Copied from Facebook- my race recap:
EXPO: As Jim & I walked the almost 4 miles to the expo, we saw some pretty amazing things. We took some awesome photos & talked to some complete strangers. I saw a "monster" promoting a local Chicago race. I had to get a silly picture... then my husband yelled out, "It's a Yeti!" as he's taking the photo. I was dumbfounded. "Why didn't I realize that, sooner?!" My Training group is called the Yetis! It was great!
As I walked up to the expo, holding hands with Jim, I was overwhelmed. A bucket list race- that I never thought I'd do; with my death-defying husband; knowing our daughters were safe, still sleeping in our room; looking at the lake ahead; looking at the buildings to our left & thousands of people surrounding us... I was SO HAPPY to even BE there. Just getting here has been a journey.
While I train to race; I try not to lose sight of what a great experience it all is. I try to remember to appreciate what I can do.
Training for a marathon puts you in many situations. Race day is never predictable, however. Less than a mile into the race, a woman tripped in front of me. I almost stepped on her. Mile three, a woman asked if I was okay. "Yes." "You have something leaking on your back." Another runner hands me a paper towel. I look at my side & there is vomit or diarrhea on my right side. I am COVERED from my back to my abdomen in something sticky. I stop behind a bus area, take off my Hydraquiver & check my backside. Did I have the runner trots?!?! No-- from what I can gather: apparently someone threw their gel pack & hit me, or I leaned into it in the corral. It was on my strap & every time it swayed as I ran, it rubbed onto my arm. My arm carried it to my side. I was covered! I stopped at a water station. They dumped water on my shirt & we tried to wash it out. I went out again & felt the "gunk" hitting my arm from my strap. I stopped at the next water stop & they washed the strap to my harness. I took off again & realized I had I giant spot on the top of my hand. I stopped again to wash my hands. That was mile 3, 7 & 9. Good thing I wasn't racing.
I tried to stay between 10-10:30 miles because I wanted to see everything. I did! I saw the Chinese dragons. I saw the ROTC guys spinning their wooden rifles. I saw the cross- dressing guys blasting music & blowing kisses. 😳 I saw an Elvis impersonator. I saw school bands, bagpipes, drummers 🤘🏼, heard Salsa music, Gangem Style music & dancers, young kids asking for high-5's, PEOPLE (!!!). There was not a 1/10 of a mile without people cheering their heads off. I turned onto LaSalle (?) & the crowd's cheering was thunderous & loud (!!!) echoing off all the old buildings. I started crying. All of these complete strangers were cheering for other strangers! A woman saw me crying, reaches out to touch me & cheers me on! I started crying more! Then two other people tell me it's okay & that I'm doing great. This was not unique. I had numerous people calling to me when I got shin splints & stopped to stretch. Strangers were calling to "Mexico", "Australia" & all the other countries or groups with advertisements on their shirts. One man yelled out to me: "Good job, Pigtails!" I laughed. I gave a thumbs-up to the bands. I was amazed at a man using a folding chair as a crutch & had his arm around a police officer as he gimped to the finish. I saw numerous people cramping- like me. I saw people vomiting. I saw people whisked away as they collapsed. I saw a woman getting loaded onto a makeshift emergency 4 wheeler with an IV. --Yeah, slow is good for me. She was ahead of me but at least I would finish.
I saw my family on the course-cheering- 💕 & a fellow INKnBURN alumni! She wasn't racing, she was spectating- saw me, called out my name & gave me a high-5. Unbelievable!!! I thought I'd be "alone" on the course, today- a "no name" blending into the 45,000 runners. I was wrong.
As I trotted along, I thought, "I'll stick to 1/2's. I'm done with marathons. They hurt." I know I'll forget & sign up, again. The crowds & experiences far out weigh the discomfort I felt.
As I got home & assessed this past weekend, I was a mixed bag of emotions.
Mommy Guilt: I took my kids out of their study/homework routines & they have to pay the Piper, today. I feel like I'm sending them into battle without a sword & telling them to "do your best."
Disbelief: It's hard to believe it really happened & it's over. Lots of practice & training-- now it's "just done."
Beating myself up: "You should have pushed the pace & sucked it up. Your finisher's time is a joke."
Self kindness: I was fighting an Achilles niggle. The last time I raced through it, I was down for a year! A slower pace would ensure I could participate & still live to tell the tale (& do my next race) in two weeks. "You made the right choice."
Guilt: Time to pay the bills for a Chicago weekend for 4.
Gratitude: My family came. They all showed up, together, on the course-- for the first time ever!!! I was SO happy to see them at mile 12!
Happiness: Knowing the girls (& Jim) got to see a new place, seeing a "bigger picture", outside of our country homestead, makes me happy. They know there are "options" past our back yard. They don't have to "settle."
Gratitude: My body is an amazing thing. Even with a mommy pooch & poor biomechanics, it got me through 26.2 miles of concrete. I can be upset that I didn't go faster (which I kind of am); but, I am amazed that I am walking & getting on with daily obligations, today. I asked my body to do something the majority of people will never ask their bodies to do. It came through the best it could, on that day. 💕
I hugged Jim before I entered the park, on race day. I thanked him & told him how much I loved him. I cried a bit. -Athletes, only, were allowed to the start. (We were scanned for weapons & security was tight. I appreciated it.) It was a stark reality of being separated from your family. I knew it wasn't permanent; but it was a reminder. I thought if this is "it" & I never see him again, Life has been good to me & more than fair. To experience your body's potential after a near death experience makes you HIGHLY aware of how easily it could all go away, quickly-- & I never want that to happen, again.
I felt guilty all day thinking about my kids not studying or getting all their homework done, this weekend. Both had tests or projects, today. They rolled with it & got it done. I was relieved.
4 hour marathon or 5 hour marathon--> Selfish? Irrelevant to life? A joke? It's all relative. I genuinely am grateful that I can do this at all & I really enjoyed our whirlwind trip. As I wrote ALL of this down, A friend tagged me on Facebook, letting me know that registration will be opening, this month, for next year's race. Chicago 2018, I will probably be back.