|Matt, me, Julie|
|Naomi showing her team spirit!|
|Coaches Barbara & Kim|
Mentors Jen & Naomi
I had nightmares about the race all night. I dreamt about everything from getting lost, falling/injuring myself, to completely missing the race. I woke up with sore shins but hoped that as I walked around to get ready that the achiness would go away, and it did, mostly. We took a few team photos in the lobby before we boarded the shuttle bus to head to the South Shore Cultural Center.
|That's @JasonKVD in the black|
baseball hat behind me!
They were releasing corrals at a pretty quick interval. The race began at 7 am and they were sending my corral out at 7:23 am. I didn't think this was so bad considering some of the Chicago races I've done have left me standing there for over an hour! When we took off I couldn't even see the people from the corral in front of us and since I had lined up at the very front of my corral and I felt like I was in first place for awhile!
|Passed Dan, Bob and Sheri @ Mile 3!|
Mile 2: 9:20
Mile 3: 9:49
Mile 4: 9:44
I saw these splits as they ticked off on my watch and knew that I needed to slow down because I don't normally run long distances at that pace. I'd caught up to the 2:20 pacer and passed her still hoping for my 2:10 finish time. The sun was beating down on us and I was sweating. A lot. I grabbed water from the aid stations when I passed and drank a little from my water bottle in between but I was still super hot.
Mile 5: 10:10
Mile 6: 10:46
At this point I found Coach Mark along the course and stopped to walk. My legs were burning and I took some chews and more water. We walked and talked for a little bit and I told him that my legs were hurting and he told me that I needed to take it easy if I was hurting because it was a lot warmer out than it had been while we were training. I tried to keep that in mind as I started running again. By the way, thanks for the pep talk Coach Mark!
I met up with Coach Kimberly shortly after that and we walked and talked a little while too. She got me through a water station where I refilled my water bottle, used the emergency Nuun tablet I'd stashed in my fuel belt before heading to the turn around. I really thought I was ready to run again when suddenly my left calf started to cramp up. I practically jumped off the path and hit the grass. Coach Bill was nearby and came to help stretch it out. I've never had cramps like this (thank goodness) and I was happy for any help! Thanks Coaches Bill, Kimberly and Ann (who is the Team Challenge Illinois coach for the Nashville race and came out to cheer us on) for taking care of me.
After he massaged the knot out of my calf we got back on the path. My watch got a little messed up around this time so I don't have mile by mile splits for the rest of the race. Bill and I started out walking and he told me that walking might be best for me to prevent the cramp from coming back. I tried to run a little bit when I could and could sometimes manage a half mile or so. I caught up with the 2:20 pacer again, and foolishly enough I passed her, again.
|Coach Paul from Texas|
I explained to Coach Barbara about my legs and we tried to run but every time we tried my calves kept spasming. I was frustrated and angry that this was happening but Coach B tried to keep my mind off of talking about other things. We finally passed another water stop and I grabbed a couple more cups of Gatorade. I knew I wanted to finish this race running, even if I spent so much of it walking, and I figured the extra electrolytes would help. When we were about a half mile from the finish Coach B told me to suck it up because I needed to run. She was absolutely right and even though it hurt I ran. It wasn't fast but I was running.
I saw Julie again! I saw Michael (we trained together this season) running with Coach Kimberly! Finally I saw the finish! Coach B grabbed my hand we crossed holding hands. I grabbed a bottle of water and drank nearly all of it immediately. Thankfully, Coach B grabbed a medal and hung it around my neck cause I was too focused on the food/drink to worry about it!
My official finish time: 2:47:58
Obviously this wasn't even close to any of my time goals but I continue to learn things about me and my running:
- This is only my third half marathon and I've really only been running for a year AND
- I won't PR every race so I have to accept that some aren't going to go my way
- I need to figure out better hydration strategies because dehydration has caused me problems on two races (Las Vegas and Chicago) AND
- I love the support that I get on the course when wearing my Team Challenge singlet
But most importantly, Crohn's and Colitis don't give up when they get tired or have cramps or get dehydrated so I won't either. In fact, as we left the last water stop I told Coach Barbara that the fact that I was walking meant I was absolutely doing another Team Challenge race! The only question is where I want to run next... Stay tuned!