Marathon #23 – Bank of America Chicago Marathon – 10/9/16

Marathon #23 / Overall #34 / State #9 (Illinois)
Bank of America Chicago Marathon
Chicago, IL

The time is here… the long waited Chicago Marathon, the very race I unwillingly deferred last year because of the AP/CP boards. And today I stand at a better place, having passed my boards, completed my fellowship training, and awaiting a job start. It’s time to celebrate the end and a new beginning with the 2016 Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 9, 2016. Its time for redemption…


And it’s time to resurrect the uke!! I bought the ukulele in 2013 for the sole purpose of running the Honolulu marathon with it, unfortunately, that never happened, for I was asked to repeat something in residency and had no control over timing. I was supposed to go with my friends Vo and Robert (who ran the marathon) but couldn’t, and was pissed… Out of my soapbox now lol.

My state of mind wasn’t at its best for the preceding weeks before Chicago. After Flagstaff Marathon, the bottom of my foot had been acting up, perhaps due to uneven wear and bruises from the preceding TWO trail races and BOTH ran on shoes with only moderate cushioning. Then the following week slowly but surely the bottom of my right foot started acting up. While this seemed familiar, it was occurring on the opposite foot, and it always happens after a trail race!!

So, back to Chicago… This race was huge!! The expo, held at the McKormick Center south of downtown, consisted of not only a bib number station but also pre-checkin. Of course there was a lot of people, vendors, and all sorts of goodies on sale. I intended to spend $0 but ended up getting a massage stick and a bone conduction headphones, which was pretty sweet, except now I’m $180 more broke 😭😭😭💩💩💩. Lol

I had barely been making any running in the past few weeks because of my foot. I even bought a maximal cushioning shoe to see if that would help, but no, I didn’t have time to break it in…. So out of my indecision, I decided to go with what I knew and worked before recently, carrying an extra shoe insert “just in case”…


My friend Vo (who was supposed to run this year but had to defer to next year) and I went carb loading at this Filipino place for dinner.


Getting to the start from where I was staying at was essentially hassle free, being able to hop on the CTA blue line which took me one shot straight downtown. This race had corrals A through K, with K being the last and A being the elites (Kenyan wannabes lol). Everyone lined up along Columbus Dr at the south end of Grant Park, and it took nearly half an hour before my corral started (near an hour for others.


Port-a-potty line before the start…

IMG_0176.JPGThe start line..

Taking off at the start line off Columbus Drive.

The first few miles traversed through downtown and uptown, and all we see were skyscrapers and tall buildings…

Around mile 5-7, we passed through uptown and approached the lakefront of Lake Michigan.

IMG_0206.JPGNear the shore of Lake Michigan…

The spectators on this course was amazing!! Bigger than anything else I’ve ever seen. I would say at least half of the streets were lined up with spectators, and about 1/4 of the time there was either a lot or it was packed. I’ve heard that New York City has more. We’ll see…

No comment lol…

As the route headed back towards downtown, we passed by a couple of really ethnic neighborhoods (including little Italy, etc)..

IMG_0239.JPGAmen!!! LOL

Approaching downtown again, there’s the Chicago Loop “L system” of the CTA…


IMG_0263.JPGAt the half mark…

Passing through some neighborhoods on the west side of town… Beautiful autumn colors arriving…

img_0289And of course… going through Mexi-land was quite hilarious!!


After passing through the Mexican part of town then there was this random gathering of Koreans… Though we didn’t pass through Koreatown per say (if there even is one), they had to come out and represent lol..


And then we passed through Chinatown…

At this point my phone died unexpectedly, and I had to pull out my backup charger (thank goodness I brought it!!).

img_0317I saw signs with puns intended towards Donald Trump and his remarks ALL throughout the course!! At first it was funny but then it got old.. Until I saw this at mile 22 or so and was dying of pain.. ha!

Leaving Chinatown, this is approaching the southmost segment of the marathon route. Not quite sure which district but we were making our way back to the vicinity of McKormick place…

img_0323More pun intended on Trump… I saw an occasional sign on Hillary as well but far less than on Trump… And when I saw Hillary it was always WITH Trump as in “If Hillary AND Trump can run then so can you!!” hahaha (*lame*)

img_0325The last two miles were indeed tough… I could feel my right leg now starting to cramp up, and my feet are on fire… Sometimes I wonder, what did I just sign myself up for… Lol. I had to remind myself throughout the race that I’m supposed to be having fun here, and that this was supposed to be a celebration of the end of residency/fellowship… For on the day of the marathon, 10/9/16, was my last official day in fellowship.


Approaching the finish line… Is this really the OFFICIAL high five station lol?

Overall I finished a little under 5 hours. It wasn’t my best or anything, but, it was the fastest with the ukulele LOL. People were asking me to play a song while on the course… but I will admit, all I could struggle to play on the course was “All my Ex’s live in Texas” LOL. While I did learn the chords to that song “Hey Soul Sister” by train, I didn’t quite play it until a couple of volunteers saw me at the finish line…

img_0350Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see any one my friends out there this time. Everybody was busy with their own plans, so that was a little disappointing to be honest. But whatever. At least Vo came out to see me finish (had a hard time finding one another after the race bc there were too many freakin’ people that there were no cell coverage…). And I’m really glad that he was able to come on the trip and hang out/chill and “get away” from work in Dallas, even though he didn’t run it this year.


I have been to Chicago before, several times actually, so not much here in the city was “new” to me. And to be honest, the foot pain kinda meddled with the experience but I tried my best to stay positive throughout the whole race and enjoy it as much as I could.

But for those who haven’t been to Chicago, this is a MUST DO marathon if you ever get the chance (60% chance to get in the lottery, unlike NYC which is 12%), as it takes you through the most exciting and diverse parts of town. If you are worried about getting shot, do not worry LOL because of the excellent amount of race support and Chicago police department’s abundant presence throughout the course. It takes tremendous planning, starting from one year in advance, for a city of this size to plan such a race. And there were no glitches, at least not anything outstanding that I saw… Highly recommended for a sightseeing tour of the Windy city!!




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