Running the Last 6 (Miles of the Chicago Marathon Course)

Well, I’ve finished the Chicago Marathon.

Haha. Not quite.

Yesterday morning, my training group coordinated a trip (via school bus) up to mile 20 of the Chicago Marathon course. The bus dropped us off at Halsted & Cermak (so pretty much the middle of nowhere, if you can be in the middle of nowhere in a huge city) around 7:30am, and we took off to run the last 6 miles of the course – through Chinatown, past Comisky Park/US Cellular Field, through the IIT campus (where my sis-in-law and her husband got their architecture degress, and I assume met), past De La Salle Institute (where I think my Grandpa went), up Michigan Ave, over the Roosevelt hill, and up Columbus to where the finish will be next week. And the runners who finished before us (I ran with Amanda and Julie, who I did my 20-miler with), cheered as we “finished.”

The run was great, the weather was perfect, and it was nice to enjoy the part of the course that will probably be a struggle next week. We joked that we were just really confused – “Isn’t the marathon today? Where is everyone?” One couple out walking their dogs asked if we were “practicing” for the marathon.

After the run, we had a nice spread to refuel – bagels, watermelon, grapes, M&Ms, cookies, water, Gatorade – before getting back on the bus and heading home. Now that my marathon training with CARA is over, I’m going to miss all the post-run snacks!

So hopefully, on Sunday, when I get to mile 20 of the course, I can just tell myself “you’ve done this before … it’s not that far” and those miles will go by so quickly. Right?? Or, at least, I’ll remember there is some relief in the shade once you cross the Day Ryan (that’s the 90/94 expressway you’ll run next to for a few blocks, for any out-of-towners reading this). Although it might be better in the sun next Sunday. [Knock on wood.]

Also, if you’re a blogger, and will be in town (or live here), join us for lunch on Saturday. Whether or not you’re running the marathon, and whether or not you’re from Chicago. All running bloggers (and bloggers who run) welcome.

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12 Comments on “Running the Last 6 (Miles of the Chicago Marathon Course)”

  1. So cool that your club does this! Most people do say they dislike the last part of the course, that it’s “quiet.” I never thought that, but it’s good to be mentally prepared and know where you are going… especially when you wonder “when does this damn thing end?!”

    1. I don’t really mind the quiet. I remember during the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half, I started getting a little annoyed by all the crowds/noise. So it might be a relief if the later miles are quieter. Who knows. Maybe I’ll need all the encouragement I can get!

  2. You are so right – miles 20/21 are brutal. It is definitely quiet, that’s for sure! Best of luck next weekend! I am bummed I won’t be in town to cheer everyone on!

  3. Very cool idea to run the last 6 miles. I have been tempted to run parts of the course when I am out on my runs, but have opted not to so. That way, I don’t have to stop and go at intersections. However, sounds like your group were early enough that that wasn’t a problem.

    1. We did have a couple quick stops at intersections, but it wasn’t too bad. Also for the first few miles, we were able to run in the street (staying as far to the side as possible).

  4. I wanted to type “what a cool thing to do!” except I saw the person above me already typed that. Damn. Anyway, it is cool and I bet it will help you. The only marathon I ever ran, I limped and cursed and cried the last six miles. Also I wasn’t running as fast and all my sweat dried on me and I got really cold. It sucked. So it would have been nice in the very least to see a familiar landmark during that death march. (Oh, but my training was shit and I got sick and yada yada yada so don’t let that freak you out or anything. =D ) YOU’RE GONNA DO GREAT!

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