Last Thursday was my 26th birthday. It started with breakfast with Katherine (and Mickey, Pluto, Lilo, and Stitch!) at O'Hana's. Then, we hit Downtown Disney for a little bit of shopping before I had to come back and finish packing before my flight. (It's practically a birthday tradition to hit Downtown Disney!)
I flew up to Indiana to spend the rest of my birthday with family. I haven't spend my actual birthday in my hometown since 2006. My mom, sister, and I went out for dinner and drinks (only for my mom and I), then my brother and his fiancee went to get appetizers with us later that night. Yes, appetizers post dinner. That is, by the way, what began my terrible pre-race eating. Bad choices all around.
Friday, I had lots of appointments. I finally met my baby cousin, Wyatt, who is now five months old! That was fun. Then, we had a big birthday party for me. Super fun! I haven't had a big family gathering like that in a very long time. I got to see almost all of my favorite people in one place at one time. So yay for that! I got lots of well wishes for my race.
Saturday morning, it was time to head to Chicago. My nerves were going insane the entire drive. I slept off and on and felt nervous for the rest of the time. I felt like the drive took no time at all and all of a sudden, we were at the expo. Major freak out. I was nervous and anxious and feeling unprepared for the race. I sucked it up and we went and expo-ed for a while. I'd have to say that Chicago is the coolest race expo that I have been to so far. I bought some new shoes and a t-shirt... and some energy gels (because I need them!). We walked around for a while and looked at things. It was truthfully very very fun.
When we finally decided that it was time to leave the expo, we went to my mom's friend/my godmother's house to spend the night. We sat up chatting for a little while, ate some more birthday cake (!), then got everything together for the race. I was so amazed that it was almost time to run Chicago. I couldn't believe it. I'd put so much into training for the race and it was here. I didn't sleep well at all. I've never been so nervous before a race in my life.
Finally, it was time to start and things really started moving. When we crossed the start line, I half expected that my mom and I would stay together for a little bit. I turned around after a few minutes and she wasn't there. That was okay though. I felt really strong for the first several miles of the race. I ran my first 5k split at at a 12:33 pace (That's almost a 5k PR for me). My 10k was 14: 02 pace (I stopped for the bathroom right before the 10k mark.) and my 15k was 13:23. I felt SO good for my first half of the race. I actually felt really good until about mile 17.
Then I ran out of gas. Hit the wall. Whatever.
I walked several miles after that and kept beating myself up about it. I was exhausted and sick (did I mention that yet? I've been sick for about two weeks now. Awful.), but I kept pushing forward. It eventually hit me that I wasn't going to run a 6 hour marathon. Then I slowed down more.
I finished in 6:31:45. I'm disappointed. I know that if I hadn't gone so fast out of the gate, I would not have run out of gas and I would have met my goal. Still, I ran a 16 minute PR, so I'm glad for that.
I did LOVE the race though. It was cold (I ran with my hat and gloves on the entire time), but the city was wonderful. There were SO many people cheering there. It was so fun to run between skyscrapers and to see things in the city that I've been to many times. I love Chicago and I'm glad that I got to have the memory of running in it. I pushed myself harder than I have before (for 17 miles haha.) and felt awesome.
A few of my favorite things:
- giving children high 5s. I love when kids spectate. I gave MANY children high 5s.
- The "Nike Owns Chicago" section of the race. I think it was at 21 or 22. I was drained and my ankle was hurting at that point. Really awesome though! (I half wish I brought a camera.)
- "You have stamina! Call me!" Best. Sign. Ever. (Besides "McKayla is not impressed" that I saw at Disneyland.)
- Best expo I've ever been to. Hands down.
- Medical people giving out space blankets at mile 23/24. I needed it.
- I got to stand at the finish line and hug my mom when she finished!
A couple disappointments:
- They ran out of medals before I finished. Bummer. I should be getting mine in the mail soon. (tomorrow?)
- Some of the people at the water stations stood waaay to far into the road and crowded it for the runners.
- Running out of gas/hitting the wall. Boo.
- Hill at mile 26. That hurt my feelings!
- Mostly the medal thing.
- I had gastrointestinal issues.
I've only run once since then. I'm trying to get healthier. I've been super sick. I do need to hop into Goofy training though.
I learned some valuable lessons from this race. I plan to work a little harder at endurance and pacing myself. ..and not eating like crap.
I can't believe that it's over.
Goal: 1000 miles/366 days
So far: 678.06 miles/288 days
To go: 321.94 miles/78 days