Monday, October 8, 2012

Grandma Pony Ran a Marathon!!

My time was 4:47:01.  My Paul Ryan time was 3:28:00 (haha) - find our your Paul Ryan time here!

Anyway, I was somewhat disappointed with my time since I wanted to break 4:30 (actually break Oprah's time of 4:29:15). Alas, that goal was not achieved, but honestly, I am just proud of myself for finishing since I did not train as much as I needed to.  I skipped out on two long crucial long runs at the peak of training and wanted to quit running entirely.

But, I didn't want this year to be the Year of the Choke.  I choked on Ragnar and the big 20 mile run of training.  I really did not want to walk away with nothing to show out of the 2012 running season.  Plus, I spent so much money on everything and it would have sucked to let it all go to waste.  I could have made probably two mortgage payments with the amount spent on running this year.


Dad, Jim and I left my house a little after 5:00 and got to the city a little before 6:00.  We parked by the Art Institute and walked over to the Congress Hotel.  My training group had a suite for the marathon runners with private gear check, indoor toilets and other perks.  I decided to check my bag there and have them meet me there after since it was closer to the finish.  Plus, it was cold out and I didn't really want to meet in Butler Field where the 27th Mile Post-Race Party was being held.

I waited for a while for my running buddy Cindy to show up and we met upstairs, checked in our bags and bumped into another member from our training group whose name I can't remember.  We talked to her for a while before we decided to go to the outdoor bathrooms since the line was super long.  Thankfully, we decided to go to the ones in the bar and that line moved quicker despite only having two stalls.

On the way to our corral, we bumped into more people from our running group and we took pictures with them. 

Left to Right: Me, Cindy, Linda, Dave (our Pace Group leader), Amy,
I can't remember his name or her name either :(

Left to Right: ?, ?, Eric, Cindy, Linda, Dave and ?
Cindy and I decided to try to run the race together.  Linda, Dave and Amy wanted to run the race at a 10 minute mile pace and we didn't think we could handle that.

Cindy & I
Honestly, without Cindy, I really don't know if I would have made it.  It definitely was good having someone you knew running beside you.

This will serve as the basis for my recap.  Also, here are my splits.  As you can see, the wheels fell off the bus big time around the 25K mark and 35K mark.


SplitTime Of DayTimeDiffmin/milemiles/h

Miles 1 to 4:  These were probably my favorite miles of the course.  The Loop area was very energetic and there were many spectators cheering us on.  You get to run through State Street where the big Macy's (I'm still mad that it's not Marshall Field's anymore) and along LaSalle Drive.  And, you pass the legendary Chicago theatre.  Running on LaSalle was awesome and I ran past my old office. 

Pace wise, Cindy and I are doing well and we're averaging just a little over 10 minute miles.  We both feel good and confident that we can keep up the pace.  We see another group of ladies from our pace group pass us, but we decide not to go and catch them since we really wanted to start out conservatively so we wouldn't run out of gas at the end.

Miles 5 through 10:  It appears that we got faster!!  Must be all the good vibes and energy that we got running through Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Boystown and Old Town!  It felt so awesome running through the neighborhoods that I've explored many times on my trips to the city.  You know you have problems when you recognize that you are running past Molly's Cupcakes (on Clark) and Soupbox (on Broadway).  I kind of wanted to go off course for some yummy soup and a cupcake, but I resisted the urge.  Again, the energy of the crowd again was super awesome and I loved running through Boystown.  I couldn't make out what theme it was this year - I think something military related, but I wasn't all too sure.  

In not so good news - I did not like seeing guys pull off to pee on the trees in this little park area that we passed.  First of all - I'm still a little jealous that they can pee standing up!  And second of all, it's just gross in my opinion.  Hey, but if you gotta go, you gotta go.  I think I also saw one woman coming out of the woods.  Ballsy.  

However, my left hip started acting up.  There was this somewhat sharp pain that went up my left thigh into my left hip and it was throwing off my gait a bit.  I mentioned it to Cindy so we slowed down for a bit.  I told her I could wait to stretch it until after the half.

Miles 11 to 13.1:  In these miles, I seriously debated quitting the race.  My left hip was acting up and I just wanted to stop.  I also wanted to see Jim and Dad very badly.  I knew that they were at the half waiting for me so I had to tough it out and get to them.  I could see the Loop approaching so I knew we were close.  I hoped to be able to pick them out in a sea full of spectators.  I was able to see them both so that made me happy.  Slowing down must have helped since the hip pain subsided a little.  I knew that if I decided to keep going after the half that I'd get to the finish.  Plus, I didn't want to quit and leave Cindy behind.

Miles 13.1 to 14:  We ran to 14 and decided to stop and stretch.  I hadn't been taking in much water throughout the first half.  I did manage to grab a bottle from a lady handing them out so I was drinking that.  Also, I hadn't taken any of my GU.  So, I figured that now was a good time to do that.  However, my gels were cold and wouldn't go down nicely.  I didn't want to risk the Battle of the Bowels part 2 (like this lovely run here) so I decided to just skip it.  I ate about half before I had enough.  Stretching helped out a lot and so we continued running.  At this point, my legs were hurting pretty bad so I decided that walking all the aid stations would probably be best for me.

Mile 15:  I went to grab water and when I turned around, I didn't see Cindy behind me.  I freaked out and slowed down a bit in hopes that she'd catch me.  Usually, she catches me right away.  But, she didn't.  So, I had no idea what to do and decided not to pull off on the side to try to spot her.  There were so many people coming up behind us.  So I kept going in hopes that she'd find me.  Spoiler alert: she never did.  :(

Miles 16 through 20:  My pace slowed down significantly and I started to get hot.  The aid stations were only about 2 miles apart, but it seemed to take forever to get to them.  Oh yeah - that's right.  That's because I'm essentially crawling through this part of the course.  I didn't want to run any faster for fear of hurting my left hip or IT bands.  And, I was pretty much spent at that point. 

However, I spotted this sign that really spoke to me.  It said "Pain is temporary.  Quitting is forever."  That sign just made so much sense.  And, I did not want to be a quitter again this running season.  At that point, I knew I had to finish.  I would finish the race no matter how long it took.

My game plan was to walk through every aid station as so that I'd get a little break and some much needed water.  I saw Dad and Jim past mile 16 in Greektown, which was encouraging.  I wanted to take my arm warmers off since it was getting hot, but I was already carrying my hat and gloves so I decided to leave them on.  I've also decided that I hate this part of the course as there isn't much around and some parts are pretty bare.  Taylor Street was lively, but still.  I liked the parts up north better.  Pilsen was OK and a bit more lively, but I didn't smell tortillas, which bummed me out a little.

At Mile 18, I mentally waved goodbye to my longest run ever.  I got a little emotional a few times along the way since I was just in awe at the fact that I was really running it and that in 8.2 miles that I would be done.

Also, at 20, I didn't hit the wall - that would come later.  Oh, the 4:30 pace group and 4:40 pace group passed me at this point.  When 4:30 passed I thought that was OK and maybe if I could kind of keep them in my sights, I'd be OK.  I lost track of them and also got passed by the 4:30 pace group.  Like an idiot, I kept the 4:25 pace group sign on my shirt.  I should have ditched that at the start, but I left it on.  I also passed a guy with 3:35 on his shirt.  Yikes. :(

Miles 21 to 23:  I was struggling BIG TIME at this point.  I tried to envision the places where I run around home to take my mind off things.  Also, I put on my iPod on to try to drown out some of the noise and to keep me focused on completing the run.  I made it to Chinatown and there were tons of spectators out cheering us along.  Running down Wentworth was awesome.  The energy was amazing.  I wished I just had more in me to move a little faster.

I also got to run on IIT's campus, which is where Jim went to school.  I forgot to wave at this building called the BUTT, but then again, I couldn't even see it since there were so many spectators lined along the streets.  Again, super cool running through a place I've been to before!

Miles 24 to 26.2:  I finally turned up Michigan Ave. a little while back and I knew that I was close to the finish.  You think that it's just 2.2 miles, but when you've run 24, 2.2 miles is difficult.  And, it was rough for me.  But, I think I was good and did not walk at the aid station just after 25.2.  I just had a mile left and I would do whatever it takes to get me across the finish line.

My dad and Jim saw me before the turn on Roosevelt Road where mile 26 was.  There was a small uphill, which was absolutely brutal after running almost 26 miles.  I could see signs telling me that I just had 400 meters to go.  Then, it became 300.  I could see the finish line as soon as I rounded the corner on Columbus Drive.  I must have had some gas left in the tank because I sprinted toward the finish and picked off a bunch of people.  I got passed on the sprint by another gentleman who must have had some gas left.  I really just wanted to get the run over with so I hurried up toward the end.

I threw my arms over my head as I crossed the finish line and I was so proud of myself for not quitting and getting it done.

I finished!

Picture of my medal :)

Things I Would Have Changed:
- I have to find a way to take in more fuel during the race.  I planned on having GU every 45 minutes like the packets said, but for some reason, I didn't want to eat any for fear of having tummy trouble and needing to use the bathroom.
- I have to find a way to drink water on the run to minimize my time spent at the aid stations.
- Most importantly, I have to train more and maybe complete longer runs on harder surfaces.  Training on the trail is nice because it is easier on your body.  But, I have to get my legs used to the constant pounding on asphalt.

New Running Goals:
- More of these will come in the following weeks.  Right now, I have the Big Sur Half Marathon on my schedule.  I'm debating on running a smaller race before Big Sur just to see how the legs hold up.  I'd really like to break 2 hours in the half.  I doubt that I will get my best time since I haven't been training for speed this year.  If I get a PR, that would great.

Thank you everyone for your support and advice during my marathon training season!  Best of luck to anyone racing this season!

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