1. Do your crying up front. You'll be emotional at the starting line as it is, so let your tears flow then. Trust me: You won't have any moisture left in your body at the finish line anyway.
2. Speaking of moisture, PEE BEFORE THE RACE. Then get back in the porta-potty line and pee again.
3. There are very few people in the world who get to be cheered and
screamed at by millions of fans for plus-or-minus four hours. You're one
of them. Drink it in.
4. That said, don't let all that screaming
distract you from the race. It's fun to smile and wave at everyone, but
doing so burns precious energy. Find the balance between being a rock
star and being a disciplined runner.
5. THAT said, all bets are off
in Boystown. The second you turn left from Addison onto Broadway, you
will be overcome by megatron levels of cheering and screaming and drag
queens and music and pure unbridled joy. It is the BEST mile of the
race, so smile and wave and cheer and pump your arms and maybe even cry a
little. You won't be able to stop yourself anyway, so dive in and enjoy
6. There's no shame in walking if you need to. Your legs will
start to stiffen up if you walk too long, though, which will make it
harder to resume your running. But you probably already know that by
7. That said, suck it up, put on your badass runner face and start
running like a world-class athlete whenever you see the marathon
photographers. (See photo.) You'll thank me when it comes time to
buy your commemorative marathon photos.
8. I'm not gonna lie: Your
last few miles running north up Michigan Avenue will suck like you won't
believe. The cheering crowds will thin, your feet will hurt all the way
up to your neck and you will swear that someone has put the Willis
Tower -- your one shining beacon leading you to the finish line -- on
wheels and is slowly pushing it farther and farther north just to mess
with your mind. Rest assured that's not the case; there seriously isn't
time to get all those wheels installed.
9. The route is pretty
uniformly, blessedly flat. For the first 26 miles. In a twist that can
only be described as cruel and unusual, the route becomes a steep hill
once you pass the 26-mile marker and turn right on Roosevelt. To
mitigate the situation, though, there will be another massive crowd
there to cheer you on. Drink in as much as your body will let you.
10. Check out your skin after you cross the finish line. You will be
covered in homemade salt. You're a margarita! So cheers to you for
finishing. You've earned it.