Thought I’d better share this before I block it out entirely.
I was up at 4:30 to eat and go back to bed until 6. All of the previous day’s afflictions (I was sure I threw out my back, achilles was acting up, possible broken bone in my foot) had miraculously cleared.
We left our hotel at 6:30 and I was rushed to enter my seeded corral before it closed.
I sat there and hoped the urge to pee would pass.
My Garmin was wonky almost immediately because of that infamous tunnel in the first half mile.
Goal: Do what you can, try to hold it together the first half, in this heat the second half will be
murder a challenge. I well remember the pain from 2007.
Garmin continued to feed me erroneous info so I ran by feel. There were people with 3:10, 3:20, 3:30 and 3:40 pace bibs just ahead of me. Made me think I was going too fast.
5k: 27 minutes and change. Good.
By mile 6 I’m wondering how the hell I’m gonna run 20 more. I hatch a plan. I’ll bag this race, extend my taper, make this my last easy ‘long run’ then do the full in Grand Rapids next week. It’ll be 40 degrees cooler, tree shaded and glorious. Sold.
So I ran 3 more miles. At 9 I walked and called the Caveman to come and get me. No answer.
I ran another mile, walked and repeated the process. No Caveman.
I was still too far North to get to the hotel so I repeated the walk and call routine until mile 12. Still nothing.
Swearing now, I knew I’d have to make it to the Lupus Charity tent at mile 14 where we were supposed to meet for a fuel handoff. Fuel belt was empty by 10.
Finally I collapsed snivelling in the Lupus tent and announced I wasn’t continuing. Caveman goes “Are you not feeling good?”
Me: “Oh I could finish. I just don’t want to. I’ll just do the full next week when it’s cooler.”
When I saw the look on Caveman and the Lupus people’s faces I felt like a total moron. Was I really planning on letting all these people down? All the people I raised funds for? All the people who donated? Because I didn’t ‘feel like’ finishing?
So I mentally checked myself back in, swapped out my empty fuel bottles, ate some orange slices, stuffed ice down the back of my shirt and under my hat and was off to tackle the remaining, brutal 12.2 miles of unforgiving, sun-baked, concrete jungle.
From mile 15 on I could not keep my gels down. WTH?
At 17 I found the Caveman running beside me. He came to make sure I was still moving then headed to the finish line. A bank thermometer read 86 degrees.
Mile 18: People are going down around me. I’m having a hard time keeping even fluid down unless I take small, slow sips.
I smell what I imagine are carnitas in the Hispanic neighborhood. I can barely drink but carnitas sound good to me??
Finally I enter Chinatown and I can sense the end of this freakshow.
Mile 20 fuel belt is empty once again, I’m at the mercy of the water stations, which are hard-pressed to keep up. Many tables are empty and I often have to wait for water to be poured.
People are out in force with garden hoses. Heaven! Chicago fans are the best!
Mile 21: My mouth is bone dry. I have Shot Blocks but don’t dare try one. How long can I go on like this?
I saw The redhead at mile 22.5. Awesome!
Mile 24: I just want to wrap up this nightmare and am wondering if I can beat my 2007 time when I hear a guy yell “Lady in the purple you’re looking hot!” Not sure if he meant overcome by heat or cuteness but I’ll take it to mean the latter.
I scaled the Roosevelt Rd bridge, making way for yet another ambulance, turned the corner at 26 and brought it in for a pathetic finish.
Finish time: 4:41:14
What went well:
Body Glide is king. No chafing!
Scape Sunscreen performed beautifully. I was soaked and swabbing with wet towels and sponges and it still did not wear off.
Not a peep from the achilles!
Where I blew it:
I was never fully committed to this race. At the expo the day before I wasn’t entirely sure I’d run.
I gave up mentally early on.
Not sure what caused the gel issue. Blame it on the heat I guess.
In 2007 I was determined to finish. This time, I’m embarrassed to say, I simply didn’t care.
What I learned:
I need more specific goals. Just do what I can doesn’t cut it.
I am nowhere without mental toughness.