Category Archives: fun

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Protected: Chicago, part three: meeting the Stolls

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Protected: Chicago, part one: Brookfield Zoo

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13.1

This morning, I completed my half-marathon!!! I started training back in January, and it all culminated on this fine, sunny, hot-as-heezy morning in April. I was supposed to run the race with my friend (whom I’ve never met IRL but adore via the Internet), miss Emily. But the poor girl got the news of a debilitating injury this last week, which put her out of the race. You were missed deeply, my friend. (Particularly during those uphill, heat- and humidity-soaked miles.)

But I awoke at 5:30am, got ready, used the bathroom like a zillion times, since I’m someone who has to clear the entire system (apparently) when I’m nervous, ate my breakfast of champions (grape nuts and whole wheat toast w/PB&J), and then met the husband of a friend of mine from classes at the Y whom I’ve never met (the hubs, not the friend) and his neighbor (with whom he was running). They picked me up in the oh-so-shady parking lot of a nearby locally-run, ALDI’s-style grocery store. At 6am. When it’s still dark. Creepy. Thankfully, Adam walked me there 🙂

Got to the race, used the port-a-john (natch), and got in my corral, B. The corral start was sooooo nice b/c there wasn’t nearly as much passing as usual. Don’t get me wrong, I love the people who walk races, but they do not need to be at the freakin’ start line if 90% of the people there are faster than they are! It’s just rude.

Sorry for the soapbox, but, it’s frustrating.

Crabbiness aside, the start was great. I found my pace group, the 8:45/mile peeps, and I put it in my head to KEEP WITH THOSE PEOPLE. Before long, the race started, and we flew out of the gate. I was keeping pace with my dude, Pacer Jim, and even passed him after mile 5. I saw Adam and the girls at mile 3, and again after 6 (which brought tears to my eye both times…), and after I passed them at the halfway point, I wanted to quit. Like walk off the course and just go home. It was soooo hot! (75-ish degrees and 85% humidity – which, I know, is quite lovely, but when you’re running, it’s brutally hot) My legs were screaming and felt like lead. I was hot, I was dizzy, I was light-headed, and I was freakin’ tired.

I walked more times than I would have liked, but I kept a very close eye on my stopwatch and knew exactly how much wiggle room I had to walk and still reach my goal of under two hours. So I allowed myself some walks often, got water at every stop, Gatorade at every other. I choked down GU at mile 8. I walked, I ran, I used every expletive in the book. I was sweaty, dirty, spilled Gatorade all down my front (at mile 2, mind you)… I was gross.

My lovely parents were cheering me on around mile 11. I passed them, running (plodding along is more like it), and several dozen yards later, I walked, cursing myself for walking so close to the end. Usually my mind can beat out my body’s whining, but not today. I was so done. I actually wanted to pass out, to be one of the many people on the side of the course getting medical attention and water poured on them. I fantasized the whole back half of the race about just walking off. Going home. Letting DNF (did not finish) appear after my name in the listings.

Then I gave my mind a slap across the face and said “no way am I letting all this training go to waste.” I sucked it up, and ran through the sore legs, inside and out; the puffy feet that were pressing at the seams of my too-small-for-running-in-heat shoes; the sweat; the tears; the idiots on the side of the road telling me to “keep running” (yes, I appreciate the support, but “dammit YOU do it!” I felt like screaming); the Gatorade soaked, sticky streets. I clicked past songs on my iPod until it landed on “Sexy Back,” my guilty pleasure “power song” and I slogged through that final mile to the finish line, stepped on the pad, threw my arms in the air, checked my stopwatch and nearly cried when I saw 1:58:38. Sweet heaven above, I DID IT!!!!!

There’s no photos from before or during the race, but Adam took these two of me afterwards, at the house:

See how hot I was? Wiping my brow? Whew! 😉

I’m so thrilled to be done with training… I can get some of my life back. And I’m excited to try new things: different weight workouts, more yoga(?), sculpting my arms, running speed work (I’m thinking of focusing on improving my pace for 5Ks and 10Ks… not a fan of this long distance crap), whatever comes along. I like how this race will free me up for other things!

I’m so grateful for Adam’s support not only today, but throughout my many weeks of training, when I had to squeeze long runs in during nap times, hit the gym early so I could get an extra midweek run in, entertaining my need to carbo-load… I’m a lucky girl 🙂

And I’m so very excited to have met my time goal of under two hours. Because if I hadn’t… I’d be doing this bad boy again.

Protected: On that note…

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