26 Strong: Running the Chicago Marathon Again!

Never Limit Where Running Can Take You

When I met my buddy Bart Yasso at the Runner’s World Half, he signed his book “never limit where running can take you.”

Running has given so much to my life.

It’s given me the confidence to believe in my dreams. I never thought I’d be able to run a marathon, much less four, taking off more than an hour off my time from the first to the fourth.

It’s given me some pretty incredible opportunities, from a race and trip to the Bahamas to hanging out with the Runner’s World staff and was even being included in their top fave Twitter people.

It’s given me some free therapy and massive endorphin rushes.

But most importantly, it’s given me friendship. Ashley and I became so close because we logged a million hours running together as we trained for our first marathons. It’s given me a new outlet to connect with my coworkers. It’s brought countless people into my life that I would not have met were it not for running.

26 Strong Logo Badge

So I am REALLY excited to announce that I’ll be running the Chicago Marathon as part of the 26 Strong program with Saucony and the Competitor Group. The program pairs experienced marathoners with first-timers to coach them through the experience.

I remember reading along last year as Michele trained with her sister, and getting the warm-fuzzies as they shared the experience of training for Honolulu.

NYC Marathon Blue Line Tent

I’m really excited to be training with my good friend Heather. We only met this time last year (in fact, yesterday was our friend-a-versary), but she quickly became one of my closest and most supportive friends. Our friendship has given me so much, and I can’t wait to pay that back by supporting her through training for her first marathon.

A note on choosing to work with Saucony: those of you who have read this blog for a long time know that I have been brand-loyal to New Balance for the past few years since they were my client at my last job. But I actually ran in Sauconys for years before working with New Balance and ran my first two marathons in Sauconys. I didn’t take this decision-making lightly because I know how it looks when I’ve written about one brand for years and am all of a sudden taking an opportunity with another brand just because it’s an awesome opportunity. I’ve turned down paid campaigns for other shoe brands because of my loyalty, but I ultimately decided that I felt comfortable working with Saucony since I ran in their shoes for so long before making the switch to NB.

So, two marathons this year — ah! I cannot wait, though. This is going to be a truly memorable experience, and I can’t wait to share it all with you.

13 comments on “26 Strong: Running the Chicago Marathon Again!

  1. Ash Diamond

    Aww lots of hugs and puppy kisses coming your way! 🙂 I’m so excited to enjoy at least one run with you next week in NYC! I can’t wait to support you and Heather!

  2. Victoria

    So cool that you get to go back to Chicago and get to work with your friend towards this very awesome goal. Very excited to read about the journey!

    Also, I very much appreciate and respect that you addressed your affiliations – so many other bloggers switch between sponsorships so frequently and never speak of what is really going on that you feel like they aren’t really backing the brand at all. It’s refreshing to see the openness.

    1. Theodora Blanchfield Post author

      @Victoria: Thanks! It’s definitely something that frustrates me, too, as a reader, which is why I wanted to address it. Also, let’s be real: there is no way I was going to work with a brand whose shoe I was nervous about taking me 26.2.

  3. Gianna @ Run, Lift, Repeat

    How exciting! and a great opportunity. I am getting a little nostalgia for Chicago at the moment and wanting to avenge last years awful marathon there but happy I didn’t enter the lottery. Can’t wait to hear about your journey with a first timer!

  4. Maureen

    Wishing you all the best in this run.
    My sister ran in the Chicago marathon two yrs after receiving a bone marrow transplant for stage 4 cancer. She rand with her husband and the person who was her bone marrow donor.

  5. Amanda

    Congrats on this opportunity, so exciting! I got in to Chicago off the lottery and am confirming my spot this week! I ran the NYC marathon in 2013 and this will be my second marathon, super excited to take on this race with a little experience under my belt. Would love to meet for an NYC run as we prep for 26.2!

  6. Heather

    Woo hoo!! I am very excited and can’t wait to do this together! Thanks for taking me on 🙂

  7. Kris

    This is a great organization and will be a great running experience!
    I just signed up for the Chicago Marathon and will fundraise/train with the Girls on the Run organization. I am nervous, but so excited!
    Do you have a recommendation for a hotel/area to stay? What did you find successful and helpful the last time you ran Chicago? Any tips would be great. Thank you!

  8. Charlie

    So pleased for you, looking forward to following your training and hope we can meet for a celebratory fizz after the Chicago marathon!!


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