26.2 Miles Worth of Thoughts


What a weekend! As I write this, my legs are elevated with ice packs on them and I’m probably about to go get a snack soon (for about the tenth time today)…does it sound like I just ran a marathon?

Why, yes, you are correct. I completed my first marathon at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon yesterday and what a rush it was! Never have I run a race where there were spectators cheering along the entire course and where runners were surrounding me from start to finish. I guess it’s to be expected when there are 1.7 million spectators (I know!!) and 45 thousand runners. Start out big, I guess. It was also the last race of the season that I was training for — and I’m already thinking about what to do next.


While I recover and relax (wine in hand), I thought I’d share with you some thoughts of mine…thoughts that I had while running. I don’t listen to music while I run, let alone during a race, so it gives me plenty of time to think. Several people have asked what I think about while I run, so I thought I’d give you a glimpse into my running mind — and, trust me, this is just a small portion of everything going through my head.

Start: So. Many. People. Wow! This is it!


Ready to get this race started!

Mile 0.5: Guys are lucky; they can pee by a tree and get away with it. If I could have done that, maybe I wouldn’t have had to stand in line for 15 minutes to use the port-a-pot and almost miss the corral closing time.

Did I dress too warmly? Everybody is dressed cooler than me. I hope I don’t get too warm.

Mile 1: Woah, slow down, Kara. I feel great, though. It feels like I’m going slow, but my time says otherwise.

Mile 2: Where’s Philip. Somewhere in these thousands of people…


Mile 3: This is awesome! There should be music through the whole thing. It definitely pumps me up and the spectators are unbelievable.

Mile 4: Feeling good. Long ways to go. Keep a good pace, Kara. Am I going too fast? Can I keep this pace up? Am I going to be too hot at the end?

[insert thought about pace/time/mental math calculation here]

Mile 5: More guys peeing. Lucky.

What a beautiful day out! I’m warm, but I think I’ll be okay. Love the ventilation in this shirt!

Why am I so emotional today? Smiling, almost crying…I’m so thankful to be injury-free, be in good health, and have the ability to run. Thanks, God.


Mile 6: [More people watching and reading spectator signs — they’re so creative!] There are so many people! This is insane.

Ugh, my ankle is hurting already?! Great… That’s okay, keep going, Kara.

Mile 7: Philip? Nope, still no sign…

Mile 8: Ugh…I have to go to work tomorrow.


Mile 9: What should I write in my blog post today?…

Wow, people are so sweaty! How do some of them look like they just ran through a pool?

[insert thought about pace/time/mental math calculation here]

Mile 10: There sure are a lot of smells here. Good thing I’m not pregnant. [Don’t worry, it’ll be awhile] There are some strong ones.


Mile 11: Note to self: Next time write your name on your bib for people to cheer you on. I keep hearing “Ryan”, maybe I’ll pretend I’m Ryan…

Mile 12: What should I ask for Christmas this year…


Mile 13: Half way…only half way?! I can’t believe I used to think doing a half marathon was so tough and difficult [don’t get me wrong, it is definitely still challenging]

[insert thought about pace/time/mental math calculation here]

I know! I’ll blog about what I’ve been thinking about! Yeah! Great idea, Self. Now, what have I been thinking about?

Mile 14: Alright, I’m in my stride. Feeling good. I could do this forever! This is great!

Mile 15: I can’t wait for my mocha after this. [As a special treat, I will have a mocha after a long run day, if the opportunity arises. My mocha yesterday tasted extra good]


Mile 16: [passing a conducted band playing “Firework” by Katy Perry, but a few tempos too slow] Okay, that is not helping me keep my pace up right now. Still, the spectators and variety of entertainment is great!

Mile 17: Still feeling great. Boston is definitely a possibility.

[insert thought about pace/time/mental math calculation here]

Mile 18: Whatever that smell is, smells good. I’m getting hungry…


Mile 19: Still looking for Philip…I think it’s a lost cause.

Seriously, is that a spectator smoking?! That’s hardly helping you or everybody else running.

Mile 20: Man down…yikes. Keep going, Kara. [say a quick prayer]

Mile 21: Man, the cheering spectators are great! I’m so blessed to be able to do this.


Mile 22: Okay…maybe I couldn’t do this forever. But almost there. Feeling some soreness in my legs and hips.

[insert thought about pace/time/mental math calculation here]

Mile 23: There are so many people having to walk now. [start praying that I can stay strong and my legs keep feeling good — or as good as they possibly can]

Mile 25: One more mile (I’m rounding down)!! But why did my watch say that 1200 meters ago? This is not helping my mental mindset. This seems like a long mile.


Mile 26: Almost there, almost there…focus. Can’t wait to see Philip.

Mile 26.2: Smile and laugh and cry, because I just finished my first marathon in 3:23. And wow, I’m so sore.

So there you have it — my thoughts from my longest run yet. Random, yet (somewhat) focused at the same time. And now, back to the normal grind of the work week.



    1. Thanks! Ha, nope, not once. He only saw me two times…I was just running so fast he missed me at the spots he was waiting to see me at. ;)

      1. My wife forwarded this to me. I also ran Chicago on Sunday for my first marathon and finished 1 minute behind you. I was hoping to BQ, but on race morning didn’t even give the 7:15 pace a shot as I couldn’t fall asleep the night before. Its probably for the better since I didnt end up blowing up during the race. Congrats on the BQ time and I enjoyed reading the post! – Jason Renk North Liberty, IA

      2. Jason, Congratulations on finishing your first marathon! That is definitely still an awesome time! What an accomplishment. Running Chicago was quite the experience and thrill. Hope you’re recovering nicely and are going for another marathon to reach your goal. Thanks for reading my blog post!

  1. Wow, Kara! Congrats! What an accomplishment! I really, really enjoyed reading this post – I can pretty much imagine that that’s just about how a thought string would go when you’re running a marathon. Well, accept if I was doing it, the thought string would contain many more musings on pain, suffering and agony! (And so funny about guys and trees … ugh … too true … how unfair, lol! :D ) ~Shelley

    1. Thanks, Shelley! It’s been fun for me to look back already and see what I was thinking about during the race, too! It already brings back so many memories…and it was only a week ago. Ha. The thoughts helped me keep my mind off the current pain I was in, otherwise I would have been having much more of those thoughts, too!

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