Chicago Marathon (Chicago, IL)
Finish Time: 4:02
Temp: 75 degrees
Conditions: Overcast and Slightly Humid
Run For: Dad (again)
I’m always so proud to run a marathon while wearing the Team Challenge logo across my chest. I was honored to run the very first marathon for my Dad when 26.2 For You started, so of course being able to run another one for him means so much to me. I felt it was only fitting to start off the “Run to 100” running the 51st marathon for him. His story started us off with the first 50 and his updated story will keep moving us along to the second 50.
I’ve heard from quite a few of you who dealt with the same situation he did during the pandemic. It saddens me to know that people who had medical emergencies and are also immunocompromised were put into that scary and risky position of needing to go to the hospital. Those who have IBD don’t always have control of when things start to go bad, and in my dad’s case, they went from bad to worse rather quickly, which is why he needed to go to the emergency room in Boston. Like I said before, IBD doesn’t care if there is a pandemic going on, it really doesn’t care what is happening in your life, either big or small. We need cures for Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis as soon as possible. Even though we don’t have those cures yet, we have medication and treatment options that do work and help keep symptoms and flares at bay.
One of these treatments is through infusions where medications are administered. Infusion therapy for IBD is usually prescribed for patients with moderate to severe illness. It has three purposes, to alleviate symptoms, reduce the likelihood or duration of a flare, and to improve the patient’s quality of life. My dad is now receiving these infusions after his latest flare.
Today we have infusion therapy and that is due in large part to the work of everyone who has ever donated money to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. Some simple facts: Since the foundation was founded in 1967 it has invested more than $400 million into finding the causes, treatments, and cures for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Because of this we have infusions as a treatment option and because of that my dad is feeling better and back home.
I will continue running and pushing my body to cover each and every mile, one marathon at a time. I will do this for all those who suffer and battle these awful diseases, and all the crap that comes with them (pun intended). I will keep running and I will not stop, not only for all of them, but also for my dad.
As for the race itself, I will be honest and tell you now, I wasn’t sure it was even going to happen. I was originally planning to run the Chicago Marathon last year in 2020 but Covid delayed that until this year. When I started 26.2 For You the plan was to run a combination of officially organized marathons as well as some self-guided ones, running on my own using Strava to measure my distance. Little did I know that the pandemic would happen causing most organized marathons to either go virtual or just cancel their event all together. Luckily, I’ve been able to continue running marathons on my own using Strava since the pandemic started and things shutdown. This has been great, but I’ve missed running with people!
The last organized marathon I ran with others was the New York City Marathon in November of 2019, which was marathon #35. It really has been a while! That being said, I couldn’t help but feel a surge of happiness being able to run an in-person marathon again. These feelings came right after the start of Chicago and lasted for about 5 miles into the race. It was literally all I could think about and it made me realize how much I missed that feeling. It really was great to be back, running races again after almost two full years.
The race itself went great even with the weather that turned out to be a little warmer and slightly more humid than what everyone would have wanted. However, coming off running some pretty consistent miles all summer I can say the heat and humidity didn’t affect me that much. My goal from day one has been running all these marathons at a comfortable pace, listening to my body and running based on how I feel on that given day. Race day on Sunday, I felt great and went out at a reasonably comfortable pace, under the early overcast skies. I slowed some over the last third of the marathon, just making sure I was staying hydrated through the late miles of the race. The Chicago Marathon course does not offer much elevation change as I only gained 169 feet over the 26.2 miles. For reference, there is a street near home that I run regularly where I gain 150 feet of elevation in just half a mile of distance. So, with the “flatter” profile of Chicago my legs and hip flexors started to feel this lack of elevation. I knew this would happen and just slowed some over the later miles, continuing to turn the legs over until I reached that finish line.
These marathons are not about speed, they are about the reasons I run and not the time on the clock when I finish. To some people, I seem fast and to others I’m slower than their efforts, but at the end of the day I’m just running the pace that feels comfortable, recovering and doing it all over again.. and again.. and again.
As most of you know, I coach for Team Challenge and for this marathon I was part of a team of 53 who also ran the Chicago Marathon while raising money for the foundation. I couldn’t be prouder of each and every one of them. They had been training for last 20 weeks leading up to this past weekend, working hard the entire time. We even had quite a few on the team who were planning to run Chicago last year only to have it be moved to 2021. So, it’s been a long journey for them but it was all worth it and I couldn’t have been happier to be here to experience this marathon with them.
Overall, I feel really good. My body feels just fine and my legs are recovered, I even did a 5-mile run on Monday morning, one day post marathon. My spirit feels good, knowing how special this marathon was to so many this weekend. Finally, my heart feels so good, knowing my dad is feeling better and home, hopefully for a very long time.
This was marathon #51 and it is now done, but it’s just the beginning of a long journey, with 49 more marathons to go until we reach 100! This one was special for many reasons, but obviously because of one reason in particular.. this 26.2 For You was for you Dad!