Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Chicago Marathon - Check

I finished. That's pretty much all I can say. I know it's shocking but well let's just it wasn't quite the day I had dreamed about. What is the Chicago Marathon that I did dream about? Well it would be a cool crisp fall morning, where I was healthy. And well it was neither of those two things happened. Despite the near 6 months of training and 400+ miles (all over the world) I am still glad that both Bruce and I did it and finished it.

So here's the recap. Last week about this time, I started to feel something inside that said you are getting sick. I fought it - by coming home and going to be pronto and upping my vitamin c intake - with vitamins, orange juice and lots of fruit. However, I couldn't shake it, but I do have a new rule in my classroom - when students come up to my desk to get Kleenex - they must go somewhere else to blow their nose - instead of directly at me. By the time Saturday night hit - enough positive thinking could not hide the fact that I was sick.

We arrived in Chicago on Saturday. We promptly met up with Megan (my former Wunder Student - and now Columbia College Student.) It was her birthday - so we bought her lunch at Pot Belly Sandwich shop. Then we headed up Michigan Ave to met up with 7:11 member Robert and his wife Heather (who traveled all the way from Lima to cheer us on.) We hung out for a while then headed to Wicker Park to enjoy a fabulous dinner at the Handlebar. We were supposed to meet up at 6 pm but we were ten minutes late because well it's rare but this time I went the wrong way - nearly 1/2 mile the wrong direction down North St. Don't worry I ate crow on that.

We arrived to the Handlebar (finally) where we met up with my family. We celebrated my Dad's 29th birthday and Megan's 19th. I brought the kids pop-up books which I am proud to say were a hit, especially the Barbie Makeover book I gave Sophie. Then we headed home for an early evening - we needed to rest for the big run.

We were up early to head to the start - but to be honest I never slept. I think it was partly nerves and partly because I was really getting sick. We (Bruce, his Dad and I) headed down to the start with the 40K+ runners. This was Bruce's first marathon, my second and his dad's 19th. When we finally crossed the start line it was 20 minutes after the official start of the race. There were that many people running. At first we were crawling - then we started to move. The pace was too slow for Thomas (Bruce's dad) so he took off - Bruce and I ran slowly but it was fine.

At mile one we ran into our first spectators Robert & Heather. Then a mile or two later - we saw my mom, my sister Krista, Josh (her husband,) Sophie and Max. They were screaming our names it was so great to have fans. At this point, I was running on pure adrenaline and had forgotten I wasn't feeling well. However, by mile three it hit me that I was not up to my normal running style. I felt sluggish and was dragging. Then by mile six, I was not sure I could make much more. I pushed on for a couple more miles - until my body said - "ummmm, not today." Bruce was ready to call it quits with me but I said, NO. He had worked too hard this summer not to finish - just because I was crapping out, he should continue. Plus my dad was going to be up at the next mile or so and if I wanted to he could take me home.

I am not going to lie, after Bruce left, I got really emotional. I had worked so hard - and I so much wanted to finish the marathon - even if it wouldn't be close to my goal of 4:45. Believe it or not I was not the only one in tears. The weather was getting hotter and people where just starting to drop like flies. Once I reached my dad - he, a great sport - who had not expected to walk into town, walked the course with me to meet up with the rest of my family at 12 miles.

When I reached them they were all great. I got huge hugs. Max was so funny and matter of fact, he was like, "Ok Aunt Jennie, you are sick, so you should come home with us." Part of me wanted to, however there was this stubborn part of me who was going to finish this race no matter what. I stopped for a little while and got some more hugs and then my mom, dad and I continued on to the half-way point. On the way there we saw Megan. (It's a lot for a college student to wake up early on the weekend and come cheer me on, so needless to say I was touched.) By this time, I was feeling a little better and I decided to try running again. I ran about 2 miles and was feeling good - but decided walking was better for me.

It was about this time when I met Debbie from Atlanta. She too was walking and frustrated because she wanted to be running. She hurt her knee and thought that she wouldn't be able to finish the race, but then slowly began walking and decided that she would try. At this time we began to walk together and talk. We have a lot in common other than having a frustrating marathons - like she has a blog too. I am so glad I met Debbie, because it was so much easier passing the last 11+ miles with a friend. She is pictured down below with me - she's wearing pink and was not expecting to meet up with the paparazzi that was my family. :)

The next time my mom and dad saw me - I had a walking buddy/running buddy. Debbie and I even started giving ourselves goals and running a little. We were walking at quite a clip. As we got closer, it became more feasible that we were going to finish. At mile 25 - when we had made a plan to run to the next block - we ran into her running coach - Justin from Atlanta. And for some reason the next block became the finish line - he described the last 1/2 mile of the race and despite the face that it ended up hill - we ran in the entire way and crossed the line together. I had hoped to cross the line with Bruce - but I am glad I had a friend to cross with. It made it a little easier.

Somehow - not becauase it was planned - because we didn't think that far ahead. But we all managed to meet up after the race. Debbie let me borrow her phone and I called my dad, who happened to be not to far away. Then Megan called my dad and she was with Robert and Heather. And my dad called my mom and we all ended up in a little park - to rehash the day and take some photos.

On a side note - Bruce's dad crossed the finish line in 4hours 27minutes. Amazing - if you ask me!

Bruce and I met up at the end of the race. I am so proud of him. I am not sure if I will try a marathon again - this one proved to me that despite how hard you train - you can't control everything. For now, I think I will stick with half-marathons for a while - it's a much more doable race. However, I am not going to lie - there is a part of me that thinks - well maybe the New York Marathon would be better because it's in November. (Yes, I am nut case - that may need intense therapy.)I wore my medal proudly to school today - not a lot of people saw because I was hiding in my room with my sickness. Despite everything - I am proud to say that I finished the Chicago Marathon.
Max & Sophie giving Uncle Bruce a big hug on Sunday.

Sophie giving me lots of love on Sunday. It was just what the doctor ordered.

Bruce and I at mile 6 in Lincoln Park.

Meeting with the fam at mile 12.

Megan cheering me on in Chicago!


Anonymous said...

Congrats Jennie !!!
We are very proud of you :)
Everyone at St. Clair TEC

Anonymous said...

The main thing is you finished! Good job! Sue

Anonymous said...

What an experience, you guys deserve all the credit in the world...I was worried about you both all weekend, glad you had all that support from your family and Megan.....

Paul and Mary Ellen