Go, Erin, go!

Working mom, wife, food-lover, ultra-runner(?). This is my life.

26.2 miles May 19, 2008

Filed under: marathon — Erin @ 8:12 am
Tags: , , ,

I did it! 26.2 miles. I trained, I ran it, it’s done!

Cheryl and I headed to the park at about 6:15 to get our chips and do gear check. We found someone kindly enough to take our pre-race picture.

Erin and Cheryl - before the big run

The first ten miles were awesome. I felt great, I was right on pace, the running world was my oyster. I did come across some overly excited, overly loud runners around mile six and after hearing them talk, almost yell, for five minutes, I knew I had to leave them in the dust. First they were talking about how their relationship was never going to be the same now that they’ve run a long-distance race together. Then we weaved down below the road on a bike path and they said, “Oh my god, we were just up there and now we’re down here!” That was it, I kicked it up a notch and left them behind.

I kind of needed to use the bathroom from the get-go, but there was always a line at the port-o-johns. Finally, somewhere around mile 10 or so, I saw a Park Authority bathroom. So I popped in there, to the luxury of a flushing toilet and running water. I then continued on my way.

And then it happened. My IT band starting tightening up on me. The pain shot from my hip to my knee on my left side. At times it continued down to my ankle. I stopped to stretch everything out which seemed to help for about a mile or so. Then I stopped and stetched again, which worked for about 3/4 of a mile. And it just got worse from there.

The second half of the course was a little hilly, but not too bad. I walked up most hills, because that’s usually my strategy when I train on flat terrain and have a hilly race. Once at the top of the hills, I’d run down the other side which usually felt pretty good on my IT band. It got to the point that I was stopping and stetching every five minutes. My pace had gone to crap. It was now a battle of will to finish.

And a battle it was! Giving up was never a consideration for me, but man did it hurt! Walking hurt worse than running, but my stride was all sorts of screwed up, so running was more tiring than it should have been. I would run (really more jog at this point), slow to a walk, regret that I had, and then stretch so I could try running again.

Around mile 21 I completely lost it. I was in pain, I still had five miles to go, and I hit a low. Not “The Wall”, so far I’ve never hit that. No, this was just our right pain, sadness that I was not going to make it under five hours (my goal), fatigue, frurstration (this was not an injury I had been dealing with) and I lost it. I looked around, saw I was alone, and just let it go. I cried pretty good for a couple of minutes. I called Alan (I trained with my cell phone on me, so I ran with it on me) to get a boost. He didn’t boost me very well. I asked him, “I can do this, right?” His repsone was, “Yeah, you trained.” That was it! No enthusiasm, so encouragement, more like, “Why are you calling me?” But the tears and hearing his voice were enough to get back into it.

Those last five miles took me over an hour, but I got through them I ran until my legs couldn’t handle the pain and gait, I walked until I couldn’t handle the pain, I stopped, I stretched, I repeated.

At mile 23 I started counting. Each runner had their own little trick to get them through a rough patch or the last few miles of a race or run. My trick is to count to sixty. If I count to sixty ten times, that is approximately a mile for me. So at mile 23, if I counted to sixty ten times, then I’d me at mile 24. And so on, and so on. It got me through and I made it to the finish!

It was grueling, it was painful, it was incredible, it was over! I crossed the finish line and there were no tears, until I saw the medal. A guy held out my medal and I lost it. I started crying tears of joy and of pride. A volunteer ran over to me and asked in a very concerned tone, “Are you okay?” I said, “Yes, I’m just emotional.” Cheryl came over to join me and lauged at my tears, because I warned her about them and she had had tears of her own. She knew.

Cheryl and Erin - post run

We went back to the hotel to shower, change and check out. We then headed to Taco John’s for our first post-run meal. . . a six pack and a pound plus a small super nacho. Dude, it was awesome!

And so, it is over. I know I complained at times about the training, but I loved doing it. The run could have been better, but I am proud of myself for digging deep and finding it within myself to finish. Will I do it again? You bet! Will it be in the next year? No way! I am going to just enjoy running for running’s sake for a while and then look into doing a half-marathon. Maybe even do another triathlon.

Cheryl, I think we showed them “some courage” and definitely showed them “how to get the work done!”

Thanks to Cheryl for sharing the media for this post, and even more so, for sharing this experience with me. It was awesome!!!


Week 13 – Training Run #40 – 18 miles April 12, 2008

Filed under: marathon — Erin @ 2:29 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Ahhhh. . . 18 miles.  I am tempted to call my friend Meghan and say, “I just ran 18 miles, what have you done today?”  She used to always call her dad and say that after our runs.  I have to say that running 18 miles by myself does give me a sense of accomplishment.  I am amazed that I can handle being alone with myself with no TV, music, or other outside distraction to keep me from my thoughts.

The alarm went off and I was dreading the weather that was waiting for me.  I laid in bed for a few minutes when I realized I heard birds chirping.  I thought, “Wait a minute, if it’s pouring down rain, birds don’t usually chirp.”  I got up and realized it was sprinkling and it was 40 degrees out, not the heavy rain at 34 degrees changing to snow that was forescasted.  I really need to stop listening to the forecast so much.  They really seem to be missing it recently.

So I headed out and I was on my way.  I decided to head south again, as I think I over did the northern route and can’t bear to run up Racine to Clark again.  I ran down Michigan to Roosevelt over to the Museum Campus.  Instead of heading straight to the lakefront path, I ran around Soldier Field and out to the Planetarium.  I cut south at the Planetarium to run out Northerly Island.

What is now known as Northerly Island once was Meigs Field.  Until one day, well night rather, Mayor Daley, in a state of paranoid psychosis, decided to have the landing strip at Meigs field dug up and removed.  He feared that it presented a huge terrorists threat.  Whatever, he had plans for the land that no longer included an airport, so he did as he pleased.  Anywho. . . it has now been turned into a prarie/ bird sanctuary which is actually quite nice once you get past the deserted control tower and random construction.

I was running right along the harbour when the path ended and there was nothing but riff-raff.  So I had climb over this to get to a field which stood between me and the (just noticed) paved path.  I bounded through the field and onto the path.  Just as I was starting on the path, I saw some good sized critter frollick through the prarie.  I’m thinking it was a coyote, we seem to have those here in the city. That was pretty cool.

I made my way back to the Museum Campus and headed north.  I continued along the lakefront path.  As I was approaching the North Ave Beach house, I heard a bit of a squeal, a THUNK and turned in time to see a guy finish spinning out on Lake Shore Drive, stop facing the wrong way, and then just turn around and drive off.  I can’t believe no one else was hit and that he was able to just drive away.  It was kind of surreal.

I was happy to arrive at the North Avenue Beach house and find the bathrooms unlocked.  Woo hoo!  During my 16 mile run two weeks ago, the last three miles were spent thinking how I had to use the bathroom and couldn’t wait to get home.  Today though I had access to bathrooms, so that distraction would not occur again.  Did you know that the doors on the bathroom stalls at the North Avenue Beach house are called “Hinie Hiders”?  yup, I learned that today. 

I continued on my way to finish my run.  The last two miles were pretty brutal.  My left IT band started freaking out, getting really tight and causing me some pain.  The pain continued down my hip, into my knee, and a wee bit beyond.  I was able to get through it, but was VERY glad when I was done with the run.  The next five weeks I will use my foam roller religiously to make sure that doesn’t happen during the marathon.  It’s going to hurt like all hell at first, but I should be able to slowly stretch it out and it will no longer hurt.

Ta da!