She is so tiny! And seriously the nicest person ever. She even laughed at my jokes! (Obviously out of pity) I am so excited for her to kick butt at Boston 2013. Talk about someone who works hard to be the best. If i could muster 10% of her motivation, i would be a much better runner. Special thanks to the Brooks team and Maggie who was able to make this happen via her amazing PR skills.
This entire weekend was really rough for me. As someone who actually has an anxiety disorder, things like crowds of people are a huge trigger to me. The stress of getting to the expo, fear of missing Desi, and ending up lost in McCormick place had me practically in tears by the time i met up with these awesome ladies.
We went on a shake out fun run with the brooks team, and it was just what i needed to help balance myself again. I left the expo feeling much calmer and happier. And i had a bag full of snacks - always a win.
Race weekend: I had already mentioned Matt had invited his friends to stay with us that weekend, which was not really the best situation for zen-like marathon prep. I got very little sleep, and spent too much time on my feet. They brought their Husky "Stark" to play with waffles, and as stressful and anxiety-filled as my weekend was, i think Waffles had it worse...
The Race: Did not go as planned. I ended up going with plan C and i cried twice on the course, but also, it sort of became my party. The first half of the race went pretty smoothly, and i felt good, although the weekend dog party left me with a runny nose and allergies. The weather was perfect - cool, cloudy, with just enough sun to warm you up every once in a while. I struggled alot with the sheer amount of people, and got very panicky at water stations, where people tended to "swarm". Everytime i felt like the race was just too much for me, someone would yell my name, tell me i was doing great, and cheer for me.
It also helped seeing Amanda, Emily, Cary, David, Keren, and Kelly at various points throughout the day.
The support for this race is indescribable. I won't even try to put it into words.
Around mile 15-16, i got a terrible cramp/side-stitch on my left side. It hurt so bad. I am not prone to them, so i have no idea what caused it, or what to do to make it go away. So naturally i limp along the side and cry. A stranger actually put his arm around me and said "we're all stupid. Lets try to run a little." People can be so amazing. I was able to run half mile increments, and then would stop to try and massage the cramp, which was spasming at this point. In hindsight, i am 90% sure i made the cramp worse, as it still hurts today, and is all bruised from my inability to massage anything. Aaron was with me at this point, and i felt bad because i was supposed to set an example, and motivate him, but holy crap, this hurt so bad. I can honestly say this race hurt more than rockford and sunburst combined. I started crying again at mile 19, because i just felt so hopeless. Matt and a few friends were at the bar Simones waiting to cheer us on, and i promised myself i would take a break there. My time was already out the window, so i was going to try and at least salvage this to be an enjoyable experience.
I was so happy to spot Matt! I took a break at Simone's, enjoyed a bloody mary, and got a pep talk from my friends.
When life hands you lemons, all you can do is just say screw this, I'm gonna have a good time no matter how painful it is. The cramp stuck with me until mile 23. That, or maybe the bloody mary kicked in and i was too drunk to feel it anymore. I found that taking a minute break every half mile and trying to stretch out the cramp was all i could do, and i managed. It's still disappointing though, because otherwise this would have been a great race for me. I ended up finishing with a 4:46, which is 16 minutes off what i should have done. But i also stopped for a bloody mary and about 30 walk breaks. This was really a hard race for me, physically and mentally. If it had been a solo training run, i would have quit when the cramp hit. I was overwhelmed by the crowds, in both a good and a bad way. And i heard gangnam style no less than 4 times, which was awesome. The last six miles, i just kept thinking of hot dog cat. Aaron was able to finish 20 minutes later, despite severely under training for this race. He is suffering for it now though.
Post race: as usual, i am pretty lucky when it comes to post race aches and pains. I am a little sore, but nothing major. As i said though, my side is killing me, mostly from my mangling it trying to fix the cramp. Aaron and i had an ice bath post race, which can be summed up in these photos:
|I think aaron cried.|
Looking forward: I was hoping this race would be a confidence boost for Dublin. It was not. I am now more terrified than ever. My focus the next couple weeks is recovery - I think my body is feeling a little burned out right now, and is ready for a break. I am going to try and heal it as much as i can in the next 20 days, and have promised it a nice winter break before i start training again in January.
I am bummed that my race didn't go as planned, but i don't even have time to be sad, because i am way too busy overflowing with joy and pride for all my friends who ran Chicago yesterday, especially the first timers. If someone was gonna have a bad race, i am glad it was me, because you all worked so hard, and deserved the best race possible. Reading your stories inspires me, and encourages me to leave it all out there in Dublin. Let taper number 2 begin!