Chicago marathon part 2

October 14, 2011

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about my race...

How do I say I was disappointed, when I finished? Or that it was harder than I thought when I trained for 18+ weeks? Yet, it was amazing and invigorating, painful and emotional!  All of those things and more.

They say you learn about yourself when doing a marathon, your strengths, your weaknesses and so much more, and now that I've run it, it makes sense.

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Chelsea, me, Jill and Jennifer before race

I did all the training, the planning, the long runs, the eating right (most of the time), and yet I somehow felt let down by my performance. Not the time... I really was okay with the time.  While a faster time would have been nice what turned for me to be so humbling was how hard it was, how painstakingly hard it was?  It shouldn't be this hard... remember, I trained to do this?

With 45,000 runners, I was a bit nervous at the beginning of the race when we were all crammed into these corals.  So much so that all the runners couldn't even fit into each designated coral for their start time. But slowly, once we began moving, walking that is, towards the start, things moved more smoothly.

Our pace tattoo kept us on track for 13 miles! Trying to run hard, but not over do it too early we were right on, and dang those pace tattoos stayed on for 3 more days no matter how much I scrubbed!

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line at the porta potties and sunrise

My thoughts on my performance were like spending weeks studying for an exam, knowing the subject inside and out, ready to take the test, feeling great, you are going to ace this, only to find out you got a D.  You didn't fail, but you sure didn't get what you were hoping for.  I was hoping to feel strong during the race, yet by mile 18 I wasn't feeling anything but pain, and oh so emotional, the tears were so close to the surface. And why?

One reason was I wasn't as strong as I thought I was, and also that I didn't want to hold up my daughter, when I knew full well she could totally make the pace we had set out for, so then the guilt set in...

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where we were at the start line

Not all was dreadful, there were many things that made me smile. Like the fact that I was doing this with my daughter,  the 1.7 million spectators who sang, played instruments, had crazy funny signs, food, water and danced and cheered along the entire course! Or watching men dressed as cavemen, lady gaga performers and those runners going by with sandals, crocks and even barefoot, were just a few of the sites along the way.

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water stop... need I say more?

Coming in that last stretch of the race was probably the most amazing and frightening thing I've ever done. We witnessed a man falling to the ground, holding his legs and in tears just 800 meters from the finish, the medics ran to him and my eyes filled with tears... We decided to push it as hard as we could, we are almost there, so lets run harder... and as I ran harder, it got harder to breath. At first I just kept going, but then I could not catch my breath, I couldn't even get a good breath and I called to Chelsea that I can't breath. She freaked and wanted to stop, but I said no I'll just slow my pace, we were so close.  We were just about to cross the finish and I was wheezing horribly, and fear had taken over... I cannot breath! We went right to a medic, all waiting at the finish and they grabbed my arm and walked slowly with me, heading towards the medical tents, pulling a wheel chair behind in case I needed it.

We walked and they covered me with the foil cape, gave me water, and of course the medal, all the while the medic held onto me, asking how I'm feeling. Slowly I was able to breath and catch my breath, but they wouldn't release me yet. Unbeknownst to me, he checked my pulse while walking with me and said my heart rate was good, and asked how long I had asthma. Finally, I insisted I was okay and they let me go on back to our hotel.  I got on the phone with my husband and just cried, the fear I had, the fear I had put Chelsea through having an asthma attack at the end of the marathon, plus the running the marathon had finally boiled over.

I had pulmonary testing done over 3 months ago, but then hadn't had another attack? They claimed I had exercise induced asthma, but after so long I had begun to think it was all in my head...

My daughter was amazing through the entire race... she danced along the way with spectators, cheered as we reached another mile and announced how many were to go... after the race I endlessly reminded her that I could have never done this without her!

This marathon was a lesson in so many things, and while at first I thought I'd never do this again... now I'm not so sure?

 

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