holy sh 😮 t!
and i am back here to fill your eyes and mind with candy and explosions. (get it? eye candy and mind blowing? i know, i am hysterical.)
what exactly happened the days leading up to the race and on that day, October 9th?
well, let me tell ya…
the two days before the Chicago Marathon were pretty quiet, restful, despite the panic mode i went into at random moments.
Plan A was somewhat of a bust. expect the unexpected, right?
our parking reservation was not a reservation apparently. lot was “full” upon arrival and according to the attendant, the reservation does not guarantee a parking spot. ?? i called Parkwhiz and they reimbursed us, gave us a 15 dollar credit for future parking reservations. little consolation, since we had to park at another structure double the price. in their defense the blame was on the parking structure. and Parkwhiz did sound sincere in their apology.
the Talbott Hotel was awesome however. our room had those cozy thick, white robes and towels. lots of pillows. comfy bed. an Apple TV… super fancy. overall outstanding service. loved the infused water that was set out in the lobby everyday. watermelon was my fav’.
that friday afternoon we hopped onto a complimentary bus to transport us to the Expo.
on saturday, Hutch (the restaurant i reserved for the night before the race) was on the other side of the city. my bad. so we went to Bistroeconomics, a French Bistro, near the hotel instead. they had a Chicago Marathon menu, so all was good. i was still able to carb up.
and their Chioggia and Yellow Beet Salad was delicious. i am now a fan of beet salads. all i was ever exposed to was the canned beet which is super yuck.
sunday morning i woke up at 5. ate my bagel with Justin’s almond butter (love that stuff), downed water and coffee and left the hotel by 6. we walked to the train station, along with the other runners, and made it to Grant Park entrance by 7. my assigned wave was to start at 8.
my husband, Eden, wished me luck, and i entered the park. headed straight toward the porta potty lines, which were long, so long that i waited in line for 20 minutes. some runners had to leave the line to get into their corral on time.
then panic set in. i had to run to check in my gear bag which was farther away than i thought. i had to ask where the “grey” bag check in area was twice. so by the time i made it to my corral, i was in the back and not near the pace group i signed up for.
and then the wait started. runners were fist pumping, psyched, checking their music, gps… placing their temporary pace tattoos on their arms (which is super confusing to me by the way). we stood in the wave corral for 40 minutes, slowly moving up, due to other wave groups ahead of us waiting to cross the start line. it was mental torture.
at one point i turned around and noticed i was in the back of the corral. i freaked out. worried i would not complete the marathon in time. so i moved up as far as i could without being too rude or too obnoxious.
but eventually i did cross the start line and started to run. i ran at an comfortable pace, because i had no idea what to do. and i am more of an endurance runner anyway. i did pass a few runners, and a few passed me.
i ingested a gel at every 5 miles, drank Gatorade and water at every station. and i walked through the stations.
a tip: it is ok to walk. i realized walking, when running over 18 miles, is a must for me. walk when you want to, not when you have to. read that somewhere.
i walked very little actually, because when i started walking everything hurt, and bad. running was a relief from the pain believe it or not.
i saw a couple runners fall, and i heard crazy noises from other runners, let’s leave it at that. i heard a runner say they were having a hard time breathing. and their run buddy stopped to walk with them, because they were finishing this together. *tear.
then there was me…
a volunteer was handing out bananas. i grabbed one and as i started to peel it, it literally flew out of my hands, hit another runner and then he stepped on it! a f’in banana. i yelled, “oh sh 😮 t! sorry! … sorry!” and “ohhhh…. that is not good at all,” pointing to the banana. like the cartoon where the bad guy slips on a banana peel. and during a marathon no less. oh geez.
the first 13 miles felt like they were the longest miles ever. i wondered how i could run another 13. i trained to 20, so i kept telling myself 6 left to go, 5, 4… and that last mile i ran hard… for everyone and everything that mattered to me at that point in my life.
my feet hurt, my legs hurt, my neck hurt. i thought my left leg and hip were going to dislocate during the last three miles. but i said a bunch of Hail Mary’s and Our Father’s to get me through. (i was raised Catholic.)
i crossed the finish line still running. in pain and limping along with other runners. grabbing a water bottle, a banana 😛 , an apple, protein bars, whatever i saw. then i picked up my gear bag and headed through the gate to find my husband.
i stretched, my husband snapped a photo, and we headed back to the hotel.
i dropped in an ice bath and took a long hot shower.
two hours later i was drinking a dirty martini.
and eating a ribeye, scallops and shrimp.
i wanted ice cream for dessert, but i was starting to get sleepy. so we stopped at a market near the hotel. picked up a pint of coffee ice cream and some chocolate chip cookies.
and added a few other snacks…
the next few days, weeks i will be in recovery mode, mentally and physically. there may be a little post marathon blues to follow i am sure.
but, there is always another race to sign up for.
oh and p.s. that reward? a bust. reality check set in when i saw the price of a teeny weeny set of round diamond earrings at Tiff’s. yikes. bummer.