The night before the race, I felt my eyes were starting to droop a little around 9ish. I thought 'YAY! I'm going to get some sleep tonight'. Wrong! I went home, started syncing music to my iPhone, next thing I know it's freakin' 1:30am. Shit.
(Rookie Mistake #1: you get too nervous/overwhelmed/excited, you forget to sleep.)
I'm screwed. Things like this always happen to me of course.. so I played it cool. finished putting together my stuff and went to bed. Woke up right before my alarm at 4:55. Put everything in my bag. The only thing that was missing was my race clothes. So I went to check on them (I had left them drying in the dryer the night before). They were still wet. A big WTF. So I reset my dryer and went back to check and double check my stuff to bring to the race.
(Rookie Mistake #2, have ALL your stuff ready, including your race clothes laid out the NIGHT before the race.)
By the time I was heading out the door, I took a banana. Another WTF. I forgot to eat something small to have some fuel. (RM #3, eat something small hours prior to start time.) I still had an hour to digest this banana. Picked up McSpeedy (the bf) and drove downtown. We got super lucky trying to find parking. We passed only 1 parking lot that was closed and the next one we scored! Woohoo. It was about 6'oclock. Half an hour till race time. We were both nervous. (Nervous was an understatement..of course)
So we got ready in the car, paid for parking, check last min things and we were off.
I looked at the time. It was around 6:22... No lie.
We tried running towards Grant Park. We had no clue were exactly the race started. Haa.. (RM #4, KNOW and carry a map of the course, especially w/ the start line on it) Ha..
We asked one of those traffic people if the knew, thank jebus they had a flyer of where it was located.
We literally ran to start line. On our way there, my water belt was a little uncomfortable. It was the first time I had it on since I purchased it. (RM #5, never use new gear on race day). So I fumbled with it as I was running, and BAM!. Next thing I know, there's water all over my leg and shorts, and none left in my little water container. Great...
We get to the corrals and I see we were wayyyy behind, in like corral 15'ish.
McSpeedy was in corral 1, and I was in 3, how the hell were we going to make it in time.
I hear the announcer start off the race. Shit.
So I jump over the gates and run down the sidewalk until finally eying corral 4. I thought, this is better than nothing. So we both started off there. Had 2 seconds to rest and we were off...
Shit. Shit. Shit.
I had no water. I was already worn out. My mind was everywhere. I felt horrible for not preparing properly. But this wasn't going to stop me from running this race. I started up my Nike+ app, and just focused on how the hell I was going to do this.
I honestly can't remember most of this race. I was too caught up in my thoughts. I ran my first mile at 7:53. Woah. Way too fast for what I had in mind. I think my legs were still thinking about reaching the start line. After that I tried keeping a steady pace not slowing down too much, and not going out too fast. I remember eying the 1:45 pacer. My Goal time one day. Sadly, I only stayed with him for about half a mile-ish.. I don't know how long after that, I see a herd of people and there he is, Mr. 1:50.
Alright Luz! You have to stay with him. Too bad it was only about a mile or 2 before I lost sight of his little flag. (Having no contacts on didn't help one bit. RM#6: wear your glasses to be able to see where you are going)
Oh no... The last thing I wanted was for Mr. or Mrs. 2:00 to pass me up.That was my greatest fear throughout the whole time.
I started taking my Shot Bloks at around mile 6, right after I remembered...that I had forgotten to take off my compression shin sleeves. Ha.. Nice one Luz. So I rolled them down to my ankles. These kinda bother me when I wear them for too long, today was not the day for that.
At Mile 8, I took another Shot Blok and I started choking on it. Haha.. I was laughing at myself. I need to chew and stop day dreaming and get on with this race. I had no idea where the mile marks were, maybe because I had no contacts, or maybe because I wasn't really paying any attention to my surroundings, but I had missed almost all of them. Except of course the 5k, 10k and some other ones.
Mile 9 rolled around and it hit me, I only had 4 miles to go. ( I had to lie to myself at this point and rounded it down and told myself only 3.9 miles to go, just to make me feel better)
I kept trying to pace myself with other runners around me and also stopped a couple times for water/Gatorade. No GU for me. I can hardly remember stopping at the water stops...
The wet sponges helped with the stickyness from all the Gatorade I spilled on myself. :)
I believe those were after mile 10ish.. maybe 11.
I remember seeing the 11th mile mark. I had around 20 minutes to finish, if I was going to beat the 2 hour mark. I was starting to freak out. 2 miles to go. ONLY 2 miles to go. Where did the miles go?! (my legs thought differently) I kicked my pace up a little. I was really tired. But I kept thinking 'pain is temporary...pain is temporary...pain is weakness...' I didn't want to have a feeling of regret, like last time. I didn't want to think I didn't push myself hard enough. I crossed mile mark #12, one mile to go, and I looked at the big ol' clock. Shit. I remember it being in the 1:50s already. Damnit, I'm not going to make it. I was dying. I was starting to lose my cool.. I felt like I had failed.. I wanted to break 1:57 so bad. At that point I wanted to cry and give up. But something inside of me just kind of took over. Whatever it was, it helped me focus on finishing. I gave it my all. I would speed up and slow a little down, and speed up again. I knew in my heart, no matter how tired I was at mile 13, I was going to sprint to the end.
I tried keeping a fast-ish pace (or so it felt at the moment). Then I saw the big 13 mile mark. I read in big numbers 1:58. I didn't care. All I knew was that I wanted to finish this strong. I might have not been prepared in the beginning. I might have screwed up. But I had a choice to really dig deep. And with the help of a running dude up ahead of me in a dark blue shirt, I made it my goal to try to beat him. I ran as fast as I could, I felt like my body had gone numb at this point.
|never underestimate a girl ;)|
I stopped my timer. 1:56. I didn't know whether to trust it or not. So I made a side note to check the results later. I didn't want to celebrate just yet, I had stopped it twice during the race due to bad GPS reception. Don't celebrate just yet Luz..
McSpeedy was waiting for me at the finish line and seeing him snapped me back to reality. It was over. So of course my body suddenly got all funky and I had no intentions of eating anything because I knew for a fact my stomach wasn't going to put up with it. I drank water, a little warm gatorade (yuck..).
Got some Jamba Juice (should've taken more;) and my medal and went to sit down with McSpeedy.
|mmmm.. Jamba Juice... *drools*|
my white flower stayed on!
I couldn't help buy a flower from Fellow Flowers the day of the expo. Such inspiring women.
|our recovery snacks. chocolate milk is amazing.|
Moment of truth.
I wasn't going to beat myself up for not PR-ing this race. The weather was just off. Too hot and humid. My mind was off. I had been day dreaming 90% of the time lol
So I checked my time. Click. and there it was.
1:56:32. ONE FIFTY SIX!!!!!
AHHH!!! I couln't believe it!!! I really couldn't. I didn't hit 1:55 by 32 seconds like I wanted to.. But that 1:56 felt so good. Just thinking if I hadn't really pushed it at the end, I wouldn't have been able to feel the way I feel now.
After a race, you might think back at things you would've changed, 'if I hadn't stopped at that last water station for so long..' blah blah blah.
But at this point, I didn't regret anything. My soreness today says it all. I really dug deep inside of me, and gave it all I could. And that's what matters :-)
Overall the race was fun and not so enjoyable because of the heat. The course was a little hilly, although I don't remembering struggling that much. and it was a nice view coming down lake shore towards McCormick. I hated the stupid tunnel at the end. With my sunglasses on, I felt completely blind. Other than that, the goodies at the end were perfect. Ice pops, Jamba Juice, chocolate milk, bagels.. and so on.
We'll meet again 13.1...
See you in September.
July 22, 2012 Rock N' Roll Chicago Half Marathon (1:56:32) ✓
Running has taught me that I can do anything
just as long as I keep putting one foot in front of the other.