If you want the short version, please click here.
For those of you willing to suffer the long version, here you go.
On Friday I met up with Redhead (her cuz and cuz’s boyfriend) and BoB. We briefly hung out before they had to head back home. But I have to say, the short time we spent at the expo was fabulous. I mean, those FL girls rock!
Next I went and signed up with Nike’s 3:10 B corral pace team, and promptly dropped a few Benjamins at the Nike expo store. Then I headed over to the Asics store and proceeded to tell them how much I love their shoes-and bought a sweet green and white long sleeve running shirt that says “26.2 To Hell and Back!” I also picked me up a bad-a—and free—set of red wristbands. I capped off Friday night with some excellent Mexican from Uncle Julio’s.*
Saturday I returned to the expo (but too late to meet up with Irish Cream and Tom from Runner’s Lounge—sorry!!!), but was able to meet up with Frayed Laces. It was so awesome to meet all of my fellow bloggers. You are real people, and you are just as cool in person as you are on your blog!
I awoke at 5:15, with the goal of being down at the race at 6:00am.** Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans (at least the weather was working for me—as every prior marathon had temps that reached at least the high 60s—Sunday was low 40s). The main reason for the delay was a Gatorade bottle. Stupid Gatorade bottle. I had left it in my car, and left my cuz’s pad to go get it. When I returned I noticed that the door had locked behind me. Oh, and she lives on the third floor. So I knocked, and knocked, and knocked. But to no avail, she didn’t hear me. Thus, I was left with no other option but to use my super Ninja skills to climb a chain link fence, stand upright on it, and then jump three feet to the second floor balcony. From there I could use the steps to her floor. And of course, as I’m about to leap I’m thinking: “Spike race report: injured falling off of fence!” This little adventure set us back 20 minutes. But, I managed not to break my neck or twist an ankle, so that is good vary good start.
Then came the next pre-race screw up. Although I have never told you about this, I use to put my Gus in my shorts before I started stretching. Then one race a Gu packet exploded when I plopped down to stretch. Thereafter, I stopped putting Gu in my shorts before I stretched.
I tell you this because in my hurry to strip down to my racing outfit and get my stuff to the gear check before it closed, I forgot to put the Gus in. I notice this after I was forced to climb up and then jump over another chain link fence to get into the seated start corral. The seated corral guards had caused a huge backup because they were talking too long to get people in.
About five minutes before race and I’m thinking, “no Gu? How will I survive?” I dug deep and found my inner Zen runner, then decided I wouldn’t worry because I’d grab the Gu offered on the course—I’d just deal. I’m a big boy, I can deal.
I was in corral B, and lined up behind the 3:10 B pace team. My plan was to sit on them for the first 20 or 22 miles, then leave them to ensure a BQ. In all honestly, I don’t even know why I make race plans—I never follow them.
What I ended up doing is running ahead of the 3:10 B team and catching up with the 3:10 A pace team around mile 5. At that point I was about 1:00 ahead of a 3:10 pace. My new plan was to just ride with the A team the remainder of the way.
And this plan I was following pretty well. The crowds were great, loud and supportive. Big moments in the race this year was blowing past the water station where I collided with a runner last year and injured myself; passing mile 15, where I had to stop and begin my walk/slow jog to the finish last year; and running through Pilsen—where the crowd was beyond amazing. But most significant was seeing my Cuz and her family cheer me on around mile 5 and 11. Their enthusiasm and encouragement was of tremendous value.
I was surprised at how quickly we turned North on Michigan Ave at around mile 23.3. What I was even more surprised to feel was the twinge of my calves. A runner darted in front of me as we rounded the corner and I had to hop a bit to avoid him. It was when I landed that they started screaming. The same scream I’ve suffered in previous marathons. The same scream that ended an amazing race in Bayshore at mile 20.
I quickly looked at my watch and noted I was still 1:00 ahead of pace, so I pulled off and stretched them out for about 20 seconds. I just kept saying positive things like ‘run relaxed’ and ‘not this time.’ I only threatened them once. And they remained calm. Shortly thereafter I found myself right behind the 3:10 A pacers again.
At mile 25.2 (marked by a wonderful sign) I started my “Boston” chant. And several feet from the finish line, when I was sure a BQ was going to happen, I may have stopped and posed for the crowd.
I then crossed and experienced the joy of a great race. And the joy of a BQ.
I met up with the Redhead, BoB, and a few others to soak up the joy of finishing a marathon. I also consumed a total of 20 Girl Scout cookies after the race. Man life is good.
So, congrats to the Redhead for finishing her first marathon, and special thanks to BoB for making a wonderful sign “Don’t Poop Spike!” Don’t worry, I didn’t during the race.
Also, congrts go to Sun Runner, who just set a new PR in the half!
* In case you are wondering what I ate on the ever important day before the marathon, I had Pop-Tarts, yogurt, and a banana for breakfast, pepperoni and mushroom pizza for lunch, and pasta for dinner at this amazing place. Note: I did have Taco Bell on Friday—as it was Taco Bell Friday.
** For race morning breakfast, I had Pop-Tarts, yogurt, and one and a half bananas.