Monday, October 11, 2004

Chicago Marathon 2004

So, here is my update on the marathon. Pre-warning that I do jump around a lot. :)

Well, I survived! I actually felt pretty good afterwards (energy-level-wise), but before I get ahead of myself, here's the recap:

For those who only care about results, 5:29 I think is my official time. Now on to the juicy details! It was a beautiful day, but our team was plagued with bad luck, except for Patti. Yay Patti for making her goal!

The race was actually pretty fantastic for a first marathon. My only goal was to finish, and I did that. Our team was just having a bad day though because I slipped on banana peels (har har) towards the end where they were handing food out at the water station too, and my knees started hurting around the halfway point, and they had never bothered me before. In fact, according to the updates I had emailed to myself, I was on course for a 4:40 time, which I would've been happier with, at the halfway point, but I had to start walking in between running, so that slowed me down. Even walking though, you pass other people. The coaches tell you, you will get passed at every mile, and you will pass people at every mile, and it's true. For a while I was walking with this guy and as we passed a girl walking, she told us we were walking too fast, lol.

Another person on our team slipped on a cup and twisted her hip, so while she did better than me (4:30 I think), she didn't meet her personal goal, as this wasn't her first marathon, and I think her goal was to improve on her other time.

One member of our team (Patti) did reach her goal, which was to do better than her first marathon since this was her second. I am very proud of her because we all got bumped, tripped up, or shoved throughout the race. There are so many people, it really didn't thin out until about 17 miles. Even then, you are going in and out a little, it was hard to maintain a straight path. I got an elbow to the back of my arm at one point, at least that is what it felt like although how someone got the back of my arm with their elbow I don't know. I know it is bruised today though. We tried our best to walk through the water breaks, but it was still hard not to trip. Patti said she saw a number of people go down. I got a number of feet under mine that made it hard to stay standing, but we survived.

The course was pretty flatland friendly. Only some mild hills when going over the bridges, and one killer hill at about mile 26. You turn right to go over the highway, and it's a nice long incline - a hill more than any others in the course, then you turn left and have a slight downhill to the finish line.

My knees were killing me, but I was determined to run that last stretch, so after I got up the hill, turned left, and ran. I had the energy to run, but my body just didn't want me to. Despite that, I did, and it does feel like everyone lined along that finish stretch is cheering for you. It was great. Over 35,000 people finished the race. Over 1 million spectators lined the course. Pretty cool.

It was a great day. I was sore, I iced, and I am stiff today, but I am already thinking about the next one because I want to do better. ;)

And yes, the weather was perfect, between 50-65 the whole time, but sunny and I got sunburned. *L*

My mom and Jack were there, so I got to see them as we crossed the starting line, and then they got to the bleachers at the finishing stretch, and they yelled so loud I was able to spot them then too. I guess Jack was getting worried that I was hurt since it took me so long to show up, lol.

Hopefully, I will have pictures from the online place or my mom soon. :) Actually, Heather just emailed and she has some pictures online, so look for those at the bottom here. Yay!

We had dinner with the members of the team who stuck around, then drove home last night. It only takes about 2.5 hours, but boy did I ever want to speed so I could just get home. I had today off work, so I got Jack to school, got ready for my day, grabbed a book, and went to the bookstore and had some coffee. Then, I go wander to Target to walk a little so I wasn't too stiff. It's freezing down here this morning. Oh, and one other good thing about yesterday - no headache! I almost always got headaches after our long runs because of dehydration, but apparently, I did a good job of hydrating beforehand and during the race because I didn't get one. Yay!

Okay, so I am alive. You are all officially notified. Thanks for all of your support along the way!

ETA: I forgot to mention that Team in Training had 650 participants in the race alone, adding in coaches, mentors, spouses, family, and friends that ran or supported, made over 1000 people there. And, those 650 participants raised over 2 million dollars in their fundraising!

Also, my one outward injury was a blister on my right foot, which is fine because at least I didn't lose a toenail, which is very common, and it is where I always get a callous (side of my big toe, I know, TMI), so I knew it would happen. Still!

And another good story I forgot:

It was an experience just by being in that crowd. So many different people (met some from Long Island, right in Illinois, and all over the States), and about 5 minutes before the start, everyone started shedding their outer clothes they were wearing to stay warm. This was right after the National Anthem, and it was just hilarious to see clothes flying over a crowd of people like girls throwing their underwear on stage at a rock concert. If you weren't careful, you'd get hit with them! And this guy behind us starts saying in an Irish accent (although I don't think he was from Ireland or anything):

"They sang the national anthem, and then everyone started gettin' nekid. What a country!"


And now for the pictures. Just a few. I can't wait to see what my mom got. :) Links go to bigger versions. I also uploaded them to the gallery.

The elite runners.

The preferred-start runners. And the other 25,000 of us hadn't turned the corner yet apparently. ;)

I think this shows the right-turn up the hill on the last half-mile that I was talking about.

Patti, Heather, me, and Jack at the victory party dinner. You can tell I got some sun, oh yeah. Jack was eyeing the dance floor. ;-)

That is all for now. Good night!

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