This was my first hometown marathon and kudos to the crew that put this one on – it was coordinated beautifully – a few more porta-potties at the start would have been nice, but there were plenty along the course. And, as an additional bonus, the course was flat and the weather perfect. And congratulate Matt on his first marathon And Sister Runner Amy for her 18th half marathon! It was also nice because I got to meet up with runner and old high school friend, Jeremy, who ran the first five mile with us. A pleasant bonus. And when I figure out what number marathon this is for me, I’ll add that when I update again in a few days.
The first marathon I’ve run since Chicago 2008. I can’t believe so many years have gone by since I’ve run a marathon. I was on a roll for a while – 1-2 marathons per year since 2004. Then I crapped out.
This was probably the toughest marathon I’ve ever run. It was hilly, humid, hot and windy. All my favorite things combined into one blissful marathon day. Of course, I’m sure not training and being 20 pounds overweight had a little to do with the agony. But I finished, and I was so happy that I ran a marathon I didn’t even care that it took me 5 hours and 49 minutes. There is a lot to be said for being in constant motion for that long. My favorite spectator sign during the race: “That isn’t sweat, it’s your fat cells crying.”
Mr. Thin Trade was kind enough to travel to Fort Worth and run the world’s slowest marathon with me. He would have run much faster if he had run his own race, but he was kind and stuck with me. And I’m glad he did – because my secret plan was to bail at the half.
The first half of the marathon was slow, but I felt really good. I felt even better at mile 16.5 when we approached a kind spectator’s smorgasbord of bananas, power bars, fruit snacks and beer. I often see people handing out beer to runners along the course, but this was the first time I actually partook – and I have to say, that was the most refreshing beer I’ve ever had. And I enjoyed another somewhere around the 20-mile range as well. It kept me going until the end. Proof:
This was the first marathon I’ve ever run that I didn’t end up with chafing all over my body. I’m attributing this to the near full stick of body glide I applied that morning. The only place I missed gliding I ended up with a mighty blood blister. And, oddly, I didn’t even know I had it until I took my shoes off when we got home.
Of course, you know what is coming up now. Pretty, eh?
The finisher shirt and medal were pretty cool too. I think the medal might also be a weapon?!?
But it wasn’t all running. There were plenty of social excursions over the weekend. The Modern, The Kimball, The Japanese Botanical Gardens, The 6th Floor Museum, the wine, the beer, the food and my pyromaniac Chef’s campfire. A full and fun weekend.
Half’s are great, but nothing compares to the feeling of finishing 26.2 miles. I’d do it all again, I miss marathons. But I think I’d like to put in a few more miles of training before I do.
And in case you are wondering, running a marathon is a lot easier than fighting gas.
My Grandmother died on January 26th – almost two weeks after I arrived in Indiana to be with her. Watching her die was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but it was an honor to with her until the end. Rest in peace, Grandma. I will miss you.
It was terribly cold and snowy in Indiana. I was away from my family and home for over two weeks; two weeks doesn’t seem like long until you are away from your family and home. In the snow. And single degree temperature cold. Sitting in a hospital room nearly 24-hours a day. Missing marathon workouts and eating Midwestern-style food – you know the tasty kind of food that is full of starch and fat that makes your heart sing sweet lullabies to your cardiologist? And then deposits six pounds of blubber or back side while you aren’t looking.
Then, when you come home to Texas. Warm, warm Texas. It snows. And ices. And you are trapped inside the house for another week because sunny and warm Texas isn’t equipped for snow and ice. At least this time had my family with me. And my treadmill.
I’ve lost 4.8 of those 6 pounds. Now, I only have 15.2 more to go. I call that additional 15.2 pounds, my gas fat. That is what I’ve gained since fighting the gas drilling development in our community. It isn’t pretty, but somebody had to gain it. It’s a sacrifice I made for the good of all humankind. You can thank me later. Then buy me a bikini when I take over the world.
Now. Let’s get back to business. Nearly three weeks of Cowtown training and three crucial long runs went bye-bye. I can’t make up for that loss, so I’m picking up where I left off. We will see what happens.
In the meantime, while we yearn for warmth and open-toed shoe season, take a look at what Runner Shoesan purchased. Yeah, they’re tall, but how else do you expect me to keep up with Kenza?
I can’t wear socks with my Vibrams and 19F is too cold for sockless. So I’ve decided to wear my Frees to finish training for Cowtown . . . and this is what I get for running my ten miles in shoes. Looks like I have some toughening up to do.
Reminds me of the good days when I was training for more than one marathon a year. Maybe I should do that again sometime – like in 2011.
Thanks to all of you for your support and encouraging words. I love you guys.
Things don’t always turn out as planned. It was hot in Chicago. So what. I have more marathons to reach my goal and I’m sure there will be other obstacles with those marathons as well. And I’m sure I’ll be a whiny baby again when I don’t meet those goals, but it’s okay, I’ll cry again and I’ll recover. That’s why we blog. Well, that’s why I blog.
But guess what? Training works. Go figure? I trained harder for this marathon than any other. I did the running, I lifted weights, I did plyometric exercises, I strengthened my core and my arms, I did speed work, I stretched, and I hydrated. No excuses, I did it. And those damn plate runners, too. (I’m sending off autographed Runner Susan plates to anyone interested, just shoot me an email)
I’m sure there are many things I could have done better or differently – but for the first time, I can honestly say, I tried my hardest. And while I didn’t reach my marathon goal time, I can see and feel the results of my labor. Okay, so I didn’t lose any weight (boo), but for once I can SEE results and I feel I am in the best shape of my life. Which is more than I’ve ever been able to say in the past. (Anyone who has not seen the buffiness of my arms, click here and call me a loser)
So my body isn’t built to run super-fast marathons, and I may never reach my goal of qualifying for Boston. But I will run a 4:30 marathon some day, that I’m sure of. (With a lot more speed-work and a few 5k and half-mara PRs along the way.)
I started my training back up today with a nice, easy bike ride. Oh, and lookey here . . . my second crash. Well, actually, it was more of a fall-over than a crash, but hey, doesn’t that make me a professional now? I think I might need stitches, or a tourniquet or maybe a leech. But for now, I’ll have to settle for a band-aid.
Note to self: don’t answer cell phone while driving bike.
And I think it’s just an honest fact that until we clean up our planet, I’m going run crappy 5-hour marathons. Can someone pinpoint a date for me on when that’s going to happen? Because it would be nice if it were during my lifetime. Anyhow, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Seriously, how could it be this hot in Chicago two years in a row?
The short version: It was hot. That pissed me off. I died at mile 15. Then I cried.
Now I’m okay with things. You can stop here if you like because an extremely long and unnecessarily detailed version is up next. And basically, it says the same thing. (Click on pictures to make them bigger)
This was such a long trip. Michael and I left Tuesday before the marathon. Our plan was to stop and visit and many family members and friends as we could along the way there and on the way home to rack up as many brownie points as possible.
Tuesday we arrived in Little Rock and met up with Michael’s college buddy and his wife to have dinner and watch my friend Obama kick some serious ass during the debate. That was fun. Michael rode in Arkansas and the next morning and I got my final 3-mile run in and then we drove to Memphis and had dinner with our cycling friend/financial adviser. The next morning Michael rode and I took it easy before we drove to Champagne, IL. Michael rode the Friday morning and we headed into Chicago. We had a great hotel on Printer’s Row downtown only a few blocks from the start and finish line. Really, it was the perfect hotel location for the race.
Immediately after checking into the hotel we met up with Michael’s sister-in-law and some cousins and had lunch. Then we headed for the expo. I wish I had pictures, but I don’t. It was well organized but the school bus ride there was hot, and by the time we arrived at the expo I was having anxiety hot flashes. I picked up the essentials and headed back to the bus. (FYI – Those hot flashes didn’t end until we checked out of our hotel on Monday morning)
Friday night was fun. We went to a great steak restaurant and then to a fabulous jazz bar. It was so relaxing. A few glasses of wine and a few martinis was just what we needed after FOUR DAYS of driving and visiting.
Michael got up early on Saturday and headed over to Lake Shore to ride. (thanks psimet) I was a little freaked out when I saw him ride his bike through traffic down Michigan Avenue – luckily is was a Saturday and traffic wasn’t that bad, but I halfway expected him to die along the way – call me paranoid, but Chicago drivers are crazy. By the time he got home and cleaned up it was time for lunch. I was starving. We walked over to a nice bar and grill and had a wonderful lunch.
Our plan was to meet up with David and Mrs. T. at the Art Institute, but I was still so tired from the drive and Michael enticed me back to the hotel for a nap and a massage. I ended up sleeping for two hours. And it was wonderful. After the nap we got ready for our pre-race dinner with David, Mrs. T. and the Schneiders. It was a fabulous restaurant with wonderful company. We planned out race morning meet-up and everyone was excited. I was so prepared for a 4:30 – 4:40 marathon I could taste it. David even brought a detailed marathon chart of all his marathons pinpointing all his strengths and weaknesses by mile. I was impressed. The only thing I could think of was “Why haven’t I done this before?” – Note to self: get new Garmin before next race.
Race morning David met Michael and I at our hotel and we walked down to the start line checked our bags and took a few photos and a video. There is a whole big long phone story here that I could go into details about, but basically I carried a different phone and let Michael keep my iPhone instead of checking it with my bag. My mistake.
It was hot at the start line – already high 60s or low 70s. I checked the weather before I left the hotel and it said the high for the day was going to be in the low 80s. I figured it would wait until later in the day to get hot. We got to the start line and chatted with a few folks before the start. I hopped a fence to pee and cure my nervous bladder. It wasn’t 20 minutes or so before we crossed the start line – much better than New York, but elbow-to-elbow runners, which it stayed that way until the finish.
David and I ran a respectable first half – right on target around 10:30s – 10:40s, but I could feel the heat getting to me. I was dying slowly. We saw Michael and my sister’s family a little after the half. It was nice to see them and I passed off the phone I was carrying because it was getting soaked. Chicago was well prepared for the heat this year and volunteers were spraying runners with hoses left and right. Whether you wanted it or not.
David was kind enough to carry my baggie of race supplies and at mile 14 I knew I needed to get it back because I didn’t want to hold him up – he was running a great race and I was slowing up. That made me sad, because I really didn’t want to run alone. We stayed together for another few miles and then it all started to fall apart – the same heat related fatigue that I’m so familiar with here in Texas. You would think training in Texas would prepare me for the heat. But obviously, NOT. My back was achy, but surprisingly was never a problem.
I started walking a lot around mile 18. My ipod died because it was filled with water. Around mile 20 volunteers with megaphones were blasting “we are now in a CODE RED” “CODE RED”. Which meant it was officially over 80 degrees. I saw sign somewhere that flashed 89 degrees, but I doubt it was that hot, although the megaphone people kept saying it was 92 degrees on the pavement. Yeah, I’m still not sure what that means. Was the pavement 92 degrees or were the runners 92 degrees because we were on the pavement? Either way there was no breeze and my clothes were so wet and steamy hot it felt like someone had microwaved them while I was wearing them.
I finished, official time 5:10:58. This was the first marathon I ever considered DNFing. I’m glad I didn’t but I was sad, I trained so hard. As I walked through the shoot a volunteer handed me a mylar blanket to warm me up. Um, okay. Why? I didn’t want one. I didn’t need one. I found my way to the bag pick up and looked for David. I really wanted a post race picture. I looked some more, but since I didn’t have a phone I couldn’t call him. I figured he left to meet Mrs. T since he finished so far ahead me. I headed back to the hotel and I was just sad. I trained so hard. It wasn’t my fault it was hot, it wasn’t Chicago’s fault it was hot. It was just hot which is why I’m blaming too much global warming.
When I got back to the hotel I cried on Michael’s shoulder a while. Told him I was never ever going to run another marathon again. He rolled his eyes, and said okay. He knows me. Then I decided that I was not going to let this get me down because I had an anniversary to celebrate. And boy, did we celebrate. I figured if Katie could wear heels after her marathon, so could I. And you don’t get calves like that from sitting on your booty all day long.
We checked out of the hotel the next morning and headed to Lafayette, IN where we had lunch with my sister and he kids (AKA: my cheering section). We then drove to Indianapolis where Michael rode and we visited with my parents and then to dinner with them and my brother and one of his kids, little Lucy. (Don’t mess with me or my brother will beat you up!)
I didn’t feel so good during dinner. I thought it was just travel fatigue. After dinner we took dessert over to visit my nearly 90-year-old Grandma and I ended up spending the next 30 minutes lying on her bathroom floor vomiting. Yeah, I don’t know what the deal was there. My Grandma blamed that “foreign food” spaghetti. We were supposed to make one more stop in Arkansas on the way home, but I was so tired and I just wanted to sleep in my bed. We drove 15 hours straight through till we made it home. It was a busy eight days.
Now I’m home, I don’t feel so horrible about my time. I’ve been reading other people’s blogs and it seems the heat was a factor for everyone (except David who ran really fast anyhow), even though it was not as hot as Chicago’s marathon last year. It was well organized, and the volunteers were spectacular.
I lot of things happened while training and running this marathon. I worked hard and I’m in the best shape of my life. (thanks Cindy) I’ve learned cross-training and weight-lifting are good. I also learned that I’m a pretty good sprinter (thanks Ewen) and it might suit me well to actually train for some shorter races. I may never qualify for Boston, my body just isn’t meant to do so, but I also know that somewhere in me, if I still work hard, is a 4:30 marathon. I just need the right conditions for it to pop up. I can guarantee you this, my next marathon will be low key and not with 40,000 other runners.
I’m just not sure what to do now. I’m running a half marathon in a few weeks, which I totally plan on rocking. But I just don’t know about another marathon. Whiterock is around the corner and Austin is whispering to me, but I’ve yet to make any decisions. How about you David?
*Grammar, spelling, sentence structure, cohesiveness or punctuation doesn’t count on race reports – at all and ever and you can’t use it against me.