Thursday, November 23, 2017

The Amazing Race that is the Chicago Marathon: race recap part 2

Hi everyone! I'm back for the last part of the race, as promised!

When we left off, I had just loaded up on Biofreeze. But the truth is, for almost the last half of the race, FOR 13.1 MILES, all my body wanted to do was quit. When I realized I was definitely not going to hit my goal time unless I sprouted wings, the negative thoughts threatened to take over:

I started to question my sanity about running, and ability to run, the distance:

By the way, this always happens when I get past 20 miles.

I was having kind of a hard time staying positive.

Things were not great.

Erika could tell I was struggling, so she revised our plan to get to the finish.

I had a fairly fully-formed sentence in my head, but all I could muster was this gesture for her to interpret.

Erika thought I was really angry but I was just preserving my energy so I didn't fall on my face.

She tried everything in the book to keep me motivated.

Encouraging words:

Stern talking-tos:

Dancing in Boys' Town:

I used a couple of other fingers to respond that time.

But honestly, how come she had so much energy??

There was nothing to be done. I just had to keep moving through the misery. As Sir Winston Churchill apparently once said:

Sure, he was probably talking about war, but whatevs.

For the last 2 miles until close to the end I think we did something like a 4:1 walk/run, then we ran the last half mile in.

My finish time was 5:14:34, which is 4 minutes slower than my previously slowest marathon, but I was so relieved to be done!

I received my finisher's medal and got my picture taken.

That photo sure is a keeper.

Then I found a spot of pavement and tried not to pass out or vomit.

Thankfully I did neither, and once we I gathered ourselves myself, we wandered back to the hotel, showered, and limped to the restaurant next door for dinner.

We did actually eat too.

We  did a bit of sightseeing that night and before heading to the airport the next day, we even made it to the Bean!

So, here are my final thoughts on the race:

1. While I had really wanted to come in under 5 hours, I am happy that I pushed myself to finish. The thing is, my marathons never live up to my training.

I *should* be racing faster, based on my training paces. Mere seconds are lost per mile but over hours they add up and the number in my head goes right out the window.

2.  Hurting my IT band definitely had an effect on my training, and I'm certain that one 16 miler was not enough to prepare me. But, that was the best I could do with the time I had left.

3. No matter how rough it was, running with my best friend is one of my favourite things to do!

4.  The Chicago Marathon has great volunteers and unbelievable crowds. I never turned on my music because there was always something to see and hear. It would be a great first marathon!

5.  Yup. I'm retiring from marathons.


UPCOMING POSTS: Plans for the upcoming year--Will I race more? Will I blog more?? 

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Amazing Race That is the Chicago Marathon: race recap part 1

On October 8th, I ran the Chicago Marathon.

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!


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