What a day!! I woke up at 4 am, didn't even need the alarm. Had a good night's sleep, which I was grateful for. All my stuff was ready from the night before, so I relaxed with my coffee and reading emails, blogs and such and then got ready.
The weather seemed to still be shakey. Hanging in the 30's with possible showers throughout the morning. My decision of longsleeves and shorts remained.
Drove myself into Chicago...parked close to the Hilton (paid $20 for that privledge) but I remembered last year when we parked in a less expensive lot quite the distance away. My legs were killing me walking to the car....never again I promised! Went into the Hilton--great scene. All the runners were roaming around, hanging out, stretching--the place had been taken over. Didn't see anyone so I hit the bathroom and then made my way over to the tent that was in the Charity Village designated for I-Runs, the program I signed up with.
Everyone was there. Parked myself on a bench with John (my pace leader for my first marathon)--he was a chatty cathy. He was still deciding what pace to run. He's slower than me, but I talked him into running with me at the 5:00 pace as we had decided a few weeks ago. (He never really pushes himself--so wasn't it my job to do it for him???) I felt good and decided the 5:00 pace was correct as I wanted to push myself too, even tho all the charts said I'd be closer to 5:15. I'd move on down if I needed to, but I've been soooo cautious this year due to all my buddies getting injured, so I wanted to see what I had in me finally.
I read somewhere that if you slather yourself in vaseline it would protect you from the wind, so I did just that. The last stretch of the marathon is along Michigan Ave--a real killer in this marathon, you begin to hit the wall and then the wind bashes into you--nothing like a good challenge to see what you've got in ya.
We went to the Start--John was so chatty he made friends with all the folks around us. I kept quiet and focused, and tried to stay warm. Todd was with us too....he was also chatting away. I was shivering, had a garbage bag around me but it wasn't enough. Heard the National Anthem being sung--that was new this year, we couldnt hear it last year, they must have added speakers...and we even heard the gun go off. Took 22 minutes to get to the start line--shuffling all the way. Todd found a mylar wrap on the ground from the Pig Marathon (the ground was full of discarded clothes) and wrapped it around me--great help, and I decided to save my mylar at the end of the race for next year.
Off we went. At around Mile 1, Todd said he wouldn't make it if he kept this pace so he was gone. Then at Mile 2, John had to pee (already????) and he went off into an alley. I was all alone!! A totally new experience for me. Last year I was with Rene and Haight, until Haight got brave around mile 21 and took off. Rene got me through the roughest part of the race, where I just wanted to sit down and complain to my Mom! No Rene, No Haight, No Todd, No John!! Holy Crap Batman!! I didn't consider this in preparation.
I decided to pretty much go into myself, ignore the crowds and stay focused on form, drinking, taking in gels and keeping the pace. Last year we all had our names on our shirts and were waving to the crowds (Haight had "Big Daddy" on his---oh boy did the women love that!!). I didn't have my name this time so it was easier to ignore everyone.
I stayed close to the 5:00 pace group. They had about 6 people with signs and red balloons attached, so even if they got a bit ahead of you, you'd still be able to see them. I ran through the different areas of Chicago, really loving "Boys Town". The boys were out like last year...dressed up as military, doing rifle dancing--dressed up as showgirls, strutting their stuff. Didn't see the "Village People" dress up group like last year. That area is always packed, it's probably the funnest place to watch the marathon besides the finish.
At 5 & 10 miles I had my GU with water from the water stops. Sipping on my water bottle between those miles. I felt good...no struggles at all. At around Mile 15 I started to slow down. I saw the red balloons creeping ahead of me. I decided to kick it in....told myself that I could make it back next to them in an hour without too much trouble. Kicked it in slowly, with a smidge of some trouble, but keeping to my plan.
I made it back to the 5:00 pace group at around Mile 20. I started looking for Haight and my son, David--the plan was they'd be between 20-21. Kept my eyes open, but didn't see them. And the pace group was getting away from me again. I knew I wouldn't be able to push myself back up to them, so I went to Plan B....goal of 5:15. I kept my eyes on my watch and kept that new pace. Did my GU as planned, every 5 miles, and I had no trouble. That is until Mile 21.
Warning...bodily functions about to be discussed! I was at my time of the month......that is, any day now I would be. So my tummy was squeaking out little cramps reminding me of that. I was able to ignore that..hey, I've delivered two babies and did one marathon--I can handle this little pain. But then my colon started squeaking. Well, I don't know about any of you, but the pain you get when you have the runs is brutal to me! I didn't know if it was my GU (chocolate with caffeine) that was doing it, or my menses starting. But i needed a portapotty. And, smart me, decided that I wasn't going to stop!! I had a goal, God Damn It!!
I suffered through the cramping, walking when it got really bad. I needed some help. So I decided to talk to my pals. I sang Happy Birthday to Sheila--twice. I chatted with my Dad and then I took out the big guns---RENE HELP!! She came back to me....all the words she spoke last year, like "This is fun! We're doing great!" came rushing through my mind. She kept me going. I imagined her next to me and just dug in. Mile 22, 23.....24---then I heard my name!
Haight and my son were there!! YAY!! I was miserable though....and my son was taping me on his phone (damn those phones). My first words were, "If I EVER talk about an ultra again, smack me hard!!" Haight asked me what I needed....." a toilet!!" "Anything else?" Yeah--CHOCOLATE!! I had filled a bag for him to bring and it had halloween sized Milky Ways. I didn't know if I would be aggravating my colon more, but I couldnt give a shit. It was like I was dilated to "10"--DON"T FUCK WITH ME! I ate the chocolate and struggled off....I think they were giggling (damn MEN!)
OK Lora, less than 2 miles, dig in hard and just do it. I thought of my blogger friends. How I so wanted to write a report I'd be proud of....I started writing it in my mind to keep my mind off the DAMN PAIN IN MY LEGS AND COLON!!! I thought of the portapotties waiting for me....it was a golden paradise for me at that point. No....that thought was too painful. I needed Rene again......so there she was....next to me, smiling at me, getting me to the Finish.
Up ahead was the biggest friggin mountain in the world....MOUNT RANDOLF!! Goddamn this mountainous Chicago!!! I walked up it--deciding that when I rounded the corner, I'd begin running (if that's what it was called at this point!). I made it up, turned the corner and the most beautiful sight in the world was up ahead. THE FUCKING FINISH LINE!!! I smiled, I thanked God and Rene and I ran in. I was thrilled.
I heard my name--Bonnie from my running club was on the right waving......Haight and David were on the left waving. I looked at my watch and it said 5:14--holy shit!! I did it!! I pushed and stepped over the finish!! Oh dear Lord, thank you for this beautiful day!! Got my mylar, a banana--scanned the food (yucky english muffins, fig newtons)---yeah, that's what my colon needed---arrghhhh! I finally found my heaven, the porta potty....and felt much better.
5:14:49 That's me!
(The pics above----me at Mile 24--plenty miserable. And then that evening, meeting up with the bloggers at Goose Island Brewery--Elizabeth was entertaining me, and that's my son, David, on the right.)