Monday, October 23, 2006

Survived Another One

I got home about 3:30 AM this morning. Right after the race we went back and showered, loaded the car and headed home. yes, we're idiots. actually we would have gotten home an hour earlier but we (and when i say we, i mean Bob) locked the keys in the car at a gas station outside of Des Moines, Iowa at 10:00 PM. That was nice. It took the guy almost an hour to get there and about one minute (literally... actually it was less than a minute) to unlock it.

Once the gun sounded, it took us 20 minutes to reach the actual start line to run. We were just a slow herd of thousands of people shuffling closer and closer to the starting line. I was both satisfied and disappointed with the results. Disappointed because i ran this marathon in almost exactly the same time as Lincoln. I felt so prepared this time and confident to run it much faster. But hey, it barely cracked 40 degrees at race start and by the finish it dropped to the upper 30's. it was misting for part of it, and there was some occasional wet snow flakes. And something i'm very proud of: i virtually ran the marathon all by myself. At mile 6 Bob was struggling with some respiratory issues he'd been dealing with for a couple weeks and he told me to go on. He later caught up to me at mile 17 and when on ahead, so i was "alone" for 20 miles, with the last 6 being the most grueling.

And another positive... Physically, i felt just as miserable as last time; my legs and lower back were "gone" around mile 18. I had ran the previous 17 only walking through the aid stations (drinks). I ran the whole last mile in, but i walked more than i ran the previous 4 miles. But the reason this was positive is that in Lincoln i was mentally shot too. i was delirious. But this time, it was just physical pain i had to truggle through. in Lincoln i had to lay down on the ground after the finish line because i was exhausted. But this time i didn't need to. I was shot for sure but i was "okay".

The Chicago Marathon was a great experience. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone crazy enough to run a marathon in the first place. For the money, you get so much along the way. there were tons of spectators along every single mile. some of them would hand out hard candy to runners and beads (like Marti Gras type beads). Lots of musical entertainment every mile or so. At the end was one of those aluminum foil type blankets, food, water and bags of ice (for swelling prevention)... and they actually had STADIUM type seating at the last 50 yards of the finish line... filled with the roar of cheering spectators. In all the chaos at the finish, i walked past the area you can get your picture taken, after receiving your medal. there was another tent for a post race party which had tons of other stuff, but we had to hit the road. In Lincoln i crossed the finish line alone (no other runners around me), in Chicago i was one of the last 3,000 runners to finish, but i was still surrounded by runners... it was still 'crowded'. it was so cool. 40,000 runners signed up but only a little over 33,000 ended up running.

I'm sure there are many more details, but that's the jist of it all. Chicago is definitely the "windy" city. it was bad enough the weather dropped to the 30's and rainy, but the wind was also coming in around 15-20 miles an hours and at times it was down right bone chilling. With the wind chill the temperature actually dropped into the 20's.

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