October 14, 2008

Chicago 2008

Going into this marathon, I knew that sub 3 would be a stretch. I have always been a go-getter when it comes to my goals, often shooting for the unrealistic. After 18 hard weeks, my body felt worn down. A few days before the race, it was brought to my attention that the weather was going to be hot. Many racers modified racing strategy and goals. I did not. I wanted to go for it, making failing all the more possible.

Friday morning came super early, as I had to catch a 6 a.m. flight, and we live 1 hour away from the airport. Both flights went smoothly and I was at my hotel in Chicago by lunch. We grabbed lunch at The Cheesecake Factory and then headed to the expo. My mom and aunt went to look around and play, while I met up with a few people from RW Forums. It was great to put faces with names and chat about running for a bit. Then I walked around the expo, saw Ryan Hall, and met some people from Team Tiara. After the expo, Mom, Aunt, and I went back to the hotel to change for dinner. We ate Bistro 110 and I had the BEST pumpkin soup and mixed veggies. Below are pics of a special delivery from K- chocolate covered fruit & a sweet balloon!

Then I had the privilege of meeting Pace Runner. We shared a cab to the FE at Trader Todd's. There we were able to meet more RW forumites. I didn't stay too late, but had a lot of fun with everyone. I always love talking running with people since I rarely get to do it here in Mayberry.
That night back at the hotel, I got NO sleep. I was too darn cold. The next morning really took the cake when I realized I had forgotten my sports bras. Yikes! The only thing worse than forgetting the bra would've been forgetting the racing shoes. I knew I could make it that morning without one, but would have to have one for the race. (I wore a bra, just not a running bra!) I ran an easy four miles down Lakeshore and it was beautiful. The beach was okay, not near as pretty as our beach, but still nice. I just love being in an atmosphere where a lot of people are exercising. The long parkway was filled with runners, walkers, cyclists, people EVERYWHERE!
Later that day we did a lot of sight seeing and ate dinner that night at McCormicks and Schmicks. I reluctantly ate the salmon. They had no chicken, only steak and seafood. All I could think about was an old forumite that ate clams the night before a race and paid dearly for it. I kept asking my mom, "I'll be okay, won't I?" That night I didn't have any trouble sleeping, but awoke before my alarm at 5:00.
I rode in a taxi all by myself. This was an event in itself for me. I was pretty nervous. The man drove like a maniac, but I arrived safely at the Art Institute. I met more RW Forumites briefly, then headed to the start corrals. I had been worried about the heat, so I obviously drank too much water. I used the porta potty about 3 times, then made my way to corral A. I met up with Bird22. He and I chatted then decided to go try the restrooms once more. The lines were enormous! We met JWU there and he let us cut in front of him b/c he was in D and we had a farther walk to A- such a nice guy!
The only time I have ever been that crowded was at a concert. It was packed; people had B.O., I thought it would never spread out. The first 3 miles were VERY crowded. I stayed at the back of the 3 hour pack. There was a bit of confusion on my end b/c I saw two pacers, one ahead of the other. I later found out there were FOUR pacers. Good thing I didn't see them, I would've been even MORE confused. I held pace for the first 9 miles w/ ease.
At mile 9, I knew it wasn't going to be my day for sub 3. I was already feeling fatigue, but stubbornness made me hold on until the half. At this point, I was still exactly on track for 3 hours- 1:30. Unfortunately, I messed up my watch somehow, so I have no splits. For the entire 2nd half of the race, I didn't even know my splits!
I slowed tremendously and began to feel very sick to my stomach. I pulled over and tried to throw up, but the medics wouldn't leave me alone. Finally I just started running again. I walked the water stops from 18 on. My favorite part of the whole race was at about mile 25 at the sharp left turn where they call out your name. Man, I felt like a rock star! You could even see yourself on the screen.
Uneventfully, I staggered in to finish in 3:08, but the clock showed 3:14. I was pretty much devastated and really felt like puking. I crossed the finish line and went over the edge and was able to get a little Gatorade up. NASTY! I really hate stuff like that, so for me to actually WANT to throw up shows how bad I really felt. I trudged to the Charity tent and met my mom and aunt. I cried and had a real pity party for myself. My mom said I got a PR and told me my net time. I called DH and he was sweet, telling me that he was proud of me for all my hard work. I drank some soda and relaxed for a bit before beginning the walk back. The next morning I found that I placed 74th out of 13,666 women. I guess I'll be okay with that.
We stopped on the way back at a local pizza place where I ate my ritual veggie pizza. It was so good! We walked all the way back to the hotel, only to return to my foot having an enormous blood blister- very nasty! I showered and then we went to the Sears Tower. That night I met up with Pace Runner again and she joined my family for dinner at the Park Grill. It was delicious! We went to the John Hancock building 96th floor for dessert martinis. They were equally as good.
Whenever I return home I feel sad. I think that I am really a City Girl at heart. Of course I missed my DH and students, but deep down I wish I lived in a big city. I am very appreciative of all the super people I have met while living here, but a lot of times I feel like I am missing out on life. It's lonely at times. I am also filled with a great deal of disappointment. It mostly comes from so many weeks of hard training, then not meeting my goal. I just have to stay positive and realize that there will be other chances and life is only what I make of it. I am firm believer of making yourself happy with what you are given. So... I'm going to be happy with my 3:08 AND my small town. Both are going to have to work, at least for now!


  1. congrats on you race. It sounds like you had a great time in Chicago. It was a hot day, I hope they were better prepared this year.

  2. Congrats, you are so awesome and a great motivation.

  3. Hey LA,

    Just want to say again, how wonderful it was to meet you, your mom and aunt! Again, you did great in the race and I am confident that sub3 is in your future!

    Keep in touch...

  4. Hey R, I will definitely comment on your race soon... just wanted you to know I'm thinking about you! Sorry about the blog situation (probably am going to stop posting on it for a while, and RWOL too).

    Send me an email if you'd like and we'll catch up that way. Just delete the spaces when you put my address in.

    g b l 6 2 3 @charter dot net

  5. LAR,

    Great meeting you and bird22 at the race - crazy how that can happen with 33K other people around.

    You ran a gutsy race and now time to rebuild for the next one. You are a better, stronger, faster runner after going through this cycle and next time the weather hopefully cooperates.

    Take Care!

  6. just wanted to wish you congratulations. a 3:08 is still an amazing accomplishment. you will undoubtedly get that sub-3:00. given the heat and the circumstances, you ran a fantastic race.

  7. Hi!
    I just happened upon your blog. Congratulations on a great Chicago marathon! I was wondering how long you have been running for and if you thought your shorter race PRs were indicative/predictive of your marathon success.
    Enjoy your time off!

  8. LR Runner... great race... Your hard work & training did not fail you :) Just one of those days... I admire your positive attitude and your ability to honestly express your disappointment. You'll get there!

  9. LA,
    Good run on a tough day.
    I see that you are getting right back on that horse. Best of luck in the next one.