Training Eric Bang Discovered There are No Limits at the Chicago Marathon

Eric Bang Discovered There are No Limits at the Chicago Marathon

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After 16 weeks of training, my finish line has officially been crossed! My immediate feeling upon completing the 40th Anniversary of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon was disbelief. The whole race really felt like a dream from beginning to end. My second thought was, where is my training partner Kyle? I was so relieved to see him coming down the final stretch, moments after I turned around. I was able to cheer him in and witness him achieve his biggest goal, which in itself, was a fantastic feeling.

Leading up to this race, I had set a Moonshot goal of 2:25:00, and this was absolutely at the forefront of my mind throughout my three months of training. Of course, you question during that time, will I be able to do this? Is this possible? But once I got to the start line and the gun went off, I didn’t need to think about it anymore. My mind was in the moment and I was free to just race and let my body do what I had trained it to do. I knew that as long as I kept my systems in check and I pushed my body right to that fine line of its threshold, but not over it, that I would be able to break through to get the best result out of myself.

I was also really fortunate to have Kyle race with me. We were able to work together for 36 km of the race and that absolutely benefited us both, allowing us to bring out the best in each other. The afternoon before the race, Kyle was still thinking of going 1:13:30 – 1:14:00 through the half, but I guess something changed on Sunday morning, as he had the confidence to push ahead with me, and go through the half in just over 1:12:00. After the halfway mark, we were consistently going through checkpoints around a minute faster than goal pace. I kept telling myself to be brave, you have the potential to do this, no doubts.

There were challenging moments that I had to work through during this race, but in comparison, I have been in more discomfort and have worked through higher levels of pain, for longer periods of time during some of my workouts. So, I really felt like I could push through any issues I was experiencing. Looking back if I could have changed one thing about my race, it would have been to finish stronger over the last 5 km. I was supposed to drive the course the day before to prep myself, but I didn’t get a chance to do so. I ended up holding back during the last 5 km because I wasn’t sure where the final hill was or what the distance was after the hill. If I had known where it was and how long the stretches were after it, I would’ve been able to burn the last of my energy more appropriately.

All of that said, not only did I reach my Moonshot goal, I actually surpassed it by a minute, finishing 2:23:54. That was 4 min and 36 sec faster than my PB set the previous year, so I couldn’t have dreamed that I could run that even on my best day. Unfortunately, I can’t help but ask myself if I could have gotten across the finish line faster, if I had I been a little braver over the last 5 km. But at the end of the day, I am so beyond happy with my result and am proud of what I have accomplished.

Three months ago, when I set my goal of 2:25:00, it truly was a Moonshot. Now this is my new benchmark and I am really excited for what comes next. I truly feel like there are no limits to what I can achieve.

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