Monday, October 10, 2011

The Chicago Marathon, The Captain, and Me on Monday

I'm going to preclude this blog entry by saying it's Monday - the day after my second 26.2 mile run through the once again blazing hot, sunny streets of Chicago. I've got an ice pack on my left knee. There is a weird weezing sound piping out my still stuffed up respiratory system. My second toes are pulsing with pain and ready to lose their nails. The walk, or should I say waddle, down the Mendoza staircase and into Giovanni A today wasn't quite as graceful as I remember it to during my days as a business student. The rubbing and punching of my quads throughout our case presentation was probably not the best look for a wanna be astute, composed visiting educator. And those last 6 miles are still fresh, very fresh, in my mind.

Tonight, I'm saying it. I will never run a marathon again.

Tomorrow, I'll deny that statement. (That's why I wrote it this year.)

Somewhere in between now and then, I'll rationalize the negatives away. It wasn't that bad. What pain? There was never really a toenail there to begin with. I can do better. I can shave off seven minutes and qualify for Boston. (Despite my inside cold and the outside heat, it kills me that I didn't.) AND how am I going to help recruit Team RMHC 2012 without being an active, running member of it?

In the meantime, I'll reminisce about where I've been in the past 48 hours with pictures.
I trained, and ate, and carbo loaded right - complete with pumpkin bread pudding on Friday night.
I embraced the game day atmosphere that lit up Chicago
I didn't get stressed out that I wasn't winning. I let the Kenyans make their magic.
I ran for the right reason - for Ronald McDonald House Charities.
I had THE most amazing fans at miles 3, 6, 14, 15, 17, 22, and 25. And I ran over to thank them.
... and shock them with my sweaty stench.
I loved being at the post tent party and took advantage of all the athlete services.
And I got another photo with Ronald.
But ... because I feel like I don't have that first timers glow - that fresh perspective on a Marathon that made what I wrote last year so fun, I thought I would turn the page over to a guest blogger with a better story. I wanted one of my fellow Team RMHC teammates to tell her story. She is not only a teammate though, she is my cousin, my friend, my bridesmaid, one of my heroes and one of my inspirations. A woman who never ceases to totally amaze me. She is Captain Meghan Cumpston.
That's her. (From her shirt, you can see she's running for the right reason too.)
And that's her. Running like a champ.
And these are the hysterical words describing her 26.2 mile tour that she wrote to me this morning. I just loved them, and I had to share. 

Mile 1:  This isn't too bad!  Nice, slow, Chicago has nice architecture.  I should definitely come back sometime when there isn't a marathon involved.  Dear Garmin, you need to get your sh*t together, I know that I'm not running a 6:25 pace right now...nothing convinces my watch otherwise.

Mile 4:  A bit less than 1/6 of the way there!  Oh wait...that actually doesn't make me feel better.  Darn.  What does make me feel better?  The guy holding a sign that says "You are all great at exercise."  Garmin has settled down for the long haul.  I high-five people, smiling.  I am enjoying myself, it's a beautiful day.

Mile 6:  Hmm, I've had to pee since this thing started.  But I hate Port-a-Potties.  And the lines.  And stopping during a long run.  Wait, I know...if I have to pee, then obviously I can't be dehydrated.  I'll use this as a gauge to see if I need to drink more fluids.  Yes, the marathon has allowed me to add "amateur doctor" to my resume.

Miles 8-9:  Rihanna and Eminem songs were good choices (pats self on back for the obviously brilliant running playlist.)  Oh, a good T-shirt:  "Please God, let someone be behind me to read this"...written on the back.  I snicker, then remind myself not to waste energy on laughing, especially since I'm behind her.  Reading it.

Mile 13.1:  Halfway!  Just saw Peter and Uncle Don.  Also just saw a really heavy girl pass me...WTF?  I know I didn't train much, but how is she moving THAT much faster than me?  Remind myself what Charles wrote in one of his emails: "Run your own race."  Solid advice that I continue to repeat to myself lest my competitive side get the best of me, causing me to go down in flames circa mile 17.

Mile 14:  Started editing my snarky comments about other runners when I realize they might be thinking that about me as I pass them.  Oops.  See a girl wearing a shirt that says "PLEASE, Girl.  My mascara runs faster than you."  Hmm, kind of mean, but I can appreciate the Nike-brand humor.

Mile 16:  Well, this is the farthest I've ever run.  See a sign:  "The last ten miles is all downhill."  Not encouraging.  At all.  Also, where am I?  The blacktop roads seem to radiate heat...probably because they are, in fact, radiating heat.  Remind myself that Alexander the Great created an empire by making his troops put one foot in front of the other, all the way to India.  Later, I will realize what an incoherent thought that is.  I press on.

Mile 19:  Starting to slow down.  I tell myself just to make it to Mile 20, then I can walk.  I make it to mile 20, and, frightened of how much I will slow down, keep running.  

Mile 21:  Feel genuinely sorry for in having the verbatim thought "I feel sorry for myself."  Remind myself that I have no one to blame for this but myself. Still, I start a soccer mom power walk.  Still maintaining a 13:30 mile.

Mile 23:  What is wrong with my feet?  Is it possible for the entire bottom to burn off while cramping?  And why does it feel like there is some sort of weird bubble coming out of my knee?  I start wondering if the marathon will literally cause my body to fall apart.  I am NOT quitting with only 3 miles to go. 

Mile 24.2:  All I have left is the equivalent of an Army PT test.  I've done those hundreds of times.  Must finish!

Mile 25:  I try to tell people along the edge of the route that it's my first marathon and they should cheer for me.  Unfortunately, my voice now resembles some sort of braying donkey.  While my message is probably not effective, I do get a few cheers.

Mile 26:  WHERE IS THE FINISH LINE?'s up that hill.  Sweet.  I'm back to running, if only to get it over with faster.

Mile 26.2:  So.  Freakin'.  Happy.  Borderline emotional when they give me my medal.  I scamper away from the people with the odd foil warmer things.  It's 82 degrees out, I'm plenty warm, thanks.  Briefly consider hugging the girl who is handing out ice cold towels, but realize I'm coated in a mixture of Gatorade, water, sweat, and Chicago hose water.  I decide she would not appreciate it, and try to make my way to Charity Village.

Unfortunately I never made it quite that far, because of my hotel check out time--a shame, cause I hear I missed a great party.  Lesson learned:  When running a marathon, stay the night after the marathon too.

Here's what I'm thinking - she didn't get a chance to go the pasta dinner party before the race OR the tent extravaganza after the race. I think we BOTH might have to run it again next year, and perhaps recruit two more? Takers?



  1. Love it. Especially that guest blogger of yours. Don't forget you already signed up for another marathon in May :)

  2. Shhh ... no one needs to know ; )

  3. Guest Blogger may actually train next time...says Guest Blogger.