2017 Chicago Marathon Recap

This past weekend, I ran my 8th marathon in Chicago. It was a terrific day but not a great race (or even run). It was super hard out on the course and I walked away disappointed and upset. I went in hopeful after a good training season with high mileage, fast speed runs, and a strong mental set….but for whatever reason, Sunday wasn’t my day and I didn’t do well. Without making any excuses, one thing after another happened — I had a side ache from the get go (and still have it!), my Nike App was totally off (it said I ran 27.5 miles so therefore was off the whole time, making me super confused…), I lost my caffeine gum, the top of my water bottle with my nutrition in it fell off, I sweat uncontrollably (it was 77 degrees), yada yada yada….nothing went well. And so I started to derail mentally, and thought I should quit because each step was hard on my side and nothing felt great – …..all of that to say, it was my hardest marathon to date, both mentally and physically. I clocked in a 3:33, but know I can do much better.


The trip was quick — I left Saturday morning at 9, and came back Sunday night at 930. Quick turn around, but happy to make it short and the marathon the focus of the weekend. Before I left for Chicago, I did lots of legs up the wall to help relax my body…

The family dropped me off at the airport, which was super sweet….especially since I knew I was going to miss Cruzzie on his 8th birthday that Sunday.

My shirt, Sans Regret (without regret) worn purposely. Even though I am unhappy with my marathon, it was in fact a learning experience….what did I learn? Well, I learned that (a) regardless of the pain, I can endure anything (b) once I make a commitment, I will follow through #NoQuitting (c) marathons are not easy(d) I am thankful for my body and mind that allow me to complete these challenges and be ok physically.

I went totally alone to Chicago, so when I went to the expo, I asked a stranger to take a picture of me. It was a little hard being alone on such a “special” weekend, but I guess learning to be with myself is part of the marathon learning process for me…. I need to be okay with being alone….

I ate bread for breakfast, bread for lunch, and bread for dinner. So good.

I did not sleep well the night before the marathon…mind you, I fell asleep at 8 pm watching “Sweet Home Alabama” but was up at 2 am for the rest of the morning. I finally got out of bed at 4 am, ate a banana and peanut butter, and my coffee…..

I look much better before the marathon than after the marathon. Especially since I was upset with how I did, I look miserable in the after marathon pictures (hence, they will not be posted).

The day was hot (I have never sweat so much before — and it was probably idiotic of me to wear pants while running….I literally was one of the very few who did so). But even though it was hot, it was picturesque and beautiful with no clouds in sight.

Just like after the Chicago Marathon 2015, my gracious host, Michelle, had the most amazing Post Marathon Party. Her apartment is beyond ridiculous — maybe the most beautiful apartment I have ever seen with 360 degree views of Chicago. On the 62nd floor! Insane! The party is filled with elite runners (her husband, who is 45 ran a 2:37!) and I met Joan Benoit, Paula Radcliffe, Matt Centrowitz, and many elite runners who just qualified for the Olympic trials for 2020 in the marathon! The highlight of the weekend was the party —  super duper fun.

This was my meal post marathon. Egg white omelette, waffle with nutella, and lots of bacon. I kept on asking the server to add more and more whipped cream, I could have had way more, too.

Oh and I drank a lot of these bad boys. SO GOOD. So worth it and I deserved it. 🙂

Mini ice cream, right up my alley.

Matt Centrowitz. I was a giddy little school girl meeting Matt because he is a Gold Medalist at the Rio Olympics in the 1500 meters, but he was also a runner for the University of Oregon, so I have been following his career forever. Matt was there to pace my friend Michelle’s husband for the first 17 miles. Michelle had told him all about me before I met him, so he knew everything about how we met (at the Paris Marathon), the Natori Company, my connection to Eugene, etc….He was such a stand up guy and so personable, charming, and great. I talked to him for a long time and he was awesome. He is coming to NYC for the marathon (well he is doing the 5K pre marathon) and is in Eugene finishing up school this semester. If you ever come in contact with him, TALK TO HIM. Such a nice guy. Meeting up was incredible.

Chicago, see you later!


So one more marathon in the books, something to reflect on and learn from…..and then time to move on to the next marathon and goal. Thanks for following my training and running adventures!

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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  1. Whoa- super party! Highs and lows of marathon running. You couldn’t convince a Cruz to join you for his 8th on your 8th?!?!

  2. Love the first picture. Legs up the wall while you lay on the floor is such a relaxing and grounding pose! Sounds like you still did amazing at the marathon (no matter what your personal goal was) and had a great time as well!

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