What a blast I had!! I got there early-- 6:15 for a 7:30 race. Thought that would be real early, but nope----plenty of people already there! I was so surprised! With 10,000 people signed up and 7,000 of them new runners---it was amazing they were rearing to go!! What a great city!!
I wore the new shorts from New Balance and was a bit worried about chafing (rule no 1 for any race is nothing new!!) so I gobbed myself up with Glide--actually the shorts felt nice and comfy. The shirt was the one I had been wearing for training, so no worries there. I made my way to the RoadRunners tent and saw.....The sign I'd be carrying.... whew, it was light and small. Beth, my "running boss" also told me to pass it over to runners next to me thruout the course---great idea!! I saw all my runners prepping at the tent--got some pics, but missed pics with the brother and sister. I hope to see them out on the lakefront so I can take one of them down the road.
Beth led all the pace leaders to the start line. That felt so strange---we were a line of people in the same outfits with our numbered signs walking in a row. People were commenting to their friends, pointing us out--we were celebrities!! I lined up by my spot and runners immediately came over to me and asked about the pace, was I walking at all, how was I doing the water stops. My plan was to run an 11:20 pace consistently except for water stops. Those I would walk thru. Beth gave us all a whistle---I blew it every time I stopped at the water stops, and every time I began again.
I had five of my own runners with me from the training program and a bunch from Kathy's group, the pacer ahead of me in training. (They were the young wild girls!! So fun!!) A bunch of other runners kept close around me and we made lots of jokes and screamed up until Mile 9ish. I got great support with the sign, Erin, Caroline and Yan wanted to hold it, so I got some breaks. David, another of my runners, stayed close behind me--close enough that I could hear his panting for miles to come. We all screamed when the first runner past us---male of course, and I told them to keep an eye out for the first gal. We all went crazy when we saw her....she looked at us like we were nuts. I love this job!!!!
As we ran along, I was disappointed that three of the water stops did not have any gatorade. I don't know if they ran out or just didn't plan for it at those stops. Well, it turned out to be a beautiful day, with the sun beating down on us while we ran down Lake Shore Drive--temp probably hit the high 60's. My runners needed salt!! I was a bit worried. As soon as we hit gatorade, I yelled out for them to drink it as much as they could. I knew I had to pull in the silliness and get them to focus.....this could be tough without sodium.
They continued on quietly for the next few miles. I didn't hear David's panting anymore. I encouraged them to run tall, no death marching on my shift! Arms close to your bodies, no waving or yelling at the crowds....dig in deep and keep moving. Don't even smile---wastes too much muscle energy! They were listening....they kept at it. That was until we saw the ambulance!
At around mile 12, a gal was on the ground. Paramedics were tending to her with oxygen and she looked pretty limp. I yelled back at everyone not to look, that she would be fine. But I think they started to dwindle away. 100 feet later, there was a man on the ground--people all around him waiting for the paramedics. That was the kicker. I yelled back that he just needed sodium, but I lost my group. The mental hit was too much. The group around me was gone, and I basically ran alone the last mile, picking up a few runners along the way. My finish time was 2:29:22---a bit too fast!!!!
I waited after I hit the finish line......and along came Chris!!! One of my runners!!!! YAY!! He made it in!! We hugged--I was just so proud of him! He had been struggling for a few weeks with leg pain, but he figured it out and felt fine. I plan on bugging him towards the marathon next year. :) Then I saw Maria--YAY!! Naughty Maria had three rum n cokes the night before, "You told me to do just what I do every Friday night!" Silly girl--but she made it, whew!!!!
I started to feel a bit dizzy, so I hit the bananas and pretzel tables and went back to the tent. The rest of the runners made it over bit by bit. I was just so proud of them. I hope they will be back on the lakefront....some of them want to cheer me on at the Marathon. How cool is that! This pacing was such a wonderful experience, I highly recommend it! Now on towards the rest of Marathon training!!!