Friday, October 16, 2015

Post-2015 Chicago Marathon: I am a marathoner

Did part 2 leave you hanging?

I crossed that finish line and became a marathoner.  Holy cow.  It happened and somehow my brain was still planning out my next run interval.

I continued walking through the chute, grabbing water, snacks, my space blanket, and most importantly, my finisher medal.  This year's design featured Chicago's Cloud Gate, or better known as "The Bean".

The chute itself is about a half mile long and my first chance for escape is at Congress Parkway.  I weaved throughout the barricades and met up with my cheer team.

Cheer Team: John, Carolyn, Michele, and Geoff
(plus Stacey, Will, Monica, Ashley, and Jacque)

We returned to the American Cancer Society race resort to grab my belongings, get stretched out, and eat some snacks.  It was a fabulous experience and I'm super happy to have had all of those amenities and services available to me (food buffet and stretching tables within 10 feet of each other? Yes please!)

After hanging out for half an hour, we headed back to the hotel where I immediately prepared myself for an ice bath (thanks for the extra ice, Carolyn).  Real ice guys, not just cold water.  I've done this before but this ice bath was just a little extra special.  I laughed hysterically for a solid minute.

We decided to quickly head out for a post-marathon party before my legs had a chance to realize what was going on.  Donning my official "Finisher" zip up and medal, John and I headed out for Marina City to celebrate (aka crash) a fellow marathoner's party.  I'm so happy to have grown closer to Maureen and her mom, Donna, who have been fabulous supporters.

And how did my huge adventure end?  With a burger from Shake Shack and the season premiere of The Walking Dead!

* . * . *

In the days after...

It took several hours for me to be happy with my accomplishment.  I still don't quite believe it now as I am typing this recap.  A piece of me is wildly disappointed because if my legs didn't cramp, I could have run a lot more, run a lot faster.  The other piece of me, however, is saying "who cares?".  The ending temperature was nearly 80 degrees and there wasn't a single cloud in the sky.  I was given a problem at mile 15 and instead of quitting, I pulled myself through those last 11 miles.  Guys, for the slower-than-average runner, that's more than 2 hours of constantly re-evaluating my legs - 2 hours in addition to the 3 hours I already ran.  The mental strength built from training over the last 5 months is what didn't allow me to quit, the passion for who I was running for is what helped me put one foot in front of the other.

So what's next?  I haven't run yet but am looking forward to my first attempt Saturday morning.  I'm also happy to say that I will volunteer by pacing for Winter Warriors, a 12-week training program for 10k-ers and half marathoners.  And who knows, maybe a marathon next fall!

"When you cross that finish line, a medal will be put around your neck.  From that point on, you are a marathoner and no one can ever take that away."  
-Dave Zimmer, Fleet Feet Sports

Sweet victory.  Here's to you, Bob!

1 comment:

  1. Nice race recap! Loved all the pictures from the course. I also had a wicked horrible ice bath, but I feel like it really helps!