Bed Time Saturday Night:
This is where the adventure began. I was tired, I went to bed at 9:30pm.. I feel asleep closer to 1am. I would like to say this was just due to nerves, but nope. The building north of us was having a party that we could hear the loudest from our bedroom. I went out back, front, other windows, and it was pretty quiet in those areas. But in our room, it was non stop rap music and chants - go go go go yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. I imagine it was some Loyola students. I was trying to see which unit it was coming from so I could call 311. I eventually did, and they passed me to 911 for the noise complaint. About 45 minutes later the cops came and stopped their madness. Unfortunately by this time, I was rather infuriated and filled with adrenaline and couldn't sleep. WOMP!
Also while I was in bed, my entire left ankle was hurting.. I was not happy! I fell asleep and had probably the scariest nightmare ever dealing with demonic haunting in my life and it felt very realistic. After I woke up from that, I had about 70 minutes of sleep left. Well at least I got a few hours of sleep!
3ish am, Wake up! My stomach was starting to get nervous and I had trouble eating even half a bagel. I had my two cups of coffee to clear out things and got ready.
I headed out near 5am and took another couple pictures while waiting:
I met up with Erin (The Ruminator!!) at her train stop:
|STOP TAKING PICTURES DECLAN!|
|I dance as I walk out of trains!|
|Talking about being awesome!|
I saw one of my coworkers after entering gate up (and would see them scattered around the course as part of their job) and got a hearty hello and good luck.
After a potty break for all of us, we walked to the bag check area to meet up with the rest of the Bootleggers Running Club (BRC).
It was a tad chilly if you didn't bring a throw away later. I took some Ibuprofen around 6:45am and prayed that my big toe flexor tendon at least played nice for part of the race.
We went for one last potty break and went to our corrals. I got to meet Cheap Runner Mike in our corral, which was a totally cool cross of paths.
I ended up convincing (total jedi trick) Annabelle to let me run with her for the race until I broke down in epic fashion. Here are a couple selfies of us waiting in the corral for the race to start:
|I am NOT COLD|
|About to change into a BRC runner!|
|The view behind us|
|The view in front of us|
I have to note here, if you were to ask me over the last 10 days if I would even be able to run the entire marathon, I would have smirked and said, I better be able to. Every day that pesky tendon would flare up. I hadn't done a decent run at even a faster easy speed 8 October without feeling that unpleasant tight flaring. Race day though, I gotta do what I trained for all spring and summer. I wasn't sure what the first mile or even 100 meters would feel like. I was very nervous. Would I have to dump my speed right away and just high five everyone the entire race and try to enjoy it?
Thankfully, I have a great group of running friends and a physical therapist that believed in me more than I did. And with Annabelle taking the lead, I knew I was in safe hands for as long I could focus.
I immediately learned proper weaving techniques, tapping on shoulders, and waving people to where I was cutting around them. I also learned how to drink water from cups on the race by my fourth try. I pinched it, twisted it sideways, let overflow go out, and get 2-3 sips in. Also my Clif energy shots gels worked wonderfully all race.
After the first few miles, I felt relieved, my legs were fine. I felt a little more tired than I though I should be, but who wasn't today? Annabelle kept us on pace and I trusted her pace push.
Over the last few weeks of training, I hadn't had a steady pace run that I was able to stay steady with, they were all surge runs to get my pace in line. Something I need to work on next time around (also not getting injured mid training would help). So having a running partner was a saving grace for me. Thanks again Annabelle!
Course wise, the first 13 miles is one giant party. I'll confess, I didn't study the map beyond where I would be seeing my friends and family, so I wasn't always thinking of where I was. I saw Maggie at mile 7 and we gave a hearty wave to her!
I saw my physical therapist somewhere in the next few miles and she was true to her word and made a sign for me! I swung over and gave her a high five! (Shout out to Athletico for helping me stay in marathon shape!
I saw my my mom around boystown, jumping up and down screaming! But I missed the giant sign that her husband was holding.
Then I saw my wife and her friend around mile 10, holding a sign with a T.A.R.D.I.S on it!
I also saw Erica, Lauren, Jennifer, and Emily in the first half of the race.
I felt period of fatigue a bit earlier than I thought I would, but I always felt like I bounced back and the pace felt comfortable, easy at times. Annabelle and I were able to talk without issue when we wanted to. We were hitting our times pretty closely and I was feeling confident with my run... Until...
Around 25k I was hitting my first real wave of being tired..not the wall, just time for that Cliff Shot gel. I took it and the sugar hit me fast and I felt strong again. I told Annabelle happily that I felt great! And then I got a tiny stitch, no biggie. But then something I never experienced before happened. My chest started to tighten up, I couldn't breathe normally. My immediate thought was of the new headlines of those rare times runners get a heart attack. I slowed down and told Annabelle, do what you need to do. I was hoping slowing down for a short time would help it pass. I sadly watched as my running buddy scooted away. I tried to keep her in sights and maintain my pace, but I just couldn't breathe well. I lost around 10 seconds for a few miles, then 45 seconds, then 1 minute per mile. Once I was running in fading man's land, the race got lonely.
Even in the middle of 10s of thousands of runners and people cheering for you, I was feeling isolated. As soon as you start slowing down that late in a race, getting that pace back is very hard. I feel my legs still had enough in them to finish better, but I just couldn't get my breathing steady. I tried to enjoy the last 10 miles as much as I could, but all I could do watch watch waves of people catch back up to me and overtake me, while at the same time watch people fading back, limping, stopping to try to work strains and tightness. I saw one guy finish with ice wrapped around his ankle.
I kept telling myself I wasn't doing too bad. I told myself, this is my first marathon. I was talking myself from even looking at that cliff of just walking when I can still jog. I reminded myself that the entire week prior to the marathon I wasn't even sure I could run at the pace I was doing now, that I should be thankful. I relaxed and just broke the last time miles into memories of morning runs. I was still going to finish with a respectable time, with lots more to work on for the next time I do this.
I saw my wife and her friend around IIT and I was super excited, a friendly face! I swung over and gave them a high five! Only a few miles left. I thought I could pull a strong 5k finish, I tried to speed up, but my lungs just weren't letting me.. damn. The crowd support was great through Pilson and Chinatown. When we were finally getting close to Roosevelt I felt relieved. The distance didn't scare me, I felt my training was strong. Just variables I couldn't control limited my experience.. that stupid strain and my lungs.
"Roosevelt Hill" came up and I slowly trotted up it. The course rounded around and the finish line was in view. I knew I could at least suck it up for 100m and sprint to the finish, I wouldn't need to breathe for that long. I ran hard, passing a good 20 people and finished. I was a little light headed (breathing duh) and wasn't sure what to think except.. I want to do better. Not in the sense that I was disappointed, but I knew I am capable of better.
After finishing I saw Pete, Annabelle, Erin, and Lindsay. There are photos to come of us. Lots of PRs today!
The running community has been so supportive, I'll be making a separate post just to those that stood out the most during my journey to 26.2.
After talking about my issues to Pete, he mentioned it sounded like it was Distance (or Exercise) Induced Asthma. He has it and takes an inhaler for the longer runs or on need. I'll be asking my doctor about this issue this fall. Next time I want to be able to keep up with my running buddies!
Now some extra photos with my family after the race:
Thank you everyone for reading and supporting me. I have more goals to come, but this is enough to fill one blog post.
And the stats:
3:17:43 Finish. Considering all the things, I'm happy.