"Winning has nothing to do with racing. Most days don't have races anyway. Winning is about struggle and effort and optimism, and never, ever, ever giving up."

Monday, October 11, 2010

Chicago Marathon 10/10/10 The Date to Motivate

I made my way out to Chicago, Friday morning. I arrived at the condo I was staying at and found myself enjoying the solitude before the madness that the weekend would bring. Early evening, DC, Jeff, Austin, and Catherine (my XC runners), made their way to the condo. We brought their stuff up, allowed them to scope out the digs, and check out the view. We met up with David, and caught the tail end of the expo Friday night. We got there at about 7:30, knowing the expo closed at 8:00pm. I dashed for my bib and chip, darted to get my shirt, and ran to the pacing table to get my pace tattoo, and then searched for remaining food samples. I knew 30 minutes was not going to be enough time to take in everything that makes up the expo. We decided to go again on Saturday, to fully experience the Chicago Marathon Mecca! Jeremy flew in Friday night, and we went to bed shortly thereafter.

Saturday morning I got up and did an easy 2 mile run, just loosening things up before race day. Then Jeremy and I went to the expo to go down aisle by aisle. I found my name on the wall of runners, and was honored to see my name surrounded by people that would be soon facing the monster we were all up against the next day. We scurried around for our free samples, and took advantage of everything we could. Finally, the expo tuckered us out, and we went home. We stopped at Whole Foods to get some grocery items, including a fabulous sauce for our gluten-free pasta! It was great!!! After a hearty meal, and a day full of carb-loading, I was in bed by 9:00pm, but I was wide awake, fearing the next day. I continually checked the weather reports, only to find that the temperature was continuing to rise. I was so angry that days prior it had been nice and cool, and for race day we were going to experience a heat wave. However, the beauty of the beast, is that there are so many uncontrollable factors, and that's why I'm drawn to the marathon. So I tried to let go of the weather so I could get some sleep.

I woke up at 4:30AM to get my breakfast in, which consisted of rice cakes with peanut butter and banana slices on top. Jeremy and I left the condo by 5:30AM to make it towards the start line. We made a quick Starbucks stop, and got to the start line by 6:30AM. We sat on the curb until I got antsy and had to head towards the porta-potties in the seeded corral area. With tears rolling down my face as I walked away from Jeremy, I made my way to the lines. While waiting to take the final pre-race dump, I met a girl named Jordan, from Austin, TX. We realized that we were both in the same corral and were both shooting for the same time. While in line, we decided that we'd run together, because we were both hoping to qualify for Boston. We made it to the front of our corral and sat nervously on the pavement, talking about our running experiences, previous races, and summer training. Given that she was from Austin, TX the weather wasn't a concern for her at all. I, on the otherhand, was thoroughly disappointed that at 7:00AM it was 62 degrees. That meant it was going to get warm, and it was going to get warm fast. Finally, the race began. We crossed the start line just over three minutes after the horn blew. Even though this was my third time running the Chicago Marathon, the number of spectators AND runners still amazed me. The first 7 miles of the race flew by. I don't even remember running. It felt effortless. At the half marathon mark I saw Jeremy. I was still feeling good. It's amazing how just seeing his face gave me energy. I knew he was praying for me. I didn't see him the rest of the race. He went to a couple other places, but never saw me. At about mile 15, the heat was really getting to me. Jordan was feeling strong, so I told her to keep going, but my pace was slowing down quite a bit. I saw DC, Austin, Jeff, and Catherine at numerous points throughout the course. They were so awesome! So loud. So encouraging. Very much what I needed! I also saw Angela and Joy a couple times during the race. They too, were loud, and fabulous. Mile 19 felt like the longest mile of the race. However, I saw my Runnin Rams, and they gave me so much energy as they ran the sidewalks cheering me on. Their faces said it all--they knew I could do it. They believed I could do it. It came to a point where I had to stop looking at them because I thought I was going to burst into tears. I was so emotional, just from hearing them cheer and encourage me. The last 6.2 miles were brutal. At one point, I almost threw the dream of qualifying for Boston out the window. It was just too hot. I had to take mini walk breaks through every water station through mile 23 1/2. Just before mile 25, I saw my runners one last time. They continued to run on the side of the course, and ran with me for what seemed like a while. These guys are the reason I kept going at the end. I couldn't let them see me walk. After they drove hours to see me run, I needed to run, at least while they were in sight. And then I realized what they already knew--I was going to do it. I was going to qualify! I knew I could run 1.2 miles without stopping. And I did. The final 800m was rough--there is an incline that seems to be placed so cruelly. But I charged it, got over it, turned the corner, and saw the finish line and the jumbotron. With as much as I had left, I picked it up, and ran to the finish. I crossed the line, and knew that I had done it.

I burst into the tears as I walked passed the volunteers congratulating me. They asked if I was okay, if I needed medical attention, and I said, "No, I'm just so happy." One older guy gave me a huge hug (he didn't care about the sweat and nasty odor coming from my body), and congratulated me on such an accomplishment. My medal was hung around my neck, and I was wrapped in the finishers wrap. I was given a bottle of water, and I made the long walk to the runner re-unite area. I still couldn't believe it. I had done it. I had qualified for Boston. I was going to
Boston with DC!

The day finally came, and went. Faster than I would have liked; however, you wouldn't have caught me saying that during the marathon. At the end of the race, it was 86 degrees. And it felt like it! Here are some things I thought about this weekend:

1. God honored my faithfulness.
2. I'm stronger than I've allowed myself to believe.
3. The pain of discipline truly is less than the pain of regret--far less.
4. My husband loves me a ton, and really believes in me.
5. My family and the Runnin Rams are encouraging machines!!!
6. I like lemon-lime endurance gatorade much better than the blue powerade at TCM.
7. God is faithful. So was I. But there is no correlation between the two-God is ALWAYS faithful.
8. Fitsok is the best brand of sock I've ever raced it. (No blisters or missing toenails).
9. I have a lot of people who love me and believe in me.
10. When I'm weak, Christ makes me strong.
11. I still love running, even after these conditions.
12. I'm running the Boston Marathon.

My finishing time: 3:39:07 for 26.2 miles.
A new PR, a Boston Qualifier, a renewed mental toughness, and an understanding that God is who He says He is.

1 comment:

  1. Great post Bree. I am proud of you, not because you qualified, but because of how you let yourself be challenged and grow as a result of the journey. Enjoy each moment.