A Mental Victory at the Chicago Marathon

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On October 9, 2022, over 40,000 runners from all over the world came together to join 44th Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

Mother Nature heard all of our prayers and blessed us with an amazingly perfect running weather this year.  This was my 8th Chicago Marathon and I experienced all sorts of weather in the past on Marathon Sunday.  On Marathon Sunday, the temperature was at low 40F, not too hot or not too cold as I walked to toe the line at the Grant Park with thousands of other runners.

The security line was long but moved smoothly and quickly.  Many Porta-Potties were available around the corrals. I walked into my assigned corral nervously and felt inadequate to stand with fellow runners.  I have been battling with severe asthma and other health issues and wasn’t confident to be able to make it to a start line this year.   I was overloaded with all sorts of emotions going into this race but I felt at home when Jim Cornelison beautifully sang our National Anthem.  Maybe because I am a huge hockey fan, or just because his voice was so comforting.  I told myself then, “Suzuka, what if everything goes right.”  And for that, I decided to give it a try.

Many people say, “You’ve done this many times, I am sure it is easy for you.”  The truth is nothing about 26.2 miles journey is easy.  Prior to the marathon Sunday, many runners put in hundreds of miles of training runs over the last 16-20 weeks.  Michael Yih, a resident of Winter Park in Florida, was one of the runners who spent countless hours training for this special day.  This was Michael’s first marathon.  He wanted to see what it was like behind the scenes, so he volunteered all day on Friday at the expo.  He witnessed the excitement firsthand from many runners from all over the world.  He chose Chicago Marathon as his first marathon debut because many runners on social media groups recommended this race to him.

Chicago Bulls Theme song, Sirius, was played as the race began on Columbus Avenue.  As I passed Lower Wacker Drive, I could hear spectators screaming with joy.  It was such a blessing to be able to see a sea of people clapping and cheering for all of us.

Through the 29 neighborhoods, the support from the crowds and volunteer was top notch in Chicago.  I truly believe this is one of the best ways to tour the city.  It was the biggest and the BEST Party from the Loop to River North, Old Town to Lincoln Park onto Northalsted, Greektown to Pilsen, Chinatown to Bronzeville back to Grant Park.  Spectators carried me all the way to FINISH Line.

I felt sun beaming on my face and on my shoulder at many spots on the course and definitely felt the temperature was quickly rising up.  I couldn’t hear anything but loud cheers from spectators on the famous Mount Roosevelt.  I knew I made it. I knew I came home.

With so much gratitude and joy, I crossed the finish line with the biggest smile on my face.  And said to myself, “Everything went alright!”  Proudly received the medal from an amazing volunteer and reunited with my sole sister and off we went to celebrate our achievement.

The one thing I did differently for this marathon was I didn’t allow myself to tear myself apart mentally and/or physically.  I certainly did not allow myself to overanalyze my performance.  I closed this chapter of my 16th Marathon with peace and gratitude.

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