I may be slow but I did it! I finished the Chicago Distance Classic in under the 4 hour time limit (3 hours, 44 minutes and 32 seconds). I was not the slowest person on the course, nor was I the slowest person in my division. And I have my first medal!
Sunday I woke up at 3:45am so I would have plenty of time to eat breakfast and let it digest. I made a bagel with a bit of cream cheese but it made me want to gag. So I switched to oatmeal and my usual pre-run grape Gatoraid. I showered, dressed, applied the glorious goo that is Body Glide, laced up my shoes, grabbed my fuel belt and was ready to go! The boy and my mom took bikes so they could meet up with me along the route while my step-dad took a folding chair so he could sit near the finish line (he has a bad back).
I got dropped off and went to find the Team in Training tent to sign in (only we didn't need to sign in) and find an empty Port-o-Let. TNT had 3 right near their tent and the line only had a few people. MUCH nicer than the long lines at Disney. I ran into one of my team's mentors who I'd first met at the kick-off party. She had been so helpful about answering questions and she comes up and says hi at our runs (which is nice because I don't know many people there). And then I saw a woman I've run with once before. We chatted and went to get in line.
The CDC had a wave start so we had to know our pace and get to where that time was listed. There were 4 waves with about 2,500 people in each. Fastest pace groups first and then after 2+ minutes another wave would be sent out. This was so there would be no bottlenecks once the route narrowed around mile 5.
I should point out that I wasn't nervous. I kept telling myself that I'd already done 12 miles at a recent TNT Saturday run (before the taper) so I knew I could complete 13.1. And we were running along the south section of the same trailway I run each Saturday. The weather was in the low 70's and sunny, couldn't have been a nicer day. I'd eaten what I needed to and I'd gotten enough sleep. So other than the "dreaded trots" there was absolutely nothing to worry about.
When my wave started out I took off running at my normal speed. I didn't try to keep up with anyone near me because I knew I had to keep with how I trained. And I trained to finish, not to make a personal best time. The only personal best I cared about was finishing.
Anyway, other than my usual intestinal discomfort I was feeling great! I ran until my cardio or my intestines complained and then I walked fast. I took some Gu about every 45+ minutes when I spotted a water station. I swallowed a Gu (Espresso Love wins over Chocolate Outrage) before the station and then grabbed a water. A couple sips to wash the Gu down and I was off! And I have mastered the drink and walk!
I saw my folks and the boy about a half-mile into the run and then I saw my mom and the boy about 3 miles later as they biked alongside me for a few minutes. It was just me and Dresden Dolls after that. The rule was no musical electronics so I followed the rule. I was one of the few who did, many people on the course were wearing headphones. I decided I still needed music so I mentally sand along to Girl Anachronism by the Dresden Dolls.
The path twisted and turned near the 6.5 mile area before shooting us out onto the lakefront running and biking path. I'd never been on the path south of the loop before and it is really lovely there. The bad thing was the headwind. It was really blowing and slowing me down. Not sure why but I haven't had that problem north of the loop before. The boy, my mom and the boy's cousin Ali met up with me again around the 8-9 mile mark. It was nice to chat with them as I made my way along the course. I was feeling so good outside of the intestinal problems. I'd had no unusual aches or pains. I was just happy to be out there. It's funny how happy I am after we get past mile 8 in the trainings. Before 8 miles I hate running but after hitting the 8 mile mark in training I stop thinking about how I hate running. *laugh*
I met up with a TNT teammate from Columbus, Ohio around mile 11. She was ahead of me at the beginning of the race but I'd caught up with her near the end. I stopped and asked where she was from and we talked about Ohio State and Kent State and various sports teams. She was having some cramping so I decided to run alongside her just in case she needed help. My timing would be slower but I didn't want to run off and leave her alone with her pain. She laughed when I told her I'd carry her across if she needed me to.
When we weaved our way through the twisty bits of the course right before the 13 mile marker we could hear The Penguin announcing the runners. My step-dad and Ali were on either side of the course cheering me on and as I got closer to the finish I heard The Penguin saying my name and telling me my mom was looking for me. *laugh*
My teammate and I were met by two TNT coaches. The woman high-fived us and ran with us closer to the finish line. Then one of my coaches for the Chicago team joined us as we made our way to the final 100 meters. I asked my teammate if she could run and she said she'd give it a try. We started up and ran the final distance and crossed the finish line together.
So I finished the CDC in 3:44:32. Not fast at all. But since speed wasn't my goal and finishing was, I am happy. I have a medal for completing a half marathon. And I know what I need to do to raise my speed. I knew starting the race that I would finish but now I have the proof.
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