Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chicago Marathon

My hostess Katie and I woke at 4:30 AM because we intended to leave between 5:30 and 5:45 for downtown Chicago. After my breakfast and shower, I proceeded to tape my blister-prone toes.

I use gorilla tape. It is simple and it works, no matter how much I sweat.

I really, really have to give props to my friend Katie. She was my hostess, chauffeur, pit crew AND photographer!

She wore this awesome shirt in my honor.

Katie ended up having to drop me off because the parking was already filling up. She had to go and park at Soldier Field while I headed to the Congress Hotel to finally meet Maddy. Lots of people apparently planned to meet in the lobby, so I ended up having to call her. Minutes later I finally met my awesome running partner!

Maddy and I have been blog friends for about 4 years now.

Next we walked a bit and finally got to meet up with Kevin! It was awesome to make all of the connections.

Is this a terrific trio or what?

Next Maddy and I headed to the starting area. 45,000 people signed up for the race, and even factoring out the no-shows left an extreme number of runners ahead of us. We couldn't even physically see the starting line until well after the gun (which we couldn't hear) went off.

It took us exactly 30 minutes to reach the starting mat.

The event alert level was green/low (good conditions - enjoy the event/be alert) when we started. I am sure it was about 60 degrees. From the first few minutes of running, I felt quite labored. But we had a marathon to run!

Katie's first spot to see us was at mile 2. There we are under the "V" of Verizon.

I think Katie took this photo because I now live in Mississippi. Ha!

A few miles later, the event level had switched to yellow/moderate (less than ideal conditions - slow down/be prepared for worsening conditions). Oh great.

I didn't detect Katie until we had passed. I think this is a funny shot.

I was really struggling. Maddy and I were trying to run using my 2:1 method and I just had NO speed behind me. It was tough. Early on I urged her to run ahead, but she would not.

Katie said that without Maddy's attire, she would have never found me out there.

The next thing I knew - probably before or around the halfway point - the event level changed to red/high (potentially dangerous conditions - slow down/observe course changes/follow event official instruction/consider stopping). Believe me - the latter crossed my mind, but I felt like I had moved heaven and earth to even train for this event, on top of making arrangements to get there considering Chasen has been in China... so I had to just forge ahead.

Believe me, it wasn't easy. It was hot and I was spent.

As we headed south and passed Chinatown, I knew we were coming up on IIT. No matter how bad I felt, I was happy to be running past my alma mater.

This is where I spent my college years.

Here we are dragging by the architecture building, S.R. Crown Hall.

As we ran past a nearby high school, the digital marquis read 94 degrees. Holy moly. It was brutal. We were well over an hour past where we initially thought we'd be, timewise. Oh well - one foot in front of the other.

Oh happy day! I knew, thanks to Maddy, I was going to make it.

At about a quarter mile to go we had to go up a bridge. Jeez oh man! We tried to sprint, but I had to conserve a bit of energy. When we made the final turn, I mustered up my last bit of energy and we stormed down to the finish line passing several people. Our official chip time was 6:52:23. Ouch. But, as I said, given the conditions I feel fortunate to have finished at all. Every medical tent we passed was full and I even saw people laid out on the grass along the course receiving IV's. Holy cow.

Big, huge thank you to Maddy! My medal is half her's!

It was so late in the day that I cancelled my post-marathon dinner out with college friends. It took Katie and I forever to talk back to her car considering my soreness and having to navigate the road blocks. But we finally made it. On the way back to her condo she stopped and bought me a huge bag of ice for my much-desired ice bath.

22 pounds - and I loved every bit of it.

After an ice bath and regular shower, I felt nearly good as new. Katie was fairly amazed. I said "It's the ice bath!" We went to a nearby restaurant to save time. I chose one that Chasen and I visited when we were there last November. I knew he'd be jealous. Ha!

Italian Beef and fries - how Chicago!

Katie dropped me off at the airport and I COULD NOT wait to get home to my sweet Isaac. He was asleep, of course, but I looked in on him and then gleefully got back into my own bed.

Here is my hard-earned medal and largest race number I've ever had.

And here is the shot that made it ALL worthwhile. What more could I ask for?

So, it was an awful race for me, but I am proud to have completed marathon #4. Now for some rest!


Maddy said...


It was a pleasure to share the day with you.

I can't wait to see you again at Mojo Loco!

lizzie lee said...

Susan. How wonderful. You were on my mind all day. I didn't know about the heat until I got back home from a race in Eastern Washington. Your comment on your last two pictures couldn't be more true: A hard earned medal... EARNED... and Isaac with it. Worthwhile. Absolute-lee.

Congrats for #4.

lizzie lee

nylisa said...

What an exciting race! Glad you took it easy out there with such harsh conditions! So awesome you accomplished what you set out to do!

Road Warrior said...

Congratulations, Susan! You had absolutely dreadful conditions to run in, but you made it happen. The finish line is all that counts. Marathon number 4: done!

Heather said...

CONGRATS SUSAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jacky said...

Congrats Susan! I enjoyed reading all of it... I so felt like I was there! Great race no matter what! You're a champ! Love the pics. Such a nice "souvenir". Hope you're not too sore. Rest, you well deserve it!

Lisa said...

Wow!! It sounds like your Chicago Marathon was alot like mine in 2007!! That is with the exception of the warnings, calling the race, running out of water, etc. -- guess they learned something after that race after all!

Susan K. said...

Hey, I am SO proud of you for doing yet another marathon! wow. You're something else, SS!

Amazing. Glad you made it through all the alerts & stuff.