3 Marathons, 3 Cities, 3 Life-Changing Experiences

As I hinted at in my last post, it’s been a bit of a roller coaster of a year. Between saying goodbye to new and old friends, moving across the country – twice – and discovering the ins and outs of 2 new cities, it’s hard to believe I found time to train and run 3 marathons. I never set out to accomplish this when I ran my first marathon in NYC last November. I just thought “we’ll see how this goes.”

My last marathon, Rochester, NY, was the one that made me feel most humbled. I opted to run this back in the late spring, feeling I needed to do something that reassured me as a runner especially after the hardest, hottest run of my life in Boston. I also wanted to do something where friends and family could easily come watch if they wanted. Rochester it was. Leading up to the marathon, I felt strong – I was training with some of the best runners in Austin, TX and it was starting to pay off. Maybe I really could kick this marathon’s butt. Who knew that life might get in the way.

When I got the job offer in Chicago, I moved without looking back. I knew starting a new job in a new city might impact my training. Limited to only a few weeknight runs and mostly long runs on the weekend, my training definitely took a hit. I didn’t know if Rochester was such a good idea. I opted to go through with it anyway and I’m so glad I did.

Trying to warm up at the starting line for the Rochester marathon.

While there were many high and low lights of this race – as with any – here are a few that I’d like to share:

  • Family support – this was the first race where my family was able to come out and support me – at multiple points along the race. Thanks to those that did as you gave me the extra incentive I needed to finish strong.
  • Perfect conditions – with a very early start and not a cloud in the sky – the brisk morning turned into a perfect fall day – everything was aligned for a great run.
  • Cramps will still appear – at mile 18, just after seeing my mom, I got a stomach cramp. I pushed out the flashbacks of Boston in my mind and dug it out – and it worked!
  • Bathroom breaks are necessary – but you might pay for it later. Never before had I ever taken a bathroom break during a race – but this time there was no ignoring it. Unfortunately, those 2 minutes would have qualified me for the Boston marathon.
  • Finish strong with a smile on your face. Despite how I may have felt, the finish line was like the icing on the cake – I smiled big, finished strong and got to hear my name announced over the loud-speaker. It was a great feeling.

All in all, Rochester was a race to remember. I celebrated my victory at home with friends and family and two of my favorite Rochester foods – cookie cake from Wegmans and breakfast pizza from Clawsons. Later that afternoon I learned the best news – I actually placed first female in my age group!
So what have I learned in the last year – 3 marathons, 3 cities and 3 completely crazy, different experiences? Don’t let the hiccups in life or training trip you up. You can achieve your goals with a little hard work and strong dedication. Don’t second guess yourself – you are stronger than you realize. And that family is my biggest support system and will stand by me and my decisions – no matter what they are.

Until next time – whether it’s another marathon or something bigger – I’m looking forward to a couple of months off from training. Cheers!

Goodbye, Texas! Hello, Chicago!

What a crazy year it’s been.

Chicago Skyline at Dusk
Enjoying the view of my new city from the lake shore at dusk 

Clearly, so crazy, I haven’t been real good about this blogging thing. But alas, I shall make a warranted effort to get back in to it. So what’s happened? In early July I was approached about a possible job opportunity in Chicago – the city I’ve been in love with since my first visit in 2008. I was ready for a change – both personally and professionally – and decided to just go for it. After all, this was something I wanted – to live in the city of my dreams – for the last 5 years. I packed up my belongings and with the help of my brother, drove for 3 days north to Chicago.

It was sad to say goodbye to Texas – but in the end, this northern gal felt a little out of place in the warm Texas sun. So far, I’m loving life here in Chicago. Every weekend is a new neighborhood to explore, restaurant to discover, and person to meet. I believe things happen for a reason and I’m here for a reason and enjoying discovering the city each and every day. So send me your suggestions on places, people and of course – food-related spaces to see and be seen. Or better yet – come visit!