finish line with my 'Jalur Gemilang' and completed my 8th marathon at an official time of 5 hrs 13 mins 29 secs! My fastest time for a mary this year, so I'm not complaining... I'll just have to beat my New York time at another marathon then ;)

My splits from the marathon
Fastest times for both halfie and mary for this year... Now that's worth celebrating for right? :)

It was a special day for Captain as it was her birthday and if you recall last year, we 'fell in love' with Paris together on my birthday... Of course, she just HAD to run a birthday marathon and have an amazing and well-deserved PB ;)

2011 and 2012 - Proud with our flag :)
Congrats again captain on your sweetest 4:11!!! You're getting stronger and faster... You completely owned Chi-town on your day! Super proud of you! Happy birthday again too xx
Soon, sub-4 will be in our hands (I also want that :P)

Lessons learned from this marathon:
1) If you're unwell, don't take medication the night before the marathon, as you will constantly want to do a no 1 during the course... It was my first time ever going to the loo twice while running a marathon, and the queues were just too long... In total, I went to the loo 7 friggin' times that morning!!! (3 before the race, 2 during the race and 2 after the race) Next time, just going to deal with it with good ol' fashioned plain water ;)

2) Never EVER run in a pair of shoes when you've done 3 marathons in them... I was actually trying to look for another pair of the same shoes back in KL, but it was unsuccessful and I was saving my money as well for the trip... So, I thought that my legs will still be okay IF I run another marathon in them since I was training in them for the entire month before that... WRONG!!! My right foot is paying for it right now (I'm sorry baby!). I'm just going to stick to 2 marathons per shoes after this then!

Despite all of the setbacks, I am proud of myself and contented to have completed the marathon... And I kept reciting the same dua that was given by my good friend throughout the 42.4km route over and over again so that I won't suffer so much during the run (Thanks Ili!) I am just beyond grateful for not giving up to become one of the 37,455 finishers :)

Thanks to everyone, especially my closest friends and my loved ones, for the support throughout my entire journey and the awesome wishes too! I really appreciate every one of them :)

So yeah, I did own and moved with Chi-town on that day baby! :)

Close-up of the awesome looking medal :)

One thing that I must highlight and love about the marathon is that there were supporters along the entire route! Even at the bridges!!! So, the runners didn't feel alone at all and that helped me a lot especially when I was walking dejectedly... The volunteers were fantastic! Loved seeing elderly people out in the streets with their supportive cheers and smiles... I'm pretty sure that the runners including myself were thrilled to receive their support and love from all of the supporters :)

The fact that it was the breast cancer awareness month too, a lot of runners were donned in tutus - colourful ones! Even the guys (muscular ones!) were wearing them! Definitely a refreshing sight! ;) It was also nice to see supporters holding their personalised signs for their partner/family member/friend respectively :) And the supporters were pretty creative with the signs for the runners - one of my faves is "If marathons were easy, they'd be called your mother." Oh, snap!!!

But, if I were to pick between Chicago and New York City, I'd say that NYC wins BIG time for the overall experience! They organisers are in a league of their own as compared to the marathons that I've been running at so far! The entire city came alive just to celebrate the marathon for the entire week! So yeah, I would definitely run NYC again in a heartbeat (well, if money permits again ;))! Nevertheless, the organisers did absolutely terrific at hosting the second biggest marathon in the world as I enjoyed every single moment of it, even when I was in pain :) This year, I am so ecstatic that three of my dear friends will be running at the prestigious marathon next month :)

Us last year in New York, and us in Chicago last week :)
We still look pretty young right? ;P

2 out of 5 World Marathon Majors down and 3 more to go... Got rejected again for the third time by London this year for 2013 (me no like you anymore London!), I have to REALLY train to get a BQ :P, so I'm left with Berlin then... But we shall see ;)

I am just going to rest and eat happily now until 2013 :)

And probably plan my next destinations for my #9 and #10 too ;)


  1. Sounds like an amazing experience there Nana!
    Well done once again. I very the envy!

  2. nik: it was definitely an amazing one despite all of the challenges :) thanks! you should run one too soon ;)

  3. You did it again! Congrats Ms. Nana