It’s been a few weeks, so I need to get my recap of the actual race done. More on the trip to Chicago (later this week, I hope!) because the weekend was FANTASTIC!
The racing, not so much.
I haven’t talked a whole lot about my training this summer, but in a word it was awful. I was really run down after OKC, and I don’t think I had enough time to recover from that before I jumped into (trying to) training for Chicago. You really should not sign up for your next marathon BEFORE you run the one you are training for. Lesson learned.
You might think that I am saying I wish I hadn’t gone to Chicago, but I am not saying that at all. I don’t regret a single mile, no matter how horrible they might have been. After last years injury (sprained ankle), accident (bike), surgery (appendix), I am so happy that I have been able to make it through the miles I have. You regret the miles you don’t run, not the miles you do.
So I headed into 26.2 #4 with very low expectations. I think I might have been a little delusional, really. It is not possible to slog through your training miles and expect to show up on race day and be able to run.
We were all in separate corrals for the race so it was pretty lonely at the start. It was probably over an hour between the time I left my friends and the race actually started. I took one horrible picture by the fountain though.
Pretty awful, right? I had just dropped off my gear bag and was heading over to my corral. This race is so big, you can’t even see the people that are starting before you, it was just a huge mass of runners.
After an eternity we were off. I love Chicago, really, I think the city was fantastic, and this was a great way to see it all. I was fine for about the first 12 miles or so. My walk breaks in the water stops started getting a little bit longer but I still felt like I was doing ok. The crowds were amazing, I think that has to be what it feels like to be an elite runner, there were some parts of the course that had so many people it was just a wall of sound.
Somewhere between miles 13 and 15 it all just fell apart for me. I can’t even point to one specific thing that happened, it was not like I hit a wall it was like the wall fell on top of me. It just got harder and harder to keep running. Around mile 17 I got stung by a bee on my left shoulder. That was painful, but I think the fact that my whole body hurt so bad by that point it didn’t hurt as bad as it could have. For the rest of the race whenever I was walking and I would try to stand up straight and put my shoulders back I had a very sharp pain in my left shoulder. Turns out the stinger was still in there and I didn’t realize it until I got home and Josh removed it for me on Monday.
I kept trying to tell myself that my family didn’t care how long it took me to finish, but then I would think that my friends were all going to be waiting for me at the finish line and I felt awful that it was taking me so long. It is a long time to be inside your head when it all feels impossible. The last six miles were probably the hardest six miles of my life. I would run a little and then I would walk and I would cry and then I would run a little more. I drank a beer. This seems to be something I am doing a lot during my marathoning in 2014.
I did make it to the finish line, they gave me my medal and another beer. Almost immediately after crossing the finish line my wonderful MIL texted me and told me that I was amazing and they were all proud of me. (More tears.) I managed to make it to the gear tent and hobble to where Carrie, Lauren and Rochelle were waiting for me. (More tears.)
Since we didn’t get any pre-race pictures we got a post race shot, but apparently it was not taken with my phone. That’s okay, they are all changed and had massages while they were waiting for me and I looked absolutely awful.
I set a PR for my worst marathon performance to date, but I am so glad I went. I love Chicago and I am hoping to be back there one day at the starting line feeling much stronger than I was this time.