Race Day: September 11th, 2011
5:23 am: I woke up before the alarm clock went off. I’m feeling anxious, excited, nervous and tired. 12 weeks of preparation for this day. Then what?
5:28 am: I let the dogs outside and hop in the shower.
5:45 am: I eat breakfast of a banana and two Cliff crunchy bar things. I also take 3 ibuprofen and start stretching.
6:00 am: My sister wakes up and comes upstairs to help get the kids going. They have both found their way into my bed. I start trying to wake them up while I send Pat to the shower.
6:20 am: It’s still dark outside but a beautiful morning. I get my hat on, put my Energy Gel and 2 ibuprofen in my shorts pocket. I make sure I have everything. Shoes-check. Race bib-check. Chip on shoe-check.
6:30 am: I say goodbye to the kiddos and Pat and I leave the house. My mom and sister will be coming with the kids closer to start time, which is 7:30 am.
Caleb isn’t a morning person.
6:45 am: We get to Howard Wood Field just as the Marathon starts. I try to find my friend Angie but can’t so I just cheer for everyone. I need to practice what I preach, right?
7:05 am: We get to the infield and I’m kind of stretching. I’m feeling a little awkward about stretching in front of all these people. I’m not sure why.
7:10 am: We have a moment of silent prayer in remembrance of 911. At that exact same moment an airplane flies over the field, which is right next to the airport. Tears and goosebumps.
7:15 am: The announcer announces that all runners need to take their place on the track. I make one last ditch for the bathroom, along with 498 other women.
7:20 am: I kiss my Hubby and head to the track. There’s supposed to be pace markers but I can’t find mine (12:00) so I just head to the back of the group. I stand next to two funny older gentlemen who joke about being the slowest runners. I’m in good company.
7:30 am: Here we go! I’m in the back of the pack so it takes me awhile to get to the starting line. Pat is in the stands and takes my picture as he cheers. (I’m pink lady in the middle of the picture.) I’m so thankful for my supportive husband! As I round the track I find my mom, sister, Angel and Caleb.
Mile 1: My co-worker/friend Margie and her husband are at mile 1 to cheer me and another co-worker on. I see them no less than 6 other times throughout the race. I swear they have super powers because I have no idea how they were able to be in so many spots to cheer us on.
Around mile 2.5-3: We had slowly made our way up a hill and are now making our way down. My knee hurts pretty bad going down hill and I try to minimize the pain by taking smaller steps. That doesn’t work. So much for what I read on Runner’s World. This is also about the time I put on my music. Not only was I feeling the need for some motivation but I’m running next to three people who will not be quiet and it’s bothering me. (Can you say running snob?)
Miles 3-4: We run around downtown for awhile and there are more spectators. Unfortunately most of them don’t cheer unless they know you. Thankfully Margie and Tom are there! And the marathon volunteers do a pretty good job of cheering for everyone. We kind of do a loop around downtown and so the faster runners pass the slower runners and the slower runners pass the walkers. I try to cheer on the walkers the best I can while running.
Mile 5: The race’s best water station (my brother and his cross-country/track team) are just after mile 5. It’s just the boost I need. This is also the time that the first marathoner passes me. Followed by the second and third. Throughout the race I’m passed by maybe a dozen or so male marathoners. The first female marathoner finishes just behind me.
8:40 am: I ask one of the volunteers the time and try to figure out my pace. I’m just coming up on mile 6. My knee is pretty sore and my side hurts. I don’t feel like I’m going faster than normal so I’m not sure why my side hurts.
Mile 6-6.5: At the mile 6 water station I take my 2 ibuprofen and energy gel. Hopefully it’s not too early for the energy gel but I’m needing something. It’s around this time that I start running with a runner/walker and we battle it out until the very end. She’s a pretty fast runner and so she’ll pass me and run for awhile but then will walk. So then I’ll pass her. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Mile 6-8: We run on the bike trails for just a little bit and then go through more residential area. This residential area has more fans out on the streets and they are cheering for everyone. Love that!
Mile 9: We’re somewhere around mile 9 and I see my family! I give Angel and Caleb a
high-five low-five and Caleb cries when I run past. I don’t see Patrick but he’s there on the other side taking pictures! It’s right after this water station that we get on the bike trails again, which is my normal training route. I’m feeling good. I start to kick it up a notch. I run past two ladies who had past me earlier and they are talking about their pace of 11:38. I decide that I’m feeling even better than that and hope I can keep up this pace (whatever that might be) for four more miles.
Miles 10-13: I love running on these trails. I’m feeling good. There’s alot of water stations the last three miles, I think one every mile. I can’t believe I haven’t peed my pants yet for all the water I’ve been drinking.
Mile 12: We run up a little hill and on to a bridge. Just a mile to go and I’m hurting. My legs feel like jello but I try to keeping running hard. I can sense the two ladies I passed earlier (11:38 pace) are right behind me. I have to beat them (or so I tell myself). The runner/walker lady starts running and doesn’t walk again. She beats me.
Mile 13:1: As I come to the finish line I see my family! Yahoo I finished! Unfortunately not ahead of the 11:38 ladies. The time clock says 2:28, which is 2 minutes faster than my first half-marathon 12 years ago. But I later find out my exact time was 2:26:55. Turns out it took me 2 minutes to get across the start line. My pace ends up being 11:13. I’m pleasantly surprised it’s that low since I was expecting to finish around an 12:00 minute pace.
For some reason, Pat thought you might want to watch a video of the finish.
My mom and sister took the kids back home as they were fading fast. Pat and I hung around for awhile and I got a massage (ya! for free massages!) and grabbed an armful of food before heading home. I was so tired and could hardly walk. Unfortunately I wasn’t tired enough that I could actually sleep. I tried, that’s for sure and I think maybe fell asleep for 3o minutes or so. Everyone was getting pretty hungry and so around 2:00 pm we headed out to the buffet at a local casino/resort. Yum.
At the end of the meal my mom had a gift for me. It was a room key for that night at the resort! They were going to say overnight and we were all going to get to enjoy the pool and hot tub! I was so surprised and what a great surprise it was! As much as I love my family, it got even better when at about 8:00 pm Pat said, “I think I’ll take the kids home so you can have just a girls night.” Um, ok.
This morning I woke up at 6:30 am and did some jogging/walking in the pool to try to loosen up my legs. PAINFUL. Pat and the kids came back to go swimming before we had to check out and so we also enjoyed the hot tub a little bit more. It was the perfect ending to celebrate race day!
Now what? Chicago Marathon in October, 2012? I’m making no decisions today, that’s for sure.
Thanks for your encouragement, support and prayers! I couldn’t have done it without you!