The day beforehand I flew to Chicago, met up with my bestie Erika and went to the expo, where we got our packets and played fun activities.
In my defense I...yeah, I have no defense.
And, after obsessively googling for weeks, I found a place that had plain chicken for our pre-race dinner:
As you would expect, we went to bed early that night. However, Erika's home team was playing their nemesis and it was a very exciting game! She tried not to hoot and holler during her team's football game while I slept.
If you've ever observed someone try to scream in excitement silently, you'll know it's pretty entertaining!
We woke up the next morning having both slept surprisingly well. We reviewed our race strategy, and despite the fact that I had only done one 16 mile run as my longest run, I decided that a sub 5 hour finish was completely within my reach.
The start of the race was great. The spectators were amazing and helped make the mile markers feel like they were 5 minutes apart.
After 6 miles Erika and I were pretty sure that I could average an 11:30 pace for the rest of the race, which would net me a sweet PR.
By mile 13 I started feeling tired but my pace was alternating between about 10:30 and 11:30, likely because I was walking every 2 miles for 30-60 seconds to take in my nutrition, and another 30 or so at the water stations.
I was still holding on, but fading.
By mile 18 things had taken a definite turn; I was firmly riding the struggle bus. My knees were hurting.
My hips were hurting.
I DESPERATELY wanted to sit down for *just a minute* but knew that would be the end of my race.
Looking at my stats, it's pretty clear that I hit the wall.
And I hit it hard.
Around that time, a girl suddenly appeared and started chatting excitedly with Erika.
Who was she? Why did she look so fresh???
It turned out she was Erika's childhood friend who was spectating the race, but it was a very confusing few minutes for me. Just after seeing her, we had a stretch of road leading into Chinatown where there was a huge vat of Biofreeze.
I applied some liberally to my knees, hips and back.
With my lower body 87.6% numb, I ambled past the dragons and into the last big chunk of the race.
I'm already working on the second part of the recap, but this felt like a good place to stop.
I'll be back soon!