I had a million excuses to cancel on this. It seemed like the entire universe was against me making my way to Chicago this morning. And usually I would take that as a sign to just turn off the alarm and sleep through the darn thing. But for some reason I was determined.
I woke up at 3:40am. It was raining. Not lightly raining. We're talking sheets of rain falling from the sky raining. I really had to push myself to get the heck out of bed and not just fall back to sleep with the sound of the rain. I mean, who wants to drive in this stuff? And then who wants to run in it? It just seemed like a bad idea all around.
But for some crazy reason I got out of bed and got ready. I brought some coffee and a bagel with to eat in the car. I knew something was terribly wrong with the state of my life when the radio mentioned "Late Nights with Someone or Another." It wasn't even early morning programming! I was just waking up and it was still late night programming. That is just wrong. I remember days of just getting home at this hour on a Saturday morning and here I was voluntarily lugging my happy butt across the state line to have the pleasure of running 6.2 miles. In a row. Two hours away. In the rain. Perfectly sober. What the heck has become of me?!
I got over it when I realized that I had the car all to myself with no judgemental kids trying to tell me that A)My music sucks and B)My singing hurts their ears.
Cue the DJ hosting the 80's weekend marathon. Oh yeah!
Whoa....oooo....we're halfway there. Whoa.....oooo......living on prayer!
Blinded by the light - revved up like a duece another runner in the night. Blinded by the light.....
My new BFF DJ even played a little Tesla for me. It was a fun drive :)
I got to the train station a few minutes early. I met a really nice lady there. She was on her way to Indiana to see her grandkids. It was such a pleasure to get to know her. I never got her name, but we talked like we were old friends. I love when you meet people like that.
The train arrived downtown just a few minutes late at 7:15pm. I hooked myself up with a cab and 12 minutes and $20.00 later I was at Montrose Beach picking up my race packet.
(I'm not in this picture, so don't try looking for me. Remember? I do these things all by my lonesome. I can't take the pictures AND be in them....sheesh!)
So I pick up my race number and goody bag. I got a race t-shirt, another t-shirt from a vendor there, a shoe horn, a clif bar, a tote bag, and some random coupons for fitness centers and running stores. I do love me some free stuff.
Can I just tell you that Chicago's running scene is just amazing? There were runners everywhere. And not just the ones running the race. There were random runners all over the city. And it was still raining! It was a far cry from my lonely little trail or neighborhood runs. I'm totally moving to Chicago. Or maybe NYC? I'm so over rural Wisconsin....but I digress.
The 10k started 15 minutes before the 5k. So everyone lined up anxious to get on with the show. It was pretty darn chilly out there right next to Lake Michigan. The rain had lightened up, but it never stopped the whole morning.
The first mile was awesome. My handy dandy Garmin had me sticking pretty close to my pace and not going out too fast. But I was able to run for much longer without stopping for a walk break. I think all that time in the car and on the train just made me want to move! By the second mile I was still feeling good and surprised that I was keeping a 12:30 pace. I felt good though. I pushed myself to mile 3.1 so that I could see how much I could beat my previous 5k by. I got the first 3.1 miles done in 39 minutes. I was thrilled by this at the time, but at the end when I was watching the awards for the top finishers of the 10k there was a guy who did it in 40 minutes. Geez, buddy! Way to ruin it for a girl!
Anyway, things got tougher into mile 4. I was feeling pretty crappy. And I was seeing all these people pass me and then I was seeing some of the really fast 5kers already coming around the bend! I trudged through. I kept doing the running/walking thing. We were circling around by the starting line and heading in a different direction for the last 2 or so miles. I saw several people quit around there. I wasn't gonna quit. I was going for Last Place or Better (that could totally be a t-shirt logo, huh?)
So mile 4 sucked. I really had to dig deep to keep running. I was just ready to be done. But then once I hit mile 5 things just got easier. I don't know why, but I started running and had no desire at all to stop. I ran most of mile 5, but then when I got almost to mile 6 I didn't have much left in me. I tried to finish strong, but my legs were like lead. I did muster up a jog for the last .2 miles to the finish line. And boy was I happy to be done! I finished at 1:26:04. The "official" pace had me at 13:51 minutes per mile. But my Garmin said I was at a 13:35 pace....so I'm gonna have to go with Gary on this one. Either way it totally blows my 15 minute miles of my last 5k out of the water.
Walking around the park I was listening to announcements and top finishers. They also had some lung cancer survivors there telling their stories. It was very touching and made me thankful for the life I have and the strength I find in this body of mine.
I would've like to have ended my day right there, but there was a little matter of getting home to take care of. Montrose Beach is a pretty big place. And you have to walk at least a mile to get up to a street where you can get a cab. Here's what the harbor looked like on my way back:
It started raining a lot harder and I was just drenched. It took another 1 1/2 miles before I finally got a cab. But another 12 minutes and another $20.00 and I was safely deposited back at Union Station.
I had a little wait for my train. I got myself refueled with a turkey sammie and some soup. (I went with the loaded baked potato....cuz, you know....I just ran 6.2 miles and then walked another 1.5!) I passed the rest of the time updating Facebook and having an awesome chat with one of my friends who wanted to know every detail of my morning. Don't you just love friends like that? :)
The train ride was uneventful. My muscles got really stiff though. Clearly, it wasn't such a good idea to sit for two hours after running. Had it been sunny out I probably would have taken an hour or two to mosey around the city, but I was so ready to get out of the rain. A nice shower and some Motrin have helped with the pain.
And even though I'm still walking like an 80 year old man. I'm feeling more like this: (Thanks Mr. 80's DJ Dude!)