Monday, October 17, 2011

Marathon Day - October 9, 2011 - Chicago

This day started out pretty much like any other long run day.  Only today it was going to be a much longer long run and there would be all daylight.
We had all set our phones for times between 4:45am and 5:00am and we were up at the first beep beep beep.

We had all laid out our things the night before so as like with any other long run, honestly there wasnt much to do.
We dressed, my 2 roommates did what I was unable to do (bathroom doody duty) and unlike me, they both put make up on.  I don't know...seems silly to me.  But we are each our own.

I had Amanda write "Mom" down the back of my left leg and the date of her passing "3-10-11" down the back of the right leg.

I looked at my phone and saw the temp was 65deg.  FML.  

Right before heading out.  Throwaway shirts and all. And  no we all didnt sleep in one bed.  I had my own and they shared.  I lucked out!

As we walked out of the room, we all double checked for our train pass and our room key.
Good to go.

I was perfectly fine with walking to the Start, but we just hopped on the Red line and rode the few stops to Jackson and hopped off and just made our way towards Columbus where the start of the Open corral would be.

When we arrived it was basically empty and we situated ourselves right up front.  This is basically where the 3:45 pace teams situate, but since I had done this last year I knew that we would be fine and in no ones way as well its 45000 people at the Start.  No one is going anywhere fast for a few miles.  Just stay to the right girls and we'll be fine.  Tracey and Amanda are +5.5 hour marathoners (this was their 2nd go at the distance), so I knew we would be separated early on.  We all knew that each of us had our race in our heads and never was there any expectation of anything else.

Amanda and Tracey both went out at different times to use the potties, but I stayed firm until it was too late.
I tried but the lines were just too long.  However when searching for another bank of them, a bunch of guys recognized me from Kenyan Way and said hello.  Unfortunately I had never seen them before in my life, but not surprised.   This would not be the first time such an incident occurred on this day.

About 10 minutes before the Start of the Elite field, we all stripped off our shirts as everyone around us was doing and tossing them as far to the side as we could.
We then slowly were being allowed to move forward towards the Start as the A, B, C corrals were released to go.

I was dying of having to pee, and I had my strategy already, knowing that within the first mile, you go through a tunnel and last year I knew that when going through it there were tons of guys on either side peeing against the wall.  I also knew that I had attempted last year to see if there was a cubby hole for a girl to perform this same act, but I never did see an opening and waited until almost mile 2 before I was able to go in a small parking lot behind a car.  :)

And before I knew it, we were off and Bruce Springsteen was singing (Baby I Was) Born to Run.

And as soon as I hit that tunnel I veered off to the right and thought, I dont care, I am going to pee.  There is a retaining wall so at least I knew I would be covered by the field seeing my bare behind!  But there are also concrete pylons and lo and behold if you just go around it, its indented and perfect for hiding.  As I was about to pee a guy was going past, saw me, looked back and I simply said "dont look!" and off he went!  I stood up, pulled up my shorts and took off, crawling right back into the crowd and directly behind Tracey.  As I passed her I said "go get em" and I was off.  I heard her say "lucky!" knowing that I had been able to relieve myself and she had to go but not as brave as I am.

I dont really remember much about that first 10K other than thinking my Garmin was off on the pace because I didnt think I was running as fast as it was saying I was, but I wasnt sure if I wasnt caught up in the I conciously made myself slow my roll.  Within the first 2 miles we run right past our hotel and I think...I will be seeing you soon...

I also remember that I was already sweating in the first 10K and that last year this had not been the case until much later in the race.  I dont know what the difference was because it was even warmer at the start last year.  Then after passing the 10K timing mat I wondered if the athlete tracker was working and if the few people I had sent the link to, had gotten word of that split.  I would find out later that they did, and it was the last one that they would get.

I dont remember when I took Endurolytes or when I took Gu.  All I can tell you is that I took 8-10 Endurolytes and I ingested 4 Gu's.

What I can tell you is that Gatorade Endurance makes me nauseous.  It was either too strong or it was the heat, or both.  It was especially bad in the 2nd half as my body was being fried from the sun and I knew I was going to have one helluva sunburn because ... well apparently they didnt have sunscreen at any medical tent and I had forgotten to apply it before I left the room.  Fail.

I always put it on my face.  I cannot STAND for my face to be sunburned and I rarely expose it to the sun without protection of some level.  The whole 2nd half of this race you are 98% in the sun.  There are small opportunities to be shaded by one side of the street or the other, but its rare, and its prime real estate and I am certain that I added mileage on due to me moving from one side of the street to the other to take advantage of it every chance I could.  And also thankfully, the last 3 miles or so, the sun is at your back and your front side gets a reprieve.

But before I even got to the 2nd half of this race, it was just as I was about to approach the 13.1 timing mat when I looked down at my shoe for my DTag, and it wasnt there.  Dammit!  Why doesnt an outfit as large and as prominent as the Chicago Marathon not gone to BTags???  (timing chips in your bib).  The only hope I had was that the little bar code thing in my bib that I remember scanning it for verification it was me at the Expo would somehow record me.

It didnt, and I would find out later by first all the texts I had on my phone when I got back to the room and then verifying that online through the results page.

Well thats when I thought "I did say time wasnt important today"...and I trudged on.  I remember that I crossed the 13.1 at 2:16.  A minute slower than last year, but I was still fine with it.  I had my Garmin and I had the clock at certain mile markers to go by and just subtracted how long it had taken me to cross the Start from the official time of 7:30am.

There isn't really a whole lot to write about honestly.  I will say that the biggest difference between this years heat-fest and last years heat-fest is that last year I seriously considered DNF'ing at around mile 22 or something like that.  This year the thought never entered my mind.  If I had to walk and it took me 6:30 then that would be what it took.  And furthermore it didnt enter my mind because my mindset was completely different in 2011.

Anyway, what I can tell you is that there were lots of sprinklers,  there were lots of people with water hoses.  There was even one intersection where someone had opened up a fire hydrant!  That was cool.

When there wasn't a water stop, there were people outside of their business' or homes with pallets of bottled water to give to anyone who was in need.

There were kids pools filled with cold, cold water and lots and lots of green sponges at 3 different spots, which then turned those water stops into land mines of sponges.  As AWESOME as that cold water felt as you wring it out on you, manuevering 100m+ of spongy pavement isnt always easy.

I took in so much more of the course this year than last.  I enjoyed seeing the people outside enjoying the lovely Chicago day (if not for the runners at least for the cheering fans!)  I high fived and fist bumped a lot of little kids.  I read signs and laughed.  I said thank you to a lot of people.  I paid special attention in ChinaTown (mile 21ish) as I made that right hand turn so that I could really see the wonderful dragons in all their costume and glory.

And there were a couple of other neat points, one that was very poignant.  I cannot remember now what mile it was, but for some reason I believe it was before the 13.1 mile mark...where a woman came up along side of me, caught my attention and I realized she wanted to talk to me.  I pulled out my right earbud and she said to me "What is that date on the back of your leg?  For your mom, is that her birthday or something?"  I found that to be an odd question since it had an '11' for the year, but I simply said "No, its the day she passed away."
She looked at me and said "thats the exact day my Mom died too".  She said "shes very proud of you I hope you know that" and before I could say anything, off she went.
Still brings tears to my eyes.

Then around mile 18 or so, another girl, much younger than the previous one came up alongside of me on the left and again, out with the ear bud.
"You're with Kenyan Way right? I recognize you"
Her name was Lisa and although I had never seen her before in my life (like the dudes from above), we struck up a little conversation.  She was dying and wanting to quit.  Her exact words were "I have never wanted to quit so bad in my whole life."  I looked at her and said "last year, I wanted to quit too, it was later on but I was going to, I was ready.  But I didnt, and you shouldnt either."  I had switched to run/walk at this point so together we ran along side by side until I took an extra walk break and told her to go on ahead.

I hope Lisa did indeed finish.  Something tells me she did.
And I hope that I see her at Kenyan Way.  I really need to do a better job of paying attention apparently.  More people know who I am, than vice versa.

Now for some not so some point, and now I cannot remember exactly when this happened, but it was much later in the race (mile 20 or so?), but I looked down at my Garmin and on it was this wacky screen.  The screen where its split into 4 different sections and I was like WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT THE FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK????

And on top of that screen were the words that basically told me that my watch was 'full' and did I want to clear any history?  Are you freaking kidding me?????  Lesson:  Always clear out your history before a marathon. 
It seems like I just freaking did that not too long ago, but apparently I have a sorry sense of time.
So for the next few minutes I frantically try and clear out all my data, only saving the past month and then we're golden yet again.  Yes I had to start the watch over.

So now I was really dependent upon my mathmatical skills to know what my time was going to end up being.
I had no chip.  And now my Garmin was janked.

Was someone trying to tell me something?
Was this some sort of intervention to make certain that I stuck to my words about this race not being about time?

It was, at the time, the only logical explanation. 

Moving on...

I remember thinking oh halleliljah when I hit that stretch where the sun is finally at your back and not running directly into it.  And I remember the mile 25 sign and I remember thinking, well this is it.  You are just roughly about 10:30 minutes away.

Then the 800m sign and the iPod blaring Blondie and I picked up the pace as best as I could.
Then the turn towards Columbus and that final little 'hill'.
I walked up that 'hill'.  Yes I did.  I got as far over to the left as I could knowing it was a left hand turn and just as I was about to crest I started running.

And I ran down Columbus, with one earbud out so I could hear all the people cheering and it was like everything was in slow motion.

I saw a man go down just in front of me and to my right.  The paramedics engulfed him faster than I could ever imagine and I just put it out of my mind.  Its roughly 100m and you go down like that.

Tragic.  But it was so damn hot, and he was not the first casualty I saw that day.  I saw a lot of people in wheelchairs and stretchers.  And one guy collapsed on the sidewalk with paramedics around him too.

It was just yet another one of those days.

It was one of those days finish another marathon.
No matter what.

4:42 ish is as best as I could guesstimate based on the finish clock and when I crossed the Start line


Reese's Runner said...

My D-tag came off too! It unstuck itself and was just flopping and hanging on by a thread! Luckily I felt it and stuck it in my belt. I checked on your time when I finished and when it showed nothing I was so worried something bad had happened! Stupid D-tags!Anyway, great race and great recap! Your mom would indeed be very proud of you, you are awesome woman!!

JunieB said...

DAMN those DTags! I am sure we werent the only ones out there! I am usually more diligent with checking and double checking to make sure its there!!!

Tricia said...

great job pushing through

Randee and Angie said...

Great race and report! You definitely made your mom proud. I loved taking in all the sights and sounds of the race. Truly an amazing experience!