|Pre-race with Ernest and Sam|
|The crew- me, Freddie and Sam|
A few stops after getting on, the gentleman across from me asked about my race bib. He was wondering what the race was for and I simply said "it's the Chicago 10k". Once I realized his question was really about the charity I had to do a quick google search before letting him know it benefited the Special Olympics (not to self, must pay more attention to race charities). I apologized for not knowing already but explained that I run about 40 races a year and its hard to keep them all straight. He looked puzzled that someone would actually want to run that many races and asked if it was a passion for running or the charities that made me want to run that much. I realized I didn't really have a good answer to that question, I have a love/hate relationship with running as most of us do but I can't really pinpoint what keeps me coming back for more. Each race is different, sometimes it's to help a friend, other times it's to prove I can do it and some I just simply like the course or medal. After a long pause he said, "Now I don't want to put a negative spin on things, but do you think that runners are less likely to do races or want to do marathons because of those bombings?". This seemed like such an odd question to me, I immediately blurted out "of course not!". I then followed up by telling him that if anything it brought us all closer as a running community and made us stronger. We aren't deterred, much the opposite, it made us want to run MORE. Whenever we're faced with something difficult it drives us to push harder. I explained that deep down all runners have an unconquerable soul, we refuse to let anything hold us back and continue to persevere no matter what.
The race was about to get started so we split up to find our respective starting groups. Sam, Freddie and I hung back while most of the other runners headed to earlier corrals. As soon as we were off I was feeling really great, took off out of the gates a bit faster than usual. I was able to hold a strong and steady pace for most of the first mile and a half before things got ugly. We hadn't reached a water station yet and I didn't see any in sight. I started to panic a bit as I was really starting to get thirsty. By the time we finally reached that first table the damage had been done. I tried to refuel as much as I could but my body couldn't hydrate fast enough. My mouth felt dry and I was starting hallucinate telling Sam that I thought my skin was melting off. Each water station I poured some on my head, drank some water & gatorade then splashed more water on my face. It helped to keep me cool but I was still struggling.
|oh hey, me running into the skyline!|
|beast mode: activated|
I reminisced about how I did on this same race last year and realized it wasn't much better. I made the mistake of doing a sprint distance invitational triathlon the day before and it showed as I cried coming across the finish line of the 2013 Chicago 10k. There was a guy there perhaps waiting for a friend who snarkily asked, "Oh, is this your first 10k?" as if I wasn't capable of a long distance run. It took every ounce of energy I had left to push down the rage I felt building inside of me to simply reply "no, I'm just a bit worn out after doing a triathlon yesterday". That shut him right up and I walked away with my head held high. You don't know me sir, and you have no idea what I've gone through...please don't make assumptions about me or my abilities. All things considered, while it wasn't a 10k PR for me, it was a course PR so I'll take it :) Now off to drink some more water...