The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is not something one just decides to do on a whim. It takes rigorous training, mental well-being and a lot of persistence (a high pain tolerance helps too) — qualities familiar to Ellie Pearlman ’15, who completed the marathon on Sun., Oct. 7th.
This 26.2 mile marathon is one of the five World Marathon Majors, drawing thousands of participants from across the globe. This year 37,455 runners finished the marathon, according to its website.
Pearlman sat down with Dartbeat while still recovering to give us an inside look at the sweat and toil she put into training and the race itself.
Dartbeat: How did you choose the Chicago Marathon?
Ellie Pearlman: I live in Chicago so this seemed to be appropriate. I also thought it would be fun to do a major marathon for my first one.
D:What did your summer training include?Courtesy of AP Photo/Paul Beaty
EP: Each week I had one long run, starting with eight miles and working up to 20 miles. On the other days, you do normal runs between five and eight miles. You build up for two weeks and then have a rest week. The week before the marathon you don’t run at all, which was nice.
D: Walk me through the day of the marathon.
EP: It started at 7:30 a.m., so I woke up at 6 and ate my bagel — I always do before the long runs. You walk over in sweats you don’t care about and five minutes before the marathon starts you just strip. It looked like it was raining clothes.
D: How was the actual marathon?
EP: The race was really good, better than I expected. I had a lot of adrenaline at first. Thousands of people were cheering, and it was so new I didn’t pay attention to running until mile 15 when my legs started to ache. By mile 20 I started hurting everywhere.
D: What helped you get through that pain?
EP: You want to stop, but you have to keep going. My friend Hannah and I pushed each other though. In training you only run up to 20 miles, so the last six miles feels just as hard as the first 20. It wasn’t as bad as I expected because everyone hyped it up, but the last .2 miles felt like a lifetime.
D: How did you get past the physical intensity of the last six miles?
EP: During the last six, you get to the point where each step is a burden. I had to focus on each mile without getting caught up in the huge distance I had left.
D: What were your feelings after finally finishing the race?
EP: I expected a huge wave of relief the minute I stepped over the finish line, but the first thing I thought was “Gatorade. I need Gatorade.” I drank six cups of Gatorade and sat down for 30 minutes feeling nauseous. Then I flipped a switch and felt relief, joy and complete euphoria.
D: How did you feel about your time?
EP: My goal was 3:35:00, the qualifying time for the Boston Marathon, so I was really pleased with my time of 3:32:49. I would’ve been happy if I was close to that time, so to be under is exciting.
D: What are your thoughts on future marathons?
EP:When we crossed the finish line, Hannah and I looked at each other and said, “We’re not doing this again, anytime soon.” But it’s only been two days and I’m already feeling much better. I plan to compete in Boston next year. I wouldn’t do it in the middle of midterms again though.
D: How have you been recuperating?
EP: My dad did some research on recovering from a marathon. You just don’t run for a week, drink a lot of water and eat a lot of food. I’m living large right now.
D: Any advice for prospective marathon runners?
EP: Every time I tell someone I’m running a marathon, they say, “Oh, I could never do that.” But once you start training it’s not that hard. Anyone can do it; it just takes persistence.
Tags: chicago, Chicago marathon, Jessica Zischke