runprdawn

Health & Fitness Advocate, Media Professional, Race Director, Athlete and Running Coach

Archive for the tag “Chicago Marathon”

My Chicago Marathon!

Hey Family and Friends!

I completed my 3rd marathon, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon last Sunday, October 9, 2016 and set a personal record of 4 hours and 20 minutes. My goal was to beat my first marathon time of 4 hours and 26 minutes (My previous PR was from the Philadelphia Marathon in 2012.) Whoo Hoo!! Goal accomplished!!

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Post race Photo! ~ I was so happy to finish with my new PR!!

In addition to accomplishing my time goal, I’m pleased to share that I had a GREAT race.

Thank God my marathon experience was much better this year in Chicago, than Philly (2012) and New York (2015). ~ I did much better with my training and fueling which makes a big difference in a marathon. My last two marathons I had to walk a few times to complete 26.2, this time around, I completed the marathon with no walking.

*I must say that Chicago wasn’t on my radar, but my pace/business partner, Kendra Todd Dixon, Elite Access Running, LLC signed up for the Chicago Marathon lottery and I decided to follow her lead. I’m glad that I did!! 🙂

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Kendra and Dawn, Marathoners and owners of Elite Access Running, LLC.

My question to those of you that ran Chicago is, who said the Chicago Marathon is flat? LOL! The course was not flat! I enjoyed the course and I was cool with it because I’m always prepared for inclines and I knew about the hill at the finish after attending the Course Review session at the Expo. 😉

I was happy throughout the race, despite my legs being tight most of the race and a weird foot pain in the later miles. My hydration and fueling the night before the race and race morning made a difference during this marathon. I alternated between water and Gatorade at each water stop and it helped!! Proud to say that I did not hit the “Wall.” Thanks to my long miles during training, the perfect weather, the Chicago marathon race organizers and the excellent crowd support, my only job was to keep a consistent pace, push through the pain and finish the race and I did just that without stopping. ~ During the course, one of my favorite signs was… “Pain is Temporary, Glory is Forever,” this statement is so true!

Thinking about my race experience overall, the Chicago Marathon was AWESOME! Very organized from the Expo to Race Day.

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The nice couple in the photo offered to take my photo while we were in our corral, so I asked for a photo with them as well!! 🙂

Shout out to my Soror and fellow marathoner, Oui Brown for her hospitality. Thanks to Oui, I had the best and the closest lodging that I’ve ever had for a race. She made me feel right at home!! I walked out her front door and literally walked 5 minutes to the race location. I was so happy!!

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Friday Night Fun with Oui!

My race weekend started early Friday morning. I took the first flight out from Philly to Chicago O’Hare. Upon arrival, I was able to connect with my good friend and fellow marathoner, Melanie Eversley at the airport.

Melanie and I took the train together. My ride was a little longer, but well worth it based on what I shared above about the close proximity to the race. Also, the train is great because you don’t have to sit in traffic.

If you are staying in the downtown area, near the starting line, which I highly recommend, take the train, due to Chicago traffic and it’s a good way to save money, so that you have more to spend on other things at the expo and of course pre and post race food. 🙂

Speaking of food ~ I had lunch at Meli Cafe my first day in Chicago and breakfast there my last day in Chicago.

Friday night fun, Thanks to Oui, we hung out with the Black Chicago Runners. What an AWESOME Fun Group. I felt at home from the start!!

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Friday night Fun -w- the Black Chicago Runners!!

Saturday night, I attended the National Black Marathoners gathering at Bar Louie’s. It was a very nice gathering. A great opportunity to catch up with friends and sorority sisters that you see on Facebook throughout the year. ~ Always Great seeing my namesake Dawn Davis Calhoun. 😉

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My lovely Sorors!!

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BGR! DE & Philly

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My NABJ Family: Melanie Eversley and Maria Reeve

More about the race, running a marathon is no small accomplishment, It’s tough! Running a marathon takes mental and physical determination. ~ The marathon teaches you to keep going despite the obstacles before you. “Life is a Marathon!”

Some of my thoughts during the marathon ranged from I Got This! Positive Thoughts… Keep smiling… And this is a nice tour of Chicago! Dig deep! At mile 13.1, I was like YES! I’m half way there. ~ Nice Half time! ~ Mile 20, I was at 3 hours and thought, yes.. sub 4, let’s do this! ~ I thought about everyone back home and the virtual cheers. ~ It was Cool seeing the board between mile 16 and 17  with all the cheers. The board came up so quick, I noticed Bart Yasso’s name a couple of times. ~ After mile 20 is when the race really begins, I thought about my Aunt Peggy back in Philly on life support and thought if Aunt Peggy can fight for her life, I can certainly fight past tight legs. ~ Push, push, let’s finish this race!

No promises for Marathon #4, but I am looking forward to pacing the Philadelphia Half Marathon next month with the Philadelphia Runner Pace Team and I am looking forward to racing my next Half Marathon after coming through at 2:07 with 13.1 miles to go. ~ I am looking forward to beating my 1:45 Half Marathon PR this Fall/Spring 2017 and becoming a stronger runner.

My Pre Race & Race Day Tips/Reminders include: 

  • Practice & Train with your race hydration and fuel during your longest runs, especially the 20 miler.
  • Practice your eating the night before a long run.
  • Practice your eating before your long run.
  • Practice running fast!
  • Nothing new on race day!
  • Get at least 7 – 8 hours of sleep prior and leading up to race week.
  • Pick one day to visit the Expo. If you really want to go for two days, go early and get back to your room, relax and stay off your feet.
  • Attend the Course Review session ~ I find it fun to hear course tips from the experts
  • Stay Positive during the race and trust your training!

*Please visit and LIKE my pages, Elite Access Running and Coach Dawn for Race Day Tips, Training and more.. ~ I love sharing and I am committed to health and wellness for individuals and families.

Back to my Chicago Fun!! Post race dinner was Sunday night at Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria with Erica and Adi, my BGR! Delaware Family. It was Great having deep dish pizza and pasta some of the things that I don’t eat much of during training. (I carb load after the race. LOL!)

Monday morning, I went out for a recovery walk/run and met up with BGR! Delaware Ambassador Damali Thomas for my favorite meal, breakfast.  Also, Fleet Feet Chicago was engraving medals for FREE, so I was able to get my name and finish time on the back of my medal.

Back home, I found out that my race day inspiration, Aunt Peggy passed away. Wow! She gave a good fight and she is no more pain.

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My Aunt Peggy Corson – My race day Inspiration!

Lessons learned from Aunt Peggy include… Her love of family and to Live Life to the Fullest. She did just that!! She loved everyone and everyone loved her. Aunt Peggy enjoyed life and I plan to continue to enjoy my life of wellness and fitness, as a runner. And I plan to continue to love everyone as God loves us.

My post race recovery on Tuesday included a relaxing massage at Alternative Therapy Massage and lunch with Kendra.

Next up… I plan to get a well deserved pedicure this Friday as I continue to enjoy my days off from running.

If you are considering your first or your next marathon, I highly recommend the Chicago Marathon. Next year the Chicago Marathon is celebrating their 40th Anniversary, so I’m sure that the race will be even better than this year. In addition to Chicago, I enjoyed the New York Marathon last year as well as my hometown favorite, the Philadelphia Marathon.

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