RECAP: 2014 Chicago Marathon

chimarathon14A week ago today, I imagined I would be celebrating my return home with a shiny new PR, reveling in the accomplishment after months of tough training, and planning out my next move…and yet, here I am, lips and skin chapped, throat sore, and legs swollen with a finish time right smack dab in the middle of my PRs and PWs – yet, feeling strangely calm about it.

The Chicago Marathon was a race to remember – in so many ways. It was a day of gorgeous, perfect weather. A day of seeing so many amazing athletes, friends, spectators and volunteers. A celebration of running, of health and of life. Amongst the crowd of more than 45,000 runners, I was fortunate enough to run with several friends (including rockstars Lauren and Mindy), see amazing inspirations (like Jess) and soak up the energy from incredible Oiselle teammates and cheerers – I just cannot describe the intense feelings of love and support that I experienced on Sunday.

So, in lieu of a traditional race recap, here’s a list of things I know will stay in my heart and mind forever, following the 2014 Chicago Marathon:

  • Sometimes, it’s just not your day. At the start of the race, I was battling a sore throat and some sniffles, but I chalked it off as travel ickiness. Unfortunately, at Mile 16ish, I realized it was much worse. Without going too much in to detail, each step was painful, thanks to intense abdominal cramping.
  • I thought about DNFing for a while. DNF = did not finish. Seriously. As my 10th marathon, I thought – I KNOW I can do this, but I have so many more goals coming up, including a handful of marathons. I thought it would be a smart choice. I didn’t think it’d be worth the chance of injuring myself, or overexerting. I stopped right around Mile 17 and sat at an aid station and talked to hubby on the phone. He convinced me that I’d be mad if I didn’t finish what I started. He told me to finish strong. So, I did the best with what I was given for the day, and looking back, I am glad.
  • Chicago volunteers and spectators know how to BRING IT. Recaps and reports from past participants warned of dead zones during the race, but there was not one moment that I felt unsupported or “alone.”
  • Large races have their pros and cons. Okay, this is one I did NOT expect: the intense lack of etiquette from fellow runners!!!! I had cups thrown at my legs and feet from runners, was spit on from runners who couldn’t bother to move to the side to do so, and elbowed and shouldered. I was NOT used to that and was quite irritated! Was it a huge influx of first time racers, or just a huge amalgamation of self centered rude people? Blah. On the flipside, I did love the fanfare and how ROCKSTAR the City of Chicago makes you feel, wearing your medal around that afternoon…and night…and next day 🙂


I have more thoughts, and will probably post more, but these are the major points that have been popping around my mind since Sunday…so before I go…


Thank you to EVERYONE who has sent kind words, thoughtful notes, motivation, congratulations…it means so much. I’ve been working to respond to as many as possible, and have been continually inspired by the legions of my own friends who accomplished the incredible this weekend – from first marathons (Rockstar Sarah), PRs (what’s UPPP my fabulous race roomie, Ashley!), to BQs (Jesica, you are my hero) and more – it was a weekend of amazing things.




36 thoughts on “RECAP: 2014 Chicago Marathon

  1. Thank you for sharing this with us and always keeping it real Krissy. I’m so sorry Sunday was not your day. I didn’t realize how sick you were feeling and I’m really sad I never got to see you (I must plan better next time!). Every marathon truly is a miracle. I say it all the time, but from our best, guttsiest performances to the ones we scrape by and finish against all odds, it is so true. You CHOSE to kept going when you could have quit, and that is a major victory to be proud on. Congrats on marathon number 10. You, my friend, are a rockstar! xo

    • Thanks, J! You are one of my biggest running inspirations when it comes to keeping it real, so I knew I had to share my thoughts, esp before I had the chance to try and filter my thoughts, lol. 🙂

      Thank you again. I am so excited for you!!

  2. Krissy I am so sorry that Sunday was not your day. Those are really tough races to gut out. Umm, and I can’t believe people were spitting on you? What terrible race etiquette!
    A marathon finish is always an amazing accomplishment. I’m proud of you for sticking it out! Hope you feel better soon!

  3. Aw friend, I was really hoping Sunday would be your breakthrough day. Sorry you were feeling crummy, but impressed that you kept on moving despite feeling less than fabulous.

    • thanks, christine! marathons will come and go…but these lessons really do stick. I am so excited for you in richmond, my friend!

  4. I have to say seeing you was one of the highlights of my race! I had a pretty crummy day myself and was wishing I had stopped to hang out with you so we could gut it out together. Sorry you had such a tough day out there!

    • Jess – your smile helped a lot – more than you know!! hope we can run again sometime in the future 🙂

  5. Anytime you finish it’s an accomplishment. It’s even more of an accomplishment when you’re not at 100%. I enjoyed following you during the race and I know we’ll see that PR before the season is over. Keep after it!

  6. Love reading this and telling people that I have a friend that ran in the Chicago Marathon and FINISHED IT!! Hope you are feeling better and better every day.

    • Thanks, K. I had a great day, despite a not so great race. Thanks for your support!! That won’t be my last Chicago!! 😀

  7. Sunday may not have been your day race-wise, but from all the pictures you posted, you still looked like you had a great weekend. Excellent take-aways from the race, too, and I hope you are feeling better today. I’ve done 2 races in Chicago (Soldier Field 10 Mile and RnR Half) and honestly, as much as I love the city, I don’t think I’ll ever run the marathon there. I can’t get past the massive amounts of people. There are only 7000 in my marathon on Sunday, but the international half marathoners and relays start with us, so it’s going to still seem like a ton of people. Still so much less than 45k though.

  8. Congrats on finishing marathon #10, even if it was under less than stellar conditions (not to mention a great finish time despite a stop at the medical tent!).

    It’s great to hear the course support was so amazing, and I have to admit, I’m a little concerned about the “runner etiquette” you mentioned happening at the New York City Marathon…I fee like I’m fully expecting to get trampled/ spit on/ shoved, etc. – New Yorkers scare me! (And I’m FROM New York!)

  9. Spit happens. Just kidding. Seriously, considering a DNF at 16 then gutting through another 10 is bad a$$ rockstar stuff. Congrats on #10, that’s a huge accomplishment. There are plenty of other races out there waiting for you. 45000 runners is insane! I thought the MCM was nuts. Anyway, CONGRATS!

  10. Congrats, Krissy! Excellent work in spite of the circumstances. I always think that PRs don’t really happen at the larger races, anyway, so consider this a race under your belt, and a fun time!

    • Thanks, Julie! I know that we both know marathons are such a beast…you never know what will happen!

  11. I love how you are still upbeat and find the positives in the “not your day” races. I need to follow your example! For all you went through, still a darn good race. Your bar is just set pretty high 🙂 and I totally get you re: the downsides of bigger races. Especially in what is a big goal race – people just aren’t mindful of others. If you feel like going to CA, I’d recommend CIM. Only 8000 runners!

    • Thanks for the kind words! And YESSS CIM is on my long term wishlist for races! I prefer that size marathon, though this was certainly an experience I won’t soon forget!!

  12. so sorry that it wasn’t your day but way to keep going when you really wanted to quit. that is strength. 10 marathons, boom! you are such a rockstar and it looks like you enjoyed your trip to chicago 🙂

    • Thanks, C, and yes! Chicago rocked my socks. I am ready for the next challenge!!

  13. Just going through all of my feedly now and was happy to see your race recap among the blog posts i missed out on in the last week of mostly interwebs hiatus. I enjoyed reading. I am sorry that it just wasn’t your day, but (as always), you killed it cause that’s what people named Krissy do!

    I have experienced the being spit on (during the disney full actually) and I know it is completely and utterly unpleasant. The watercup/runner etiquette thing seems to be a theme in larger races (most recently in my case: Army ten miler, Navy/Air force half) where I, 9 times out of 10, experience these things as well. I see above someone recommended the CIM which is a race I have been considering for some years. Anyway, I am glad to see you so upbeat and positive despite some of the unpleasantness you experienced and I look forward to hearing more from you as we head into my winter and your “not so summer summer” or winter in FL 🙂

  14. […] my own quest to achieve completion of these amazing races, I’ve ticked off two of six so far: Chicago and Tokyo. Of course, I won’t run Boston til I run a qualifying time, and Berlin and London […]

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