Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I'm Running the Chicago Marathon!

It's official! Yesterday, after a frustrating three hours of technical errors, I registered for the Chicago Marathon. On October 13, I'll be lining up to run my first 26.2 mile race through the Windy City.


(Actually, due to the technical errors, I'm registered three times, so I'm waiting on a refund for two of those. Don't really want to run 78.6 miles,)

This will be my first marathon and I'm extremely excited and extremely nervous. But as soon as I finished my first half-marathon, I knew I wanted to run a full marathon someday. And I realized that there would be no better time to train than when I'm studying for the Bar exam. Training will keep me from going crazy as I try to memorize New York tort law.

There will be lots of future posts on training, my plan, etc., but for now, I wanted to write about why I've chosen Chicago. I've been planning on running Chicago for a while. When I've mentioned that I was planning on making it my first marathon, several people have asked why, since I'm from Washington State originally and live in New York City now.

So... why Chicago?

1. It's flat
This is the least concern, but it was still something I thought about since I don't particularly love hills (translation: I hate them). For my first marathon, I figured it would be nice to concentrate on the distance without worrying about climbing up huge bridges or mountains or whatever.

2. I love Chicago
Chicago is one of my favorite cities in the world. If it weren't so freaking cold in the winter and hot and humid in the summer, I'd totally live there.


The architecture is gorgeous, the food is amazing, the city itself is so much fun to walk around, and the lakefront is an incredible beach right at the front door of the city. I've visited several times and every time I leave wishing I had more time there.

3. I have family in Chicago
My uncle lives in Chicago so I'll be able to stay with his family. Even better, my parents can fly out from Washington and stay with them.

my gorgeous cousin and her husband won't be there, but my aunt, uncle, and younger cousins will be! 
I really loved the idea of my parents being there to see me run my first marathon, but I didn't want to cost them a fortune. Plane tickets to Chicago are relatively inexpensive from Seattle, and without the cost of a hotel, it should be manageable for them. It will be wonderful to have Sourabh, my family, and Chicago friends there to cheer for me.

4. Chicago will have meaning for me
This is the biggest reason I'm running Chicago. And prepare yourself, because it's about to get serious.

My best friend from undergrad, Katie, is a born and raised Chicagoan who's currently in her first year of medical school at University of Chicago.

Before we met in college, she spent a year of high school being treated for cancer because she had Wilm's tumor. When we became friends, I knew she'd survived cancer, but it seemed like some horrible thing that had happened in her past, and now she was healthy and spent her time kicking pre-med's ass, writing stellar English papers, and volunteering for worthy causes.

After graduation, I was off to law school and she was taking a year off before heading to medical school. We had big plans for her first trip to NYC.

 

Then, in January of 2011, during a routine check up, it was discovered that Katie's cancer had come back in the space where one of her kidneys had been. I wish I could describe how great Katie is so you'd understand just how angry I was that someone as amazing as her had to face this horrible process again.

It took months of treatment and several scary initial failures with more conventional treatments before the aggressive treatments seemed to work, in late fall.


Through all of this, I felt helpless to provide more than emotional support via lots of emails and epic Gchat conversations. Mainly I tried to make her laugh as much as possible or send candy (thank you, Amazon Prime, for allowing me to get her candy corn off-season in 2 days). I was able to visit over July 4 weekend that summer, before we knew if her treatments were going to work. I remember flying home and being so scared at the thought that I might lose her.

Thankfully, by Christmas 2011, Katie was clear of cancer. I've never been so relieved... and thankful. I am so thankful that the most incredible person I've ever met is still here. I am thankful that despite everything she'd been through, Katie was set on continuing on to medical school, where she is today. And I am incredibly thankful to the institution and the people who made that possible: Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.

(source)
That's why I'm running the Chicago Marathon to raise money for the Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. Lurie treated Katie both times she was sick. Throughout her treatment, I heard about the wonderful care and support they provided her.

This place is truly incredible and I cannot think of a better motivation to get through each long, hot summer run than to think of the children who are dealing with so much more than some humidity; the kids who don't have a choice in the pain they face.


My initial goal is to raise $750 for the hospital, but I'm hoping to raise much more. I am so excited to start this endeavor. I hope you'll join me by contributing to the Lurie Children's Hospital. If you're able to donate, here is a link to my fundraising page. Any contribution at all helps support this incredible institution.  


Thank you!!
I can't wait to share my journey to 26.2 with you all!!

26 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Jen! Very exciting news! :)

    When my day comes to run my first 26.2, I know the cities will be either Chicago or Philly (or maybe a random one in Upstate NY, ha!); I've heard nothing but wonderful things about both courses. Have you seen "Spirit of the Marathon?" It follows a few individuals who train for the Chicago marathon, so you should definitely check it out.

    I also must applaud you big time for running for a charity. That's what I plan to do for my first, too. As runners, we're extremely lucky to not only love running, but also to be able to train and tackle these crazy-long distances; I'm a firm believer in paying it forward and using your gifts and talents to help others.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Carrie!! I really agree about paying it forward via running. And no, I haven't seen Spirit of the Marathon, but I've been meaning to because I keep hearing great things about it!

      Delete
  2. Jen! So many great reasons (I'm glad your parents will be able to fly to Chicago to watch you!) you are running your first 26.2, but reason #4 is by far so very special. I'm so glad your BF Katie is healthy and I'm sure she appreciates a great friend like you! I know you will make your fundraising goal!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Ruthie :) I'm so excited!

      Delete
  3. Oh, I'm so happy for you! We're kind of going to be opposite marathon twins this fall -- you're in NY and your first marathon will be Chicago, and I'm in Chicago and my first marathon will be NYC. I can't wait to follow your training! I'd like to run for a charity, but I don't think I totally understand the logistics. I'm afraid I won't meet my goal and I won't be allowed to run -- but typing that, I realize that's probably not how it works.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hah, that's hilarious! I'm sure you'll love NYC.

      So with most charity runners, you agree to a set amount (my charity's is $750) that you must raise and if you don't hit that minimum, the remainder you didn't raise is charged to your credit card. It keeps people from using charity as a way to guarantee entry to a race but then not raise any money for the charity.

      Delete
  4. You will love Chicago! Its a great race and a great atmosphere.
    Good Luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for the support! Saw that you run it -- and New Orleans just a few months after and shaved more than 30 minutes off your PR! Incredible!

      Delete
  5. Yaaaa!! I'm so excited for you

    Enjoy the next few months before marathon training begins :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you!! I'm so excited, too :) Hopefully we can do some training runs together!

      Delete
  6. OmgOmgOmg. The stars seem to have totally lined up for you!! This is WONDERFUL Jen. And I am glad Katie made it through cancer, that is so awful, but I do love the fact it has a happy ending.

    I really can't wait to live vicariously through your training and race, especially with Chicago being so close to home for me. Plus you know how much I love my races that go to charity, so I am glad you will be fundraising. If you need help organizing any bake sales, etc. I am there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Emily!! I'm really excited to share my first marathon journey with everyone :)

      Delete
  7. Congratulations on the marathon plunge, and so admirable that you are doing it for a great cause.

    I would love to do some training with you since I am running Hartford in October - you are about to embark on one of the most awesome and challenging adventures!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Gianna! Training runs or workouts together would be fantastic.

      Delete
  8. First marathon...exciting!! Sounds like a great cause too! Glad your friend is ok!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Celia :) I think it should be a great cause to run my first marathon for.

      Delete
  9. What a great cause! It's great to hear that your friend is doing well after going through that twice. I'm sure this will be a great experience for many reasons, and I can't wait to read all about your training!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Brittany!! I'm so excited about it, and it'll be great to be able to share the ups and downs of training :)

      Delete
  10. I'm so excited for you! What an amazing way to run your first 26.2!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Good luck, I see you are actually registered, that is great. When I ran with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society they only registered me after I had met my minimum donation pledge. You have picked a great cause and it's great that you are providing help to others while pursuing your own personal goal! Good luck. BTW, make sure you get your hotel room booked, they sell out very very very fast. My family stayed at theWitt (Doubletree) and it was a good choice. It is a few blocks from the start line (maybe 10 min walk, yeah, walking back wasn't fun) but the race goes right in front of it, it's about 2 miles into the race, it's also not a crowded area so you will have plenty or room and time to stop and take pics with family and friends. There are several other hotels closer though and they are all good choices too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Augusto! Yes, thankfully I'm already registered, which is great. And since I have family in Chicago, I'm going to stay with them I think, but good to know about hotels.

      Delete
  12. Good luck! I'll jump in for some miles with you while your training.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lynette! It'll be great to have some company on those long runs!

      Delete
  13. Beth @RxBethOnTheRunFebruary 21, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    THIS IS SO EXCITING!!! I'm so proud of you, Jen! I can't wait to follow your journey to 26.2 and see you do great things this fall!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so excited for this summer -- you better train with me!!!

      Delete