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Note from Editor: The 2007 Chicago Marathon was cancelled mid-run due to the heat. Below is a first-hand account from one of the runners who was forced to stop running. To learn more about this debacle, read this AFP news story.

Running Background:

I consider myself an intermediate runner and I primarily run for hobby. When I first started training for and running marathons, I needed the feeling of accomplishment and the strength to know I could do it.

Training:

I followed Jeff Galloway's program with the National Aids Marathon Training Program. I trained for 6 months, and I averaged 12 miles per week during my training.

The best training advice I received was to make sure you hydrate several days before a long run and get plenty of rest in the days preceding the run.

Race Day:

The 2007 Chicago Marathon was not quite what I expected. I was disappointed. At mile 16, I was told to keep going straight because the race was over due to heat. I followed the instructions and proceeded to the artificial finish line. I think the "modified" race ended up being 17 or 18 miles. I still got a medal but I was upset that I could not finish the 26.2 miles I worked so hard to train for.

This was my third marathon and I feel for those first timers because there is nothing like finishing your first marathon. I knew I had to consciously slow my pace because of the heat, and I had fun with my friend who was running with me. That said, I felt terrible about the situation.

Water was hard to find especially around the 5K mark. I was thirsty for a couple of miles until I found someone to refill my Camelbak with a hose. Thirst during a marathon is never a good thing. Overall, I felt good and could have finished the course which is maddening. My medal feels undeserved and I feel as though I have unfinished business in the Chicago Marathon.

Despite this incident, I love this marathon. I will definitely be back next year. Hopefully this is a learning experience. You can never have enough water/Gatorade. I guess they ran out of ambulances too? That is what I heard.

I am glad that I didn't drop out because I decided to on my own -- they made us stop running. For some reason, I feel as though I need a 2007 Chicago Marathon support group or something.

Recovery:

I didn't have any problems with my recovery. I made sure to drink lots of water.

Running Gear Recommendations:

Camelback Hydration Pack
I love my Camelbak. For my first two marathons, I used a water bottle belt. I thought a Camelbak would be too heavy, but I love it.
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Tips/Words of Encouragement:

There is never anything like finishing the training and crossing the finish line. Live in the moment while you train because as soon as you get that medal, it is a bittersweet ending to your accomplishment. The marathon is not a one day event -- it is the months it takes you to build yourself up and dig deep to run all those miles. If it's your first time, do not aim for a time goal -- just aim to finish. It is admirable just to finish. You will be part of an elite group. Love it whether you're slow or fast, just love it.

Plans to Run Another:

I'm planning to continue to run marathons because I love the mental and physical aspects.

For my next marathon, I'll have my family meet me along the course with my own water and Gatorade.

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