Chicago Marathon Recap

Every runner experiences good and bad races. For me, the Chicago Marathon was a beautiful race, but I was not happy with my time. 

Going into the race I felt amazing. I was keeping a pace of 8:20 for a good portion of the race and I was happy with that. However, somewhere around the half way mark I started to really slow down.

My right foot did not bother me once, but my lower back and right hip were refusing to cooperate with me.

Did I enjoy the race? Absolutely! Chicago is my favorite place to run and the scenery NEVER gets old! It was incredible to be running with 45,000 other runners! The amount of spectators (around 1.2 million I think) was amazing. There was never a dead spot on the course; it was constantly filled with people cheering.

I’ll rewind a bit to Saturday night. Pictures are courtesy of my mom, since we all know I am not good at taking pictures!

We started the day off with a trip to the expo to get my packet. I love running expos!

Chicago Marathon Expo

The expo was awesome of course. Lots of free goodies!

The coolest part of the expo was meeting my friend Jordan! She is a fellow bloogger, and has a great blog so check it out! Run.Spin.Eat.Repeat


Chicago Marathon Route

Not sure what I’m looking at here. Morgan likes to take random pictures! I swear I’m not mad, I just do a really good job of looking like it.


How cool is this? It was at the Nike booth.

Nike Marathon Route

After the expo we walked around the city for a bit. Not too much walking though..

My Dad had never really been to the Bean so he wanted to check it out.

The Bean!

We stopped in at the Tilted Kilt to sit and relax for a while. I love Irish bars!

Tilted Kilt

Normally I like to walk everywhere in Chicago, but we took the L to save my legs.


For dinner we went to Phil Stafani’s Italian Steakhouse on Rush. It was amazing! I got butternut squash pasta that was perfection. My dad, Morgan, and brother got steak of course, while Kyla got salmon and my mom got a pasta dish. Everyone loved their food. I recommend this place!

Phil StefanisAfter dinner we headed to the hotel to relax and go to bed early.

We got up around 5:50 on Sunday morning and headed to the start. One of my favorite parts of running in major races is to see the crowds of people before the race. I love seeing so many runners all at once!

My family hung out with me at my corral for as long as they could before the race. At this point I did start to get anxious, as I do with most marathons.

Before the race

Here I am looking like a super dork in my corral. Morgan said I looked like cotton candy with my outfit choice. I was cold at the beginning, but I heat up fast when I run so I was glad I only wore a short sleeved top.


The race started great and I tried to conserve my energy so I tried to maintain a pace of 8:30, which I did for a while. I occasionally sped up due to excitement, but I tried to slow it back down.

I was excited to get to mile 2 because Kelly and her fiance were there to watch me. I was able to spot Ben because he was holding an Iowa flag, and then quickly saw Kelly. It made me so happy to see her I got teary eyed! It was a great feeling, and added to the excitement of the race.

The next few miles went great, clear up to Lincoln Park and Lake View. We headed back down towards the main downtown and I was able to see Kelly and Ben again around mile 13. This time I stopped to give her a hug and she took my gloves for me since I was getting hot.

The race continued to go well despite my nagging back and hip. I never got emotionally tired or regretful (well that is until mile 24!).

I was looking forward to mile 21 because I knew my family would be there because Kyla jumped in to run the last 5 miles with me.

I was so happy to see them!

Mile 21 was in Chinatown. Picture is courtesy of my mom of course!


I told Kyla the day before that when she jumps in with me I wouldn’t be too talkative or in a good mood. I was dead on! I typically become frustrated at that point and usually regret my decision to run! (Of course this all changes once I cross the finish line!) Kyla did a good job of talking to me without making me talk back.

It was a good last five miles though, despite the pain my body was in.

Crossing the finish line is still such a great feeling, even though I was not at all happy with my time.

After I crossed the finish line I got my refreshments, after race picture, and then headed to the family reunite center. I met my family, along with Kelly and Ben and we chatted for quite a while.

Overall, this race was amazing! The course, the people, the music, the enthusiasm… I could go on and on. No wonder it is a major world marathon!

Despite being upset with my time, I still really enjoyed myself.

I’ve been obsessing over what went wrong since I crossed the finish line. I did all of my training runs like I was suppose to, BUT… I definitely need to spend more time strength training.

My lower back pain tells me that I really need to work on that for the next marathon, as well as more hip strength.

I now know what I really need to focus on before my next marathon. I haven’t decided if I am going to run a spring marathon or just a half. I don’t plan on running a spring marathon fast if I do run one, but just a way of keeping me in shape for a fall marathon.

Yes, I am already thinking about next year’s fall marathon. Chicago or Des Moines, I’m considering both.

I have no doubt in my mind that I will hit my goal time, it is just a matter of when.

I threw myself a little pity party on the car ride home and cried a bit, but I then realized I did just run a marathon so I need to stop being a baby and appreciate the fact that I can run a marathon and just enjoy that. There is always next year!

On the ride home we stopped at Giordano’s for pizza. It is my absolute favorite place to eat pizza so I was happy about that decision. We were also able to watch some of the Bear’s game on the TV,  so that was great! We won if you’re wondering 😉

Again, thank you to all well-wishes before the marathon. I truly appreciate it!

Oh, and here is the medal!

2014 Chicago Marathon Medal

Race Medals

10 thoughts on “Chicago Marathon Recap

  1. Congrats Courtney!! Such a huge accomplishment to finish a marathon! I bet Chicago was so pretty and nice cool weather…compared to down here in south Texas.

  2. Congratulations again! I’m sad to hear that you aren’t happy with your time, but I am so glad to have experienced this race with you! Never doubt yourself, and be proud!

  3. Congrats on completing the marathon, and what a nice collection of medals you’ve got there. You are very inspiring, and thank you for sharing pictures and such a detailed recap. All the best in your next training season!

  4. Courtney, I’m so proud of you. You have strength and determination to do something I never would’ve even thought to do when I was younger, let alone now. I’m glad your tears stopped and you realized the magnitude of your accomplishment. Most of us only dream of doing something that huge. You are amazing! And I love it that Kyla jumped in with you. Your sisterhood, friendship and bond is something beyond words. I really enjoyed reading this blog! I love you very much! ❤️

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