Sorry for the delay in my race report, I am at a loss for how to describe what transpired at the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon (LBCM) this year. If you did not hear yet, it was HOT. The race was even cancelled 4 hours into it.
Of course, IF I had been on target for my goal, the closing of the race would not have been an issue for me. I was not, however. Unfortunately, my lack of performance was evident right from the start.
The starting line was amazing. I had wondered what 45,000 people would look like. It was so vast that I couldn’t see to the beginning of the start. It was HUGE.
As we stood and waited for the start, sweat was already running down my body. I’d nearly drained one of the bottles in my fuelbelt. But, I tried to convince myself that the heat would not affect me. I held onto Coach’s last words to me. I was ready.
As I passed the mile markers, it was clear that Garminia’s measurements were not in synch with the course measurements. If she was right, I would, at that point, be closer to my goal than I was. The streets were lined with spectators who were all cheering loudly. It was amazing. At the same time, the field of runners stayed heavy the entire way.
I hit the port-a-potties at mile 6. I had known a couple of miles back that my goal would not be achieved. A 10K split that was over 1 hour was evidence of this fact.
It was time to adjust to plan B, running conservatively and using the race as a training. I even toyed with the idea of a DNF (do not finish), but thought better of it due to the sacrifices that the family had made to support me this weekend. I would go the distance.
As the distance wore on, it was harder to want to keep going. The crowds weren’t as encouraging to me anymore – even though they stuck with it throughout. I felt sorry that they had to suffer too. The heat was brutal.
At the aid stations, in spite of the volunteer’s vigorous efforts, the cups weren’t being filled fast enough. I took the time to get a cup of gatorade and a cup of water at each station. Towards the later miles, this was increased too. I am so sorry to read that many who were behind me did not get any. I had no idea. I swear that I didn’t use it to dump over my head though – I drank every drop.
Along the course there were areas where people had their hoses out to offer the runners a spray. I was already dripping wet with sweat from my hat to my shoes. I enjoyed a few good sprays to my face to wash the sweat off. I even picked up a dropped wash cloth to wipe the sweat out of my eyes periodically. There were even a couple of fire hydrants that were cracked open to provide the perfect amount of water to run through.
I was at mile 22 when the announcement was made, “The race course is now closed. Go to the nearest aid station to be transported back to the start.” What?! Realizing that, miles back, I had considered dropping out but now I was set on finishing.
I called the family, who had missed me at mile 13 due to the 9:40 am train having to push the 7:40 am train into the city. They were waiting at the finish. I told them to go back to the hotel and wait there for me. There was no sense in us all suffering.
I continued on, running and trying to slowly weave through a sea of people who were now mostly walking. I wanted off the course but I had come too far to quit now. I was not leaving without my medal. I also reasoned that the wait for a ride would be longer than plugging along.
A couple of miles later the 1st, of many, helicopters flew overhead. “The race is now over. For your safety, we ask that you STOP RUNNING,” they announced. Reluctantly, I walked. If felt like a scene from a movie – like after a holocast or other disaster. It also *hurt* to walk. After about a mile of walking, I began an easy jog. It felt better both physically and mentally.
Finally, I was cresting the hill (an overpass) at mile 26. I never welcomed a hill more. The finish was now in sight. It was still lined with cheering spectators. UNofficially (since the race was actually “cancelled” hour 4), 4:47:07 but safe and injury-free.