Friday, November 2, 2012

Own Chicago - Part 1

We finally made it.

Marathon weekend in Chicago. 

My friend Christine and I decided to do our 2 mile "get the nerves out and shake it off" run around on that Saturday morning about the same time as the gun time - 7:30 AM - to see how cold it would actually be the next morning.

We both lugged about four different outfit options to Chicago with us in preparation of what was to come.
If it gets below 60 degrees, us Florida girls just don't know how to dress ourselves.
Turns out he temp that morning was 38.

I ventured out onto Michigan Ave in shorts, compression socks (used as leg warmers, basically), a tank top, pullover, ear warmers and gloves. In the beginning my nose and lungs burned with cold and my legs turned bright red with numbness. I thought for sure I was going to be in trouble.

By the end of the two miles, I was sweating and ready to take off layers. I was relieved to be warmed up so quickly, because I had spent countless hours trying to find the perfect marathon outfit which just so happened to consist of shorts and a sleeveless tank.

Outfit = saved!

I even painted my nails to match my shorts and shoes. How cute am I.

After fueling up with pancakes at The Bongo Room, we headed to the Expo at McCormick Place.

If you've never been, McCormick Place probably holds as many people as my hometown of Cullman. It is a giant structure and navigating around trying to find where to go was not easy. 
Once we found it though, it was like walking into a runner's paradise. We were there for almost 3 hours and didn't even see half of what they had to offer!
My cheerleaders made signs!
Cool booth at Nike

Nike+ motivation

We had a delicious pasta dinner that night at Rosebud with friends and family. 

It was Christine's first marathon so I had to pass down some running wisdom to her via Marathon Survival Kit, consisting of running necessities for race day.
It wasn't until I got back to the hotel that the nerves really started to get to me and the doubts began to settle in.

Will I cramp up? Do I really think my hip is going to last all 26 miles? What if the dry air makes my contact pop out? How am I supposed to run half blind?

Somehow after all that I managed to get a decent night's sleep.

I woke up race morning feeling fairly confident. I figured whatever happened I would just go with it. Sure, I'd love to get my time into the 3:40's, but that's not what's most important. I just needed to finish.

Race morning!

Christine and I hid in her hotel lobby until we absolutely had to leave the heat and face the cold moring. Luckily we had our "throw away" clothes to keep us warm outside. 

It was mass chaos at the start, and we later found out we barely made it into our corrals before they closed them off-- oops!
Not in any particular hurry

The corrals were definitely not like any other race I had experienced. I had qualified for a better corral placement, so I was with some legitimate runners.

Some of which had no shame to pee right there on the side of the street.
Yea, I'm talking to you, tall bald guy in Corral D with a British accent. 

Once the Star Spangled Banner was finished, there was a massive shower of sweaters, jackets, blankets and fleece pants flying to the edges of the street. It was actually quite comical. I've never seen anything like it. I really wish I had taken photos.

The city ends up donating all of those clothes back to the charities in the area, so if you're in need of a good jacket, there are about 40,000 additional ones right now in the Chicago thrift stores!

It took 8 minutes to get to the starting line after the gun went off. once I crossed that line, it was go time.

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