Well...it's over. Marathon 1 of 2 this year is over. (Pls excuse any initial typos...I wrote this over a few days from my iPhone. I'll check for typos later...)
Before the start: BB and I parked at my job and the blue line from Greektown to downtown, a short 5 minute ride. We ran into a 1st timer who was on his way. Speaking of rookies, it was when my eyes spied his Garmin that I realized I left mine next to the TV. Dammit!!!!!! I'd done almost all of my long runs using run/walk, totally relying on that--run 1 mile, walk about a tenth. But more importantly, it helps me stay on pace. Anyway...Coincidentally of the 45,000 people at the start line, later I saw dude from the train right behind me in my corral. Weird how the world works sometimes. I was nervous but feeling good as BB and I said our goodbyes. I'd armed him with a race map and we had plans for various places on the course (I'll get to those later.)
In my corral: I ended up chatting with two ladies, one from Atlanta and another from Bourbonnais (south of the city about an hour from the south side.) Atlanta lady is 50 and hasn't run a marathon since she was 43. She was having hip issues after stepping off of a curb wrong on Saturday. Bourbonnais chick was not running her first either. She and I started off together and that lasted about 1 minute. :)
Start line: I didn't find the start line as annoying and nerve racking as usual for some reason. Maybe I'll try being social more often, I usually don't say a word to anyone at a race corral unless I came with them, which has been rare these days (compared to back in the day when every race was with someone.) Because it was chillier than past races there were huge mounds of discarded clothing. (Later on the course I saw a runner drop a sweatshirt and a homeless man who'd clearly been on the prowl ran out onto the course and snagged it almost before it hit the ground.) I took my running jacket off about 5 minutes before we got to the start line and tied it around my waist.
Mile 1-3: (dontgotoofastdontgotoofastdontgotoofast) My first mile was right at about 12:00 and then I had to force myself to walk as planned. The cardinal sin of run/walking is to run until you feel tired (if you've been training the run/walk way) because if you wait, you'll be sorry. I couldn't quite gauge what was about a tenth of a mile. I also used this time to readjust my jacket. It was falling all over and annoying me big time.
I walked a bit then got back to running. I was very excited because I knew BB would be right by the Chicago Theater on my left. I love love love seeing him at my races. He was there and I handed him my jacket. He cheered me on, and off I went. First aid station was shortly thereafter. I continued with my run/walk.i love the "canyons" of LaSalle Street but this time I didn't look around much. Approaching Lake Street I looked for BB again, who'd merely walked across two blocks for our 2nd on-course meet up.
Miles 3-6: somewhere in here my right knee started feeling a twinge of sorts but I carried on. Right around the 5k mark some idiot decided that the crowded course was a great place to run in front of everyone while holding hands with his girlfriend. I pushed him and if I hadn't, I'm pretty sure he would have stepped on my feet. I shoved him hard. People, don't cross the course if you can't do so safely and quickly! Everything else felt uneventful as we ran through Lincoln Park and onto Sheridan... On Sheridan I waved an entire block to the nursing home residents who'd made it up and windowside to wave at the runners. They are so sweet. A few had signs of their own, and one older woman in a walker was out standing at the bus stop with her sign. Sweetest thing ever! ❤️
Miles 7-9: turning on to Addison is usually my favorite time in the race. Sheridan doesn't have huge crowds, so there is quite a contrast. It was loud, but as i turned south onto Broadway, it didn't seem as festive as usual. My knee was getting more noticeable, so I knew seeing BB at Mile 8 would include Advil. As I approach BB I see that his friend is with him. Very cool. We talked for a sec and then I was on my way. Just a few steps upon leaving them I hear someone screaming my name like a lunatic. Nicole!! My former co-worker! We screamed and hugged, she told me where she'd be next, and off I went. What's funny how close as BB and she were without even knowing each other. Here's a pic Nicole took of me, and just steps behind in the background I can see BB's hat and part of his hoodie, and his friend.
That's me in the black pants and teal running short, and you can see the top of BB's black and white hat behind the woman in the gray jacket. His friend is in the black coat and jeans. Small world. Anyway Nicole will also be in NYC--she's from NY so it's a trip home for her.
The friend-fest doesn't end there, though. I hadn't mentioned on my blog already (and will explain more later) but as part of my run I got to test/pilot a device called "ampy" that is able to harness the energy I create from my movement. They, too were on the sidelines. I think the device had gps because they were on it. They screamed my name and I looked back. I was ahead of them and on the other side of the street. When I turned to keep running forward I must have stepped awkwardly because my knee buckled something fierce. It hurt a lot. Kept going, but started to wonder...
Ugh, this knee of mine! Started to walk a lot. Started to wonder how I could finish if I'm already having trouble this early. Kept thinking that BB was probably like where on earth is Lindy?! Was embarrassed to be taking so long and was wondering what his friend must be thinking. I was exasperated and super annoyed. Angry. "Maybe I'm just not cut out for this distance." I finally was approaching Mile 12 where BB was to be and he met me. I was not happy and wanted to give up, and he gave me the pep talk of a lifetime. From then on i said no matter what, I would finish. I wouldn't stop. Not to stretch. Not at the medic tent to get some biofreeze or be told to stop. I mean, hell, one foot in front of the other, run, shuffle or walk, I'd finish.
Heading westward now, I headed towards my old stomping grounds of the near west side. As I approached Damen, i remembered my first marathon when 3 year old Jada and 1 year old Zoe came to cheer me on in 90 degree weather. At the time I lived just a few blocks from the westernmost portion of the course. A few years before that I remember watching and cheering on runners in that same spot, thinking to myself "i wanna run a marathon someday."
I ran, shuffled my way back towards Greektown, approaching where I work. It still feels new to me after only having been there since June. The Chicago "chapter?" of Black Girls Run was heading up Aid Station 12, so I knew I could look for some added encouragement here. :) 16.5 miles done. I got a text from co-worker Caroline telling me that she and Malory were near Taylor/Laflin...that's right at Mile 18 and right by Jada's school. I continued to shuffle and walk and finally reached them. You may recall me mentioning them before, both injured and unable to run. I had the presence of mind to ask Caroline about her doctor appointment that she'd had on Saturday and she was happy to announce her stress fracture is healed. She ran with me to the next block and sent me on my way. I texted BB that I was coming to him at Mile 19:
When I turned the corner, Pilsen was an instant party. Being offered beers, fruit, candies, pretzels!!! All glorious things this late in the race. Kids. Teens. Grandmas and grandpas. College students who easily could have been doing better things like sleeping off a hangover or something. It's a family affair in Pilsen. I didn't see Tequila shots being offered this time--not that I'd take one, I just think it's hilarious. Finally there was BB, he was by himself again but looked to be having a blast. He went to school in Pilsen so I knew he'd love it here. I walked a few and talked a bit and then I went on my way.
By far, I had the most fun on 18th Street from Ashland to Halsted, mostly all of Mile 19. Turning into Halsted I was approaching Mile 20, heading towards Chinatown. There was nothing too great here. Shuffle walk shuffle walk. My friend Annah was texting me telling me she'd be ready to "run me in" at Mile 21. So i get to Mile 21 and no Annah. Shrug. Kept rolling. Then she's calling me talking about "where are you?" She said I could have passed her. (Side eye glance) and then she found herself running to catch up to me. She brought tons of stuff (candy; orange slices, a bruised banana, just in case.) we kept moving.
We got to Chinatown in what seemed an eternity and they were still kicking it there. Two big Chinese dragons were dancing "the wobble" which I found to be a rather hilarious cultural crossover. We kept rolling and by rolling I mean snail's pace-ish. We kept heading south under the belly of the Dan Ryan- the expressway on the southside. This area of the course is notoriously sucky. Fewer crowds (though still people around) and at that time in just about everyone's race (unless you're from an East African nation) when you're like "what in the heck am i DOING." And that period is there because in my head it comes off much more like a statement than an actual question, despite its rhetorical question-like nature. I kept telling myself "just make it to Michigan (Avenue...one long 2.5 mile shot back to the finish line.)
And dear God, FINALLY I made the turn onto Michigan. And there were Heather and her husband Howard (only everyone calls him June.) I've known her since college and she's always cheered me on. They were in the same spot in 2012. She's running half marathons these days and we'll be running the Illinois Half next April down in Champaign at our alma mater (and also where BB lives.) we already agreed to celebrate afterwards, this time. Anyway, Heather had candy too...these cherry things
BB texted and asked where I was so that he could be sure to see me. I tried to go faster, my legs were cramping up, knee occasionally rebelling. My friend Tony had texted and I only now noticed. He and his wife Tasneem live at 13th/Michigan, just one block from the Mile 26 mark. I let him know I was nearby too. The blocks seemed to go quicker...25th street...24th...20th...for some reason I looked behind me and saw the car a ways back--at least 4 blocks...the car with the clock on top that basically means "the course is closed, you didn't make the cut off" (although they don't kick you off right away.) At18th we saw Kim, who grew up in the 'burbs with me and Annah. At 13th there were Tas and Tony. I've known Tony since 1991 and we've been friends ever since...when I met his then girlfriend we instantly became friends to the point that she and I talk more than me and him. Ha! (If you're cringing at my grammar, please do know that I am well aware of the appropriate rules, this is just my casual talk. Meh. Sue me.)
At this point I was approaching Roosevelt Rd/Mile 26. Annah turned off and we said our farewells and I scooted over to the far left of the course because BB was going to be there...only I didn't see him! Wahhhh! (I knew he was there and somehow we just missed each other. No biggie, I knew I'd see him in a bit! He was a SAINT for being all over the course for me!!!!!!!!!!)
Roosevelt Road between Michigan Avenue and Columbus is a notorious hill, and by hill I mean Chicago's version of a hill. I ran halfway up, looking for my black and white hat...I walked a bit to the top, and as I got to Columbus I ran again. Slowly...there's the finish.
Done. Finally. What a long, long day.
I was handed my Mylar blanket to keep warm and honestly, I really did feel cold almost instantly after I stopped running. Got my medal. And instead of making my way down endless tables, they handed me a Mariano's bag with all sorts of goodies. I grabbed a beer, and kept walking. And walking. And walking. BB and I talked and agrees where to meet. I'd noticed he's called and texted--he hadn't realized I'd passed until he got the notification that I'd finished. I made arrangements to meet he and the Ampy folks at the same spot.
Turns out I burned over 4000 calories and ran up about 18 hours worth of phone charging time with my Ampy...more than the other two runners, since I was out there on the course longer. This is not the greatest picture but hey.
From the marathon and getting to and from Grant Park, I logged over 62,000 steps according to my Fitbit.
After we left Grant Park there were nachos. And fries. When I got home there was a shower. And chafing. And my toenail on my big toe is cracked.
I've been working on this race report little by little since Monday and it's now Wednesday. My quads have finally stopped hurting. My knee has the occasional twinge. My chafing is still bleeding, getting re-irritated every day.
I don't even know what to make of this race or what it means for NYC which is in less than 3 weeks now. I don't want to let it mean anything. I'm glad that while I was exhausted and hurting, that pretty much after Mile 12 I did not have any serious bouts with my debilitating negative self-talk. That's pretty big given past experiences.
So there you have it. (And I am so grateful for my BB and all my friends who came out on the course, and for Annah who ran me in from Mile 21.) thank you to those who are reading this!