Last year at this time I got back into running. I had taken about a year off of not running at all because life got in the way and I had lost my running partner Alicia because she had gotten a new job working nights. I realized last October I needed to get moving again as I wasn't doing any form of physical activity. Alicia was still working nights but I new this was something I needed to do. I signed up for the 10km running clinic at the running room since I was starting from square one again. My husband's friends wife Catherine had just returned home from her time at Fitness Ridge and at one of our husband's hockey games I ran into her and she shared all the wonderful stories about her time at FR. I told her I was joining the 10km running clinic and that she should join with me. The rest is history really. Catherine and I completed the 10km clinic and continued on with the 1/2 marathon clinic along with Alicia since she got a new job and wasn't working nights anymore. After the 1/2 we all moved on to the marathon clinic.
I have spent the last year running and training for 3 1/2 marathons and 1 full marathon. The Chicago marathon was our main goal and after a year of training and 2 weeks at Fitness Ridge I new I was ready for this race. The run took place on 10-10-10.....this was also Alicia's birthday so it was going to be an extra fun weekend. The four of us (me, my husband Jamie, Alicia and her husband Conor) drove down to Chicago on the Friday morning. We left London around 7:00 a.m. because we wanted to arrive in Chicago in the early afternoon so we could hit up the expo. Catherine was traveling down with her husband Lennie and her mom. They had family in Chicago so they were staying with them for the weekend. Once we arrived in Chicago we checked into our hotel room and grab some food at Subway. We headed over to Nike town to find our name on the giant wall they put up with all the names of the participants who have registered for the race. I wasn't able to find my name as it was too high up on the wall to see. There was a free shuttle to the expo from Nike town so we all hooped on.
The wall at Nike with all the names of the participants of the 2010 Chicago Marathon
We took lots of pictures at the expo with the wonderful 10-10-10 signage. They also had another wall with all of our names on it and this time I was able to find my name.
Me at the entrance of the expo
Happy I found my name
The expo was ok but nothing great. We spent a couple hours there checking out all the vendors but we spent most of our time trying to find clothes at the Nike booth since there were very slim pickings on the women's clothing in sizes once we arrived. I ended up buying a men's long sleeve shirt and a hat that say Chicago Marathon 10-10-10.
On Saturday we wanted to make sure we didn't do too much walking around so we decided to do one of the boat tours that take you down the river and out into Lake Michigan. The weather was amazing......nice and sunny and hot for a boat tour. It was great to learn more about the city and get to see all the beautiful buildings.
Jamie, me, Conor & Lish on our boat tour
After the tour we did some more shopping and then it was time to have our carb loading dinner. Alicia had made us reservations at a restaurant one of her friends recommended for great pasta. Catherine and her family joined us and we ate, ate and ate lots of pasta. After dinner we headed back to our room and got our outfits ready since we were only hours away from the big race.
All of us at dinner
My race outfit....most important thing
I knew right away that it was going to be a warm run. When I didn't need a throw away sweater to wear because it was warm at 6:00 a.m. I was a little worried.
Jamie and me right before I left for the race
Catherine, Lish and I got dropped off down by the start line. We arrived with enough time to check everything out, get in line to use washroom one last time and then find our spots and wait for the race to start. Once the race started it took me 20 minutes from where I was standing to cross the start line. Once I crossed that start line I was off. It was crazy the amount of people I was running with and the number of people who were on the street cheering us on. I had a really good first half of the race. I really wanted to run this marathon in 4:45 minutes so I had a pace band that I was wearing so I could make sure I was staying on pace throughout the race. At the half way mark I was ahead by 2 minutes and was feeling great.
Still looking good & happy to see my cheering squad
It was really warm out but since the first half of the race was mostly downtown it was shady and there was bit of a breeze. The 2nd half of the race was not as covered and at this point it was getting very hot out. I couldn't believe how much water and Gatorade I was drinking. At every aid station I was filling up like crazy. At about mile 14 I developed really bad stomach cramps. I took some extra time on my walk break to try and make it go away but when I started to run again the pain was too much. I was forced to walk for about 10 minutes and then tired running again. The pain was still there. At this point I had my first melt down......I was in tears because I new I could do this as I had done it many times in training already and was so frustrated because my goal time of 4:45 was slipping away. I had my little pity party for a couple of minutes and then pulled myself together. I decided that I would do what I could. I started to run for 5 minutes and then walk for 5 minutes or what ever combination work for me. I was over heating and thank goodness for the hoses at every aid station because I would just go and stand in front of them and cool myself down. I struggled from mile 14-17 with my cramps but they finally went away. Then I developed a really bad sharp pain in my left shoulder that caused so much pain when I ran. At this point I had my second pity party for myself. I was in complete tears on again on the course. My 2nd goal of completing this race in under 5 hours was slipping away as well. I pulled myself together agin and decided it doesn't matter what my time is I'm going to finish this race. It was around this point as well that I noticed that they changed the caution alert system for the race low to a high. Temperatures at this point were above 90 degrees.
Before I new it I was approaching the 25 mile marker. With only 1.2 miles to go I was almost there. I finished strong and crossed that finish line at 5:20:03 a PB for me since my first marathon I completed in 5:39 back in 2007.
We did it once again
Although I didn't get the results I wanted with this race it still was such a wonderful experience. I still can't believe the number of people who cheer you on throughout the whole race. People offering you food, drinks, hooking their garden hoses up to cool you off......you name it there were doing it. I want to thank Jamie, Conor, Lennie and Catherine's mom for being our cheering squad. It as so wonderful to see all of you through the race.
We all finished the race and can't wait to run Chicago again. We have already booked our hotel rooms for the 30km Around the Bay race in March and the Flying Pig 1/2 marathon in May. We all plan on running another marathon in the spring as well. This running thing really does become addicting when you get to run with such amazing people.