Friday, June 27, 2014

Michelob 13.1

There's really only a handful of courses for Chicago races.  Even fewer if we're talking about a half marathon so when I saw the Michelob 13.1 would be along the South Shore I knew it would be an obvious addition to the list.  In years past the race had a different sponsor and was included in the Windy City 26.2 Challenge (aka you get an extra medal for completed both races in the series).  I have to admit, the prospect of extra bling was a big part of why I chose this race as well.  It was a tough choice though because it meant I would have to give up my dream of running Ragnar this year.  That one will have to wait for another year, but it's definitely still on the bucket list. 

Pre-race with my Midwest Vikings
I live pretty much as far north as you can possibly get and still be considered a Chicago resident.  In order for me to get to the race on time that meant a 3:30am alarm.  The struggle.  I knew the morning would be rough so I laid everything out the night before and slept in my race gear.  As I woke and got ready to head out I felt like I hadn't even slept.  Bleary eyed, I made my way through the mile long walk to the train station.  Thankfully they have shuttles that run from downtown to the South Shore Cultural Center so I didn't have to make the whole trip by myself via CTA which can get a bit dicey at that hour.  I hopped on the shuttle bus and tried to catch a quick nap as we made the journey to the south side of the city.  As we arrived at our destination I started texting my teammates to see where we would be meeting.  Got a quick pre-race picture with my fellow Midwest Vikings and met a few folks I hadn't seen before. 

I look happy so this must have been early on
Freddie and I made our way to the slow-"O" corral and waited for the race to start.  I ran into an old friend from Loyola which helped boost my spirits a bit.  Whenever a long distance race also has a short distance component I feel a twinge of doubt, wondering if I should take the short turnaround instead of the long course.  I'm starting to think this might just be something I'll always have to experience and overcome.  It's part of the process, convincing myself that Yes, I can do this.  The longer we waited to cross the starting line, the more I felt my energy evaporate.  I just wasn't feeling it today. 

Most of this race is a blur.  Mostly I just fought back the urge to quit and kept on trucking.  It was hot, like really hot, I swore I saw the devil waving at me from under a tree.  The pollen and dander was out of control and made breathing pretty difficult.  I finally found the first cliff gel station...and they were out.  I was devastated.  I forgot to pack my GU so that little packet nuclear tasting sludge was the only thing that kept me going.  I had been looking forward to it since about mile 3.  No matter, I started drinking more gatorade at the aid stations as I barged along.  After the turnaround I found the next cliff gel station and there on the table was one small open box left.  I nearly jumped for joy in excitement but I just didn't have that kind of energy in me.  As I tore through the packet with my teeth I heard a chorus of angels sing and maybe even a unicorn prance around me. 

So maybe I was starting to hallucinate a little.  Like I said, not the best race conditions for me.  Please sweet dear lord baby Jesus get me to this finish line.  One foot in front of the other.  The closer I got the finish area the more friends I saw walking away spoils in hand.  Dang, I'm thirsty and hungry, please share.  I just kept digging.  Must get to finish line.  Now here's the tricky part, you enter the finishers shoot but that bad boy feels as if it's a mile long.  I kept thinking OK this is it, this is it, we're finally here, only to realize I wasn't in fact there and this definitely wasn't it.  By some small miracle I was finally able to reach that last corner of my soul for the strength to get me across the last stretch before finally earning my medal. 

Sort of in a daze I made my way over to the pizza tent to collect my much anticipated treat.  At this point I figured all of my friends must have left because it took me so flipping long to finish.  As I stood in the sun annihilating my pizza and beer Freddie walked up to congratulate me on my finish.  We chatted with a few other friends and then headed to the shuttle buses. The bus was pretty packed so I ended up sitting next to a friendly gentleman from Minnesota who had just finished his very first half marathon that morning.  I wish I could remember more of that conversation but truthfully it's amazing to me that I was even able to string together coherent thoughts.  This was not a pretty race for me but I'm glad I got it done.  Next year, I'm definitely doing Ragnar instead.

Post Race celebratory drink

1 comment:

  1. Congrats! I wish I would have finished this race but the stars were not aligned for me.