Saturday, November 1, 2014

Chicago Marathon 2014

Each marathon has been incredibly special in its own way, and No. 6 proved to be more emotionally and mentally powerful than I even imagined.

I flew to Chicago on Wednesday to stay with my sister who lives there. First night I was terribly jet lagged and went on a run at 4 am. It was just a peaceful and beautiful run! I was so excited to be there and hardly could wait to be at the start of the marathon! Throughout the day I felt I was coming down with something… My sweet sister went straight away and got me all kind of medicine to fight the flu.

On Friday we went to the expo, I picked up my number but honestly I was dragging my legs around. Somehow excited but the flu was draining me out. I absolutely love expos. I was tasting everything and stopping at every stand … In the evening  we had a nice sushi dinner and I went on time to bed. The day before the marathon I woke up feeling absolutely broken. I had no energy but still went on a 5 km run with my sister to test those legs for the last time. The run didn't go so smooth, my legs were heavy, my breathing was limited. My sister said she was feeling the same so I felt relieved that I was not the only one feeling that way. Still positive that the marathon will be fun and will go well.

The whole day on Saturday while walking around I was trying to visualize how I am going to finish a 42.2 km when just walking 500 m was exhausting me. In the evening I took my temperature and sure enough I had fever and I must have been running with fever all day and the day before because I was freezing cold, coughing and feeling so tired the whole time!  When I arrived at home (sister place) I exploded in tears on my bed and here are the few reasons why:
  • When I started my marathon training back in July I got injured with a back injury. I was for 2 MONTHS not being able to run without pain! My dream of running a fast marathon became out of the picture.
  • Beginning of September I started building my miles gradually and not until one week before Chicago marathon I managed to run 35 km and I remember I came home with tears because it went so bad!! Usually this long run should have been 3 weeks before the marathon. My back was hurting again, it was just a one bad run!!! All I could think of is just to go see my sister and jog Chicago marathon as a long easy run with lots of public on the side…
  • Having this thought in my head made me happy !! Better jog it with a smile than nothing at all but arriving to Chicago and being attacked by the cold/fever was not something I anticipated on nor It was on my wish list and this made me very very sad!
All the reasons above hit me the night before the marathon and I couldn’t help stop crying! Being only few hours before running one of my dream marathon to find myself laying on my bed with 3 layers of clothes on, shivering from cold…no appetite… with fever… coughing… weak…
I slept for few hours… I woke up around 21:00 to find myself still having fever… the question now became shall I run or not run?? All the close people I talked to advised me not to run with fever because I can only make more damage…so the motivation was gone… But being me and knowing how I think you would know that Not running was Not an option  especially that I didn’t come all the way from Europe to watch others running ...

Around 22:30 went to bed and slept again like a baby to wake up at 4 am soaked wet. The good news my fever was down but coughing and all the symptoms of the flu  were still there … It doesn’t matter anymore now, nothing is going to change, all I can do is choose to make the best of this day, be positive and believe that I could do it! It is all in the head!


My sister and her husband are also running so being happy and excited is at least what I can do after being down for the last 2 days….

Fast forward to 7:00… 


Seeing the start of the race in Grant Park was definitely a wake up to the sheer size of this event. For weeks, I had felt so special telling people I was doing the marathon, like such an individual. Now, surrounded by 44,999 others, I felt so little, almost as if the entire city showed up to run and my participation has absolutely no value.


15 min before the start after a kiss and good luck wishes to my sister who was starting in the American development team and her hubby who was starting in a later coral, I headed to the coral A with a happy face.

Stood there in my Coral, full of adrenaline, “Holy cow, I’m actually running the Chicago Marathon!” I thought to myself.
7:30 the start gun went off...The first few miles flew by with the spectators lining the streets and the adrenaline rushing through my body and through my veins…
 Sick or not sick, there is no more back!! 
  I found the pacer of 3:15 and thought that would be awesome if I could stick with them. I managed for 20 km to stay with the group then I lost them at the water post… I cruised my way alone enjoying the surrounding… at 25 km point my body had enough, all sort of aching were hitting me. 

 Literally I thought of walking but kept repeating to myself that the faster I run the sooner I finish and walking will only slow the process. I was already in pain so quitting now is out of question!!! 

The hardest part was between 30 and 40 km… My nose was stuffed, my lungs and throat were burning, my legs felt just like 100 kg heavier, my lower back felt like getting disconnected from my legs…. A strong focused mind and a count down and there it was ….  few more meters before crossing the finishline of this magnificent marathon! …. I crossed the finish with a big smile on my face, I was really really like really happy!! Happy of disbelief that I really run 26.2 miles which seemed since few days a mission impossible!! 

The only thing that made me finish is the attitude of running through pain and not giving up!

Very proud took the medal and found my sister but unfortunately the pain in my back was killing me to the point I couldn't walk anymore ... I decided to stop by the medical tent to get some strong pain killers... In meanwhile, my sis got my clothes and by that time the medicine was doing his job...I joined her to find her hubby who did an amazing job finishing despite an injury and the little effort put on training to finish this marathon.

Time was the least of my worries but still finishing with a respectful time of 3:14:38 only 7 months after giving birth and after 2 months out 3 months of training dealing with a back injury and after being sick prior to the marathon made me realize that I could do better than that!! It sounds like showing off but this is the damn truth and I am proud of myself! :)

 So proud of my sister who run a PB in 3:03:53 eventhough she was hopping for faster! I am sure she will it is just matter of time!
She will be heading over a week to run Beirut marathon and unfortunately due to my health issue I will not run Beirut Marathon but I will focus to get in shape and run Rotterdam in 2015!

On Monday I flew back home to bump with the Kenyan runners team on board and with the winner of Chicago marathon!  How cool is that!! Talking about running especially to an elite runner is like a drug, you want to know more and more and I had a blast!

Winner of Chicago marathon " Eliud Kipchoge"
This marathon taught me to be tough, not to give up and to be strong! Accept the new situation and deal with it! There are days when it goes not as planned but we have to be strong and keep moving forward. Every adventure teaches us something and Here I am, I came back home with a big fat medal on my neck and one experience richer! 
If you are ever wondering if you should run Chicago marathon, I would definitely recommend it!

Being silly at the "Bean" with my sister just after the finish!


  1. Wow, you did amazingly well to run that fast through your illness - well done!

  2. Wonderful accomplishment; despite all the discomfort you had to deal with.
    Gongratz Nes, #6, the famous Chicago marathon is in the books....