Two friends, one who hailed from the east and one from the midwest, decided that they would meet up in the windy city to run this race they like to call "The Chicago Marathon".
ok, ok, i was gonna do the whole post like a fairytale story but then I realized that could take a lot of work and I'm running on mental fumes. A+ for good intentions. So, in laymans terms...a long time ago, Michael and I decided that we would run Chicago together. I had no idea how popular this race was but from the moment I stepped foot through the door of the expo, I knew it was gonna be a big one. (That's what she said).
My husband and two boys decided to tag along for this race. I was pretty thrilled they came because frankly, who wants to hang out in a city like Chicago all on their own and also, I needed their help, more specially my cheerleading spouse. He's in charge of helping me back to the hotel and making sure I have clean clothes to change into. I don't envy his job. I can be needy and I admit it.
After we got kicked out of the expo for taunting the Kenyans, Michael and Jim went back to the hotel and I went back to meet up with my husband and the boys to go find something to do which required lots of walking. The pitfalls of racing in a popular tourist destination.
I have no idea what this is but I really like it.
The Nike Store. All I could think about was what I wanted and the second job I would need to pay for it all.
Crack, they sell it here, right downtown off of Michigan. They inject it into popcorn and pipe the smell out onto the street. I ate an entire tin. My stomach looks as if I ate an entire tin. Regrets, zero.
Then my husband went car shopping. Hope that second job is a good one. Like highest paid person in all of Chicago.....and the surrounding counties. Or, owner of above popcorn establishment.
So, after a long day and a half acting like tourists, it was nice to come back to our hotel and check out this view...
Our hotel was beautiful. They made relaxing pretty easy.
I only have two complaints about the race and the first was the start time. I like to be up EARLY for my race and I like for it to start EARLY. Michael and I didn't get to start running till somewhere around 8:20. Maybe I'm a time diva but that's just about one hour too late. So I thought.
Anyway, due to the late start, I woke up refreshed on my own, no alarm clock needed, took my time getting ready, eating a bagle from the corner Dunkin Donuts and meandered down to the lobby to meet my running buddy. We chatted for a minute and then for the most part just followed everyone else who was in running gear to the start corrals. It's just a HUGE race. Massive corrals and LOTS of security. The good part was, no one acted like it was their first rodeo. There were always people around pointing everyone in the right direction and there to help. High five Chicago.
Bean. Better than a pinto or a navy.
After heading downstream into our spot, we huddled and talked for awhile. At times it was getting claustophobic, then the crowd would thin a little but yeah, there were tons of people. Just look.
All smiles. We smiled a lot even through the race!
I don't know that I'm good at really breaking down a marathon but what I wanted going into this was for Michael to PR. I felt some responisibility in helping her get there as much as I could. I had been dealing with injury after injury after IM but I was well enough on race day. I think from the moment we took off, we both were a bit off. She had a side cramp and for some reason I ended up with a belly ache around mile who-knows. I just remember not being able to drink because it felt like my stomach wouldn't digest the water or electrolytes. I kept wondering who had poisoned the water hole?? Low five Chicago.
We stayed steady though, we talked, listed to music, laughed at some of the signs people made. The crowd support was unreal. We just kept on keeping on, not fast, not slow, just moving forward. At times we weren't sure if a PR was in reach but thankfully our stomachs had settled by late in the race and we had enough get up and go to push pretty hard the last 3-4 miles. We crossed and our official time gave Michael a 1 MINUTE PR! I was relieved. 5:53 I think it was. I know she's going to hate me saying this but I do carry a small bit of guilt for stopping to pee in the weeds in front of the National Zoo. that 1 minute PR could have been say, maybe 3? We all play "what if" though right?
I will say though, if you would turn time into effort, that 5:53 looked more like a 3:53. If you want to know about dedication to training and will power to keep moving forward, she has it. I was happy just to be there. Nothing so good as sharing something like running and racing with a friend.
It took all my will power not to say "excuse me, where is the writing on the ribbon and why does this feel like a Happy Meal toy?" Am I being a you know??
After the race it took a small act of God for me to finally get back to my husband. Michael and I crashed in a grassy area and milled through our feed box. After about 15 minutes, I played phone tag with my husband and finally convinced security to let me through a gate to get to him so he could carry me and listen to me cry about foot pain. Lucky guy.
My boys were a welcomed sight. My oldest asked "what place did you finish mom?" Very valid question of which I still don't know the answer to. I hope one day at least one of my kids will take up running.