The 4 for 40 Challenge is done. Complete. Mission accomplished. It’s always a win when I am able to complete a goal. However, this was not an easy feat for me. I called it a challenge for a reason. 4 marathon in 21 days is hard. Some people make it look easy
and those people are crazy but I had no illusions that it would be easy for me. It was a challenge. One in which my only goal was to finish the 4 marathons, be happy, be healthy and be able to move onto the next big thing. It was impossible to know when I started the 4 for 40 Challenge but my life is about to change dramatically. Had I not had the courage to chase down this goal, I may have never been able to attempt it. In fact, I’m not even sure when my next marathon will be due to the upcoming changes that are in store for myself and my family. So I’m proud that I had the courage to try something so challenging. I’m proud that I followed my heart. I’m proud that I did it even though it was difficult. Challenge complete!
As for the Illinois Marathon itself, it was a very well organized event. The marathon weekend offered something for the entire family. There was a 5K with 6,137 finishers, a 10K with 2,532 finishers, the half marathon with 5,663 finishers and the full with a mere 1,682 finishers. The weekend also offered an I-Challenge for runner who wanted to participate in the 5K on FRI evening and then one of the other events on SAT morning. Fun!! Plus a lot of my area runners were also participating so that ups the fun factor for me. Here are are a few members of my running club pre-race, and pic with my speedy friend & fellow Touch Chik Carmen who I got to see before the start.
Then we all headed to the potty lines that were super long. I must say after 5 weekends in a row of racing, if I NEVER see another porta-potty as long as I live, I’d be okay with that. The entire area reeked of
shit poo. And the lines were ridiculously long. And many people were still standing in line with the gun went off. Why are there never enough potties?
The gun goes off. The first couple miles were fun with drunk college co-eds hanging off their porches and balconies cheering us on. Then we moved thru a neighborhood with lots of support. It was a fun charged atmosphere but I could tell that my legs just didn’t have much in them, so I slowed the pace and tried to find a rhythm. I just need to finish the race to complete my challenge and become a 4 star Marathon Maniac. I could do it! Pace didn’t matter but I soon realized that it was going to be a more difficult challenge than even I had anticipated. My “wheels” feel off early. Things just kinda fell apart both emotionally and physically. The weather wasn’t my friend either and to be honest, I was hot and miserable and tired. Like really tired. A combo of stress, lack of sleep and “maybe” 4 marathon in 21 days had taken it’s toll. I was toasted. Moving on mile by mile and hating every minute of it. The bright spot was definitely seeing the kids at mile 13. But that made me even more emotional and I just wanted to pack it up and go home
but alas my keys were in someone else’s check bag.
So I kept moving. Fortunately I had a couple friends who helped me out a ton. Amanda W from the FNRC was out to run bits of the course with a few of us
who needed help and she kept me moving forward mostly by text messages. My friend Lisa told me to suck it up and just walk if I that’s all I could manage but reminded me that I needed to keep moving. Yep, I needed that. I also met many people on course who helped me thru mile by mile. SaraJeanne ran a few miles with me early on between 9 & 13. Then a guardian angel in a Marathon Maniac shirt, Laurie, kept me moving until Amanda W was able to come back to carry help me to the finish. It wasn’t pretty, so thank you ladies for all of your help!! Photo below of Amanda W, Jill and myself. Jill ran her VERY first marathon at IL. Great job, Jill!!
The course was mostly flat with a few inclines but no real hills. We ran through town, a forest preserve, back thru town (more drunken co-eds!!) and a lot of neighborhoods. Then some more neighborhoods with winding streets
that drove me crazy. Lots of community support. Always runners around me so I never felt alone. Aid stations were spaced about 2-2.5 miles apart, which was pushing it for such a warm day (temps were low 80s degrees by noon). Medical was every other aid station or so, which may have also been pushing it for the temps because I saw a lot of a runners down who needed help and most were be helped by other runners. However, where the aid stations were missing, local residents were there to pick up the slack setting up sprinklers, handing out jelly beans, water, and beer. Lots of beer. I bet there were at least 4-5 beer stations on the course. To be honest, if I had been feeling better, I would have been tempted by the beer but I was on an emotional roller coaster and alcohol may not have been the way to go for me.
Overall, this was a good race. I didn’t love it and wouldn’t feel the need to go back but it was solid and I did love those drunken co-eds! LOL! I also really enjoyed my finish in the stadium and appreciated the F’N Runners waiting for me even though, I took so long to finish this one. Thanks, all!
Good times! Now it’s time for this lady to rest. I’ll catch you later!
** Amanda – TooTallFritz – 4 Star Marathon Maniac **
Congratulations on an amazing feat! I am in awe! 🙂
Congrats! Amazing accomplishment! Wow! Hope you have a long recovery planned! 🙂
So my favorite correspondence between us while we were running together…
Me: You are running 4 marathons in 21 days! How many marathoners can say they’ve done that?
You: None of the smart ones!!!!
lol. Great job Amanda. I know it’s hard to push through when you just want to quit. That happened to me at Fox Valley and I came apart at mile 13.5 and started crying. Push through, finish, recover and smile!
Congrats on completing this challenge! It is no small feet (incorrect spelling intended)!
I am so incredibly impressed and inspired that you completed 4 marathons in less than a month. You’re like super woman!! Well done 🙂
Oh man, you are one crazy woman, kudos to you for even having the guts to attempt this and you are a ROCK STAR for accomplishing it!
And now I’m so curious what these changes are! Hopefully we’ll find out in a future post 🙂 And hopefully they are all good changes.
Great job! I can’t believe you ran 4 marathons in 21 days! I’ve only done one in my life!
Congratulations! I’m in awe. The most I can manage is two marathons per year.
Congrats! I love to know that some of my friends are crazier than me 🙂 40 rocks and you kicked it off with a bang!
Did I miss the changes?? I look forward to hearing about them and hope they are all good !!
There are those who say “Nothing worth pursuing is easy,” but I don’t always believe in that because grilled cheese sandwiches are ridiculously easy to put together and they are SO worth it. But perhaps in this case, it is a truism worth repeating.
Sure, there were no doubt many miles during this epic endeavor, not limited to the fourth and last marathon, that felt more like punishment than pleasure, but they all led up to that incredible line in the CV of your life, running and otherwise. Be proud of it! Every marathoner is a tiny sliver of the population, and now you are a tiny sliver of THAT even smaller population. Rejoice!
Amanda!!! HUGE CONGRATULATIONS on finishing 4 marathons in 4 weeks. You are SO deserving of that Marathon Maniac tier! WAY TO PUSH THROUGH. The picture of you hugging your child brings tears to my eyes. It was a tough one out there on the course amidst the sun and heat. And it was about 30 degrees cooler back near Chicago, too. Crazy, eh?
Please take some very well-deserved rest and give yourself a nice pampering after all your accomplishments!!!
I am bummed that I didn’t get to see you at all over the weekend but I look forward to catching up with you the next time. =)
Congrats, girl!!! You are truly amazing and inspire me!!
Congratulations Amanda!! 4 for 40 was quite a feat!! Proud of you! One marathon exhausts me, I can’t imagine 4… which is why I have no gumption to do be a MM. HF I am; MM not so much. 😉
Congrats Marathon Maniac!!!!
Congrats! I am in awe!! Seriously amazing!!
Congrats! You did it! I am seriously impressed!