Thursday, October 12, 2017

Chicago Marathon Recap

That was the word I chose at the end of 2016 to motivate me towards a better marathon in 2017.
If you are friends with me on Facebook, follow me on Instagram, maybe you already know how my race went.

Race morning started off like any other, meeting friends in the corral and huddling for warmth. It was really cold at 7:30 and I was wearing a tank and thin arms sleeves. The race finally started for us at 8:45, 15 minutes late. I would stick with Kelly and Erica for almost the entire first half of the race. Kelly sped off first and Erica and I parted after mile 16 or so. 

But I digress. The three of us started off, mostly doing a 1:30 run, :30 walk and sometimes doing a 1:1 depending on the circumstances. There were some crazy grated bridges and photo ops that changed our pace from time to time.

By mile 3 I had already abandoned my arm sleeves, it got very warm very quickly. This look on my face pretty much describes my emotions for the entire race. At no point was I ever discouraged really, or in any pain that would take me out of the race.

We didn't start slowing down until the second half of the race, really. We got a much needed ice pop from a lovely little girl and her parents in the first half as well, and we slowed down a bit to eat them. This is when we started losing our 6:30 goal. The heat was slowing us down just enough.

At mile 12ish, we stopped to see the hubs, who had pretzels and Swedish fish. I was still feeling amazing, but my toe was starting to rub in my shoe and I felt like a blister was starting. I had to run in less than desirable shoes because my old ones were too old. I had purchased new ones with plenty of time to break them in, but they had a rough spot. By the time I figured this out, it was too late to get new ones so I wrapped my toe in a blister band aid. What I didn't realize was that the bandage pushed the bottom of my toe forward and it was rubbing. At this point I was still pretty ok, just a hot spot.

At mile 13, I got my first messages. They were both from my friend Nicky, who lives in Florida. I knew that there were more, but I only received those 2 at the time. I was looking forward to the rest at mile 20 or so. This was never to be, however, by the time I reached it, the sign had been removed and no messages were waiting for me. I got them in an email yesterday, though.

At mile16, the hubs met us again, this time with some Coke for Erica. We both drank some and continued on. I was starting suffer a lot more, and Erica soldiered on ahead of me shortly after. She wasn't feeling well, so she stuck to a badass power walk that I couldn't keep up with.

At mile 18, they began to open  roads. They were telling us to get up on the sidewalks, but there was no room. There were still crazy amounts of spectators at this point. I was still running a bit at this point, but soon that would become too much. My gait was suffering and my calf was starting to cramp up.

At no point did I ever consider quitting, but it definitely got ugly at this point. I was so worried about being swept, I definitely shed a few tears. 

I reached China Town, which I knew mean that I was almost done. All of the spectators and dancers were gone.

They were basically taking down the course ahead of me at this point. I was seriously worried! Would they let us get to the end and not finish? My calf had loosened but I was now walking only, and there were no more mile markers to gauge the distance by.  Because of the high building, gps at Chicago is a hot mess, and I hit 26.2 on my watch with over a mile to go.

They finally diverted us to a sidewalk to finish out the race. I was full on bawling now, I was so worried. Plus, I really wanted to take off my freaking shoes and hit a medical tent.

We finally turn a corner and there is the Finish! Look closely, though. It's fenced off! I was ok with this. I was finishing way past the cutoff, I just wanted my medal! We were diverted to the left, and given medals and a bottle of warm water. No mylar, no food. NO FOOD. It took me almost 8 hours and there was no food.
The volunteers were behind the finish line, loading grocery bags with the leftover food to take home.
We were diverted about a half mile (at least that's how it felt, might have been a quarter mile) away from the finish line, and our families. 
I was finally able to see a street sign to tell the hubs where to find me, and to cry about not having any food. He found an official who seemed shocked about the food, and got me a couple granola bars. Please note, we were also diverted away from any medical tents. 

The hubs brought me some chocolate milk, my Oofos, and a bandaid for my blister. This held me over until we got back to the hotel. The blister covers the entire bottom of my little toe, and extends under the nail. I am wondering if I will lose my first toenail over this!

So let's talk about the whole redemption thing. 
I did not get the time I wanted on the clock at the finish, that's for sure. 
I did not give up, I stayed strong, and finished with my head held high.
I trained my butt off, and was in far better shape after the race than last year. Well, besides this pesky blister, that is. 
Oh, and I've already committed to Marine Corps next year with MDA.
I raised $3400 for MDA.
I can walk without limping, and have been since Monday. 

I feel good about the race, and look forward to training for the 50K in May. 
Obviously, I need a new word for 2018, since I choose one every winter for the new year. 
Believe, Persevere, I Can, Redemption......

What should I use for 2018?
I am leaning towards determined, but I am definitely open to suggestions!

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