Monday, October 19, 2009

2009 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Race Report - Part III

Okay, now that I'm done being all mushy and whatnot . . . it's back to our regularly scheduled program.

Let's see. Where did we leave off? I believe Wilson and I had just crossed the finish line hand-in-hand. Cute, no? Well wait 'til you hear this next thing then. We slowed to a walk, and Wilson said to me, "I'm really proud of you." I tried my hardest to fight back the tears. On we waddled through the finishers' chute. While I had definitely been in pain during those last few miles, it was NOTHING compared to the pain I was experiencing now that we had stopped. I could hardly walk on my own. And then? The lower back spasms started. This came out of nowhere . . . shockingly, my back hadn't bothered me until the last several miles; and even then, it was pretty tame in comparison to races past. Holy effer, those spasms killed. Between the pain and the pride, I could no longer hold the tears back. The floodgates opened, and I began bawling.

Wilson did a double-take and looked back at me, concerned. "I-I-I-I'm in SO much pain!" I cried between sniffles. He slowed up, and allowed me to lean on him as we walked. I honestly thought I might throw up, I was hurting so badly. My hips. My quads. My calves. My back. Even my forearms hurt--not even kidding.* I would stop every now and then . . . because more than anything, I just wanted to lay down and die. But Wilson encouraged me to keep moving, mentioning that he'd read that any runners who stopped in the finishers' chute would be taken straight to the medic tent. I definitely didn't want that! So I prepared my response should any of the medics come up and see me bawling and unable to move. "I'm just really emotional" would be my response. Clever, eh? Haha. It seemed like it at the time anyway . . .

Wilson steered me over to the side of the chute where we were able to snag mylar blankets. I was super grateful to have one as I was starting to get REALLY chilled now that we were done running. Next we got our medals. Immediately thereafter, our chips were removed. Then, I finally managed to quit crying once I saw the mile-long tables of food. Funny how that works. The selection was pretty great and the volunteers were super generous with it. I grabbed at various items, and on multiple occasions, the volunteers insisted I take 2! My stash consisted of: a bottle of water, a banana, a whole wheat bagel, some cheesy dolphin crackers (x2), pretzels (x2) and some chocolate sandwich cookies (x2). I was really wishing I had some kind of baggie to hold it all . . . I must have been quite a sight, trying to juggle all that, whilst still keeping my mylar blanket wrapped around my shoulders and hobbling--across the finish chute--towards the side of the road. The goal was to find a spot just short of the beer table.** Somehow we made it, and Wilson spryly plopped down on the warm asphalt, as though he'd simply done a warm-up jog or something. I, on the other hand, was a hot mess.

It took me probably 3 minutes to figure out how the hell to lower myself onto the ground--my legs were that torn up. But when I finally made it down there, I was in heaven. I sat there and scarfed down a ton of my food; all the while trying to keep an eye out for A. on the off-chance she passed by us. In all honesty, though, we both figured it would probably be a while before she finished based on how she looked the last time we'd seen her (thus, the half-hour long picnic in the finish chute). Finally, Wilson decided we had eaten enough food and drank enough water to hit up the beer table. I got up (very slowly, and with a lot of assistance from Wilson), cursed and then made a beeline for that beer table. "Congratulations!" the volunteer said as she gave me my Goose Island 312. I quickly thought back to A.'s comment at the very beginning of the race and laughed.

Beers in hand, Wilson and I moved onward towards the gear check tents. I'm pretty sure my beer was 3/4 of the way gone by the time we made it the 100 yards or so up there. I was downing that thing! Ha, I looked over at Wilson's beer, and realized he had only taken a few sips of his! I'm such a lush! Whatever, I EARNED that beer! We collected our bag and I took a break from my beloved drink to change my shirt and throw on my sweats. It felt SO good to have clean, dry sweats on. I then proceeded to chug the rest of my beer and toss the cup before we even left the finish area.

Now, at the start of the race, we'd told A. to meet at the letter "Z" in the family meet-up area afterwards if we ever got separated. But try as we might, Wilson and I could NOT find the stupid family meet-up area (we probably should have studied the start/finish area map a little more diligently prior to the race). We were thinking the meet-up area would be closer to the finish chute than it was; in reality, it was right next to the beer tent (BRILLIANT!), which was a ways off from the finish area. Luckily, my mother called as we were wandering around, and agreed to come to where we were and walk us over to the family meet-up/beer tent area. Whew!

We stayed where we were, and before long, my parents came walking up. "So? How'd it go?" my mother asked (keep in mind that they never actually saw us on the course). When I told her that we'd finished in 4:34, I thought she was going to die of shock. Ha. She seemed really surprised . . . which honestly, probably stems from the fact that I kept saying the night before that I didn't think I could ever run an entire marathon without walking. Anyway, we chatted for a minute or two, until I got thirsty again and insisted we make our way over to the beer tent/family meet-up area.

We got over to the letter "Z" (situated RIGHT next to the beer tent--NICE!), and wouldn't you know, A. was already there waiting for us!! "Where the hell have you guys been?!" she asked between sips of her beer. Um, oops! Turns out, the girl had seriously rocked it out there even after her pit stop. She ended up finishing not even 15 minutes behind us (and at least 10 of those minutes had been waiting for and then using the porta-potty!). I was SO proud of her! I gave her a big, sweaty hug and then quickly excused myself to grab my free beer (yes, this makes the SECOND free beer of the day--LOVE YOU, Chicago Marathon), while she caught up with my parents.***

When I got back, A. entertained us with a story about how she'd lost the free beer ticket from her bib, but had managed to sweet talk her way into getting her free beer anyway. With her long blond hair and baby blue eyes, it was NOT a shock--but entertaining nonetheless. We stood around drinking beer and chatting until A.'s hubby showed up to pick her up. My fam walked her to the corner he was meeting her at, we said our goodbyes (pretending that we might actually have the energy to meet up later that night for another drink--riiiiiight) and then the Ertel clan headed back to the hotel so that Wilson and I could shower "quickly."

And when I say quickly, I mean VERRRRRRY slowly. I took off my clothing only to realize--per usual--that my sports bra had attempted to devour me (and yes, I HAD used Body Glide). But that wasn't even the worst part. Where the seam of my arm warmers had been at the top of my arms were HUGE gashes. Yep, my arm warmers had basically attempted to sever both of my arms.**** Awesome. The first ten minutes of my shower consisted of me screaming my head off, while attempting to clean out my gaping chafing wounds. OUCH. All I could think of was a sign I'd seen at one point along the course: "Chafe now. Brag to your friends later." Ha.

Finally, Wilson and I were ready to go. I wanted a nap SO badly . . . but not quite as badly as I wanted Gino's East deep dish pizza. And also more beer. We had to wait on line to get into the place (despite the fact that we got there a little before 4--clearly, this was the marathon crowd!), but it was SO worth it. We chowed down on bread sticks and sausage supreme deep dish pizza . . . and we washed that down with pitchers of Sam Adam's Octoberfest. Best. Meal. Ever. Suddenly, all of the pain and suffering was well worth it. And you know what's funny? I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that the pizza and beer tasted even better with the side of marathon PR. Just sayin' :)

After sufficiently gorging ourselves, my parents kindly dropped Wilson and I off at the front door of our hotel, congratulating us again. After thanking them profusely, we headed up to our room, and I immediately got into my pjs and climbed into bed. I asked Wilson whether 7:30 p.m. was too early to go to sleep, and he said yes. We turned the tv on, thinking we could distract ourselves with that. But for reals, I think I survived an hour--if that--before I finally passed out for good; of course, visions of future marathons danced in my head as I slept for the next 11 hours . . .

*We later realized the forearm thing was probably a result of my grasping my gloves for 9+ miles. Oops.
**Wilson, being the intelligent person he is, insisted that I eat some food and drink some water before consuming any alcoholic beverages. Fun? No. Smart? Yeah, fine.
***A. and I were soccer teammates growing up, and were always spending time at one anther's' houses . . . so we were pretty tight with each others' parents.
****Ever hear the saying, "don't wear anything new on race day?" Yeah, you might just want to listen to that one, folks! And btw, what works for a 4-mile easy run won't necessarily work for a 26.2-mile race. Duly noted.


Marlene said...

OHHH I bet that beer & pizza tasted DIVINE!

Ouch to the chafing.

Hope you are recovering well!

Lisa said...

Congratulations on your PR!! I loved all three parts of your race report (a long race report is just my style) You really took me through all your emotions-- on one hand I am excited to run another marathon; on the other, no way! LOL.

Your post race meal sounds yummy! I was always too tired to do a good post race meal and settled for whatever was easiest at my house. Post race beers do taste awesome, don't they?

Congrats again!!!

Marathonman101108 said...

As much as I want to comment on other things, my mind is lost on my two favorite things: pizza and beer. Thanks for such a detailed report on them. As far as everything else....ummm, I don't remember! Sorry to see you got chopped up so bad. I know that being a guy definitely has its advantages as far as not having to wear a bra! :-) Great job on your race reports. I'm so glad to read that A did so well also. Congrats for doing so well, and congratulate Wilson also. I think he's a "keeper," don't you?! I just noticed the Lance Armstrong quote at the bottom of your blog. Definitely true, and you certainly know that. Thanks again for the "it should have been obvious but wasn't to me" advice. I'm back to my schedule and kicking some "assphault." Love you, girl! :-)

lindsay said...

mmmmmmm pizzaaaa. and beer. and congrats and all that jazz too.

k, i'll admit. i was expecting a post-race proposal when you said "but wait, it gets cuter" ;) it's fine, still a rockin' race recap.

hope you have been recovering well!

Rachel said...

What a great race report! Hope you are recovering well and all the crazy spasms have ceased!

Running and living said...

I REALLY want to run Chicago, sounds like so much fun. And I completely understand the pain after. But you did SO GOOD!

Spike said...

those chocolate cookies were organic Oreos, I had six. they were so good.

also, a funny beer story...I saw three guys who had finished pretty fast, but they were just standing around and pounding beers--and the volunteers just kept giving them more. it was so funny, they could barely walk out of the finish area!

glad the race went so well for you! I love the Chicago Marathon!

Paul said...

Another great read this one. Like being there - only without the chafing and sore legs afterwards!

The Chicago Marathon sounds sooo cool. I just saw the 'Spirit of the Marathon' dvd and I must say that this race seems like a must-do at some stage.

Enjoy your recovery!

Cheers, PB :-)

B.o.B. said...

CONGRATS again girl. You rocked it and sounds like you had a blast. Lots of good bloggy stories abound from Chi-town.

mmmm beer ineed!

The Laminator said...

Wow! What a finish to race report series?! Now I understand the motivation behind all the random questions you left for me!

Congrats again on the PR and cheers to beer and pizza afterwards!

Reading your awesome race report has me really contemplating this race for next year! We'll see.

sRod said...

Reading this race report has really made me excited for NYCM!!! I love it. Thanks for sharing everything!

aron said...

sorry i am so late to this party :)

omgosh i LOVE that you guys crossed hand in hand!!! AHHHHH <3 i want to do that with chris someday :)

CONGRATS girl on an AMAZING race!!! you are so awesome and i am so glad you had such a great experience out there :) woooooo hope you are still riding that high :)