Aug 13, 2007

The Chicago Distance Classic Recap. It's a long one!

I have been travelling to Chicago every single year (if not every 6 months or so) since the day I turned 20. In 9 years I have still not even scratched the surface as to the beauty of this city. I have always loved Chicago. Many of my friends now live in Chicago. It is a city of duality... fast and slow. Active and lazy. But always feeling just right. It just works. And after Sunday's race I have better resspect for the city.

The CDC was a great race in the perfect place. By far my fave... but I will have to return in 2008 because I left something out on the course that I need to recover.... but more on that later! First - I have a whole lot of recapping to do!

It was another growing experience. And I am still beaming.

Thurday 8/9 - The arrival AKA Superdawg' rule!
We arrived in Chicago and headed straight to the Superdawg. *drool* LOVED it. LOVED it!

After scarfing down superdawg fully loaded, fries, and a super freaking thick chocolate shake we headed back to Armitage and Wood to meet up with our hosts for the weekend, our friends Matt and Shar.

The night was filled with Peruvian food, Wii bowling, and Red Lager from Wisconsin.

Friday 8/10 - RBF meet up
Friday ws pretty nice. I went for a quick 1 mile run with Shar, a new runner! I felt amazing. The pace kept tending towards 11 minutes, so I had to pull ourselves back. My goal for Sunday was to run the race in 12:10 minute miles. It felt good knowing that my comfort level was now well past 12 minute miles.

After running, we hit the gym with Mike, and I busted out some chest and tricep workouts. The Bally's over by Bucktown was very nice, and had a lot of different machines thn our local one does. We spent more time in the free-weight room than normal. I am definitely getting comfortable with myself and working out in front of people.

After the gym, we hung out for a bit and headed downtown to meet up with Josh and Denise (aka the dynamic duo) for dinner at Shaw's Crab House. I strongly recommend the crab cakes and a white peach martini. Because seriously - that rocked.

After a great dinner and closing Shaw's down (they were a bit slow in serving us), Matt, Shar, Mike, and I parted ways with the dynamic duo, and stopped off at RedFish's VooDoo Lounge for a nightcap. All I can say here is that I am glad my drink was free (the bartender bought it for me) because it was NASTY. But it was officially my 29th birthday so I needed to start it off right, right?

Saturday 8/11 - My birthday, a near miss with Heath Ledger, an Expo, and nerves
I woke up and decided to hit the Expo. Due to the late night prior, we ended up dragging butt getting ready and finally headed out to the expo well after 1:00PM (sorry Denise and Josh!).

On our way to the expo, and to meet up with the dynamic duo once again, somehow we manage to walk right onto the set of the new Batman movie. All of a sudden I see a SWAT van hurry past us and end at the bank we were almost 100 feet away from... and then I relized that the SWAT van read "Gotham City", and then I heard "Cut!" and new right away that Chicago's birthday gift to me was a near encounter with Heath Ledger.

Thank you Chicago. No. Really.

By the time we got to the expo - where a very loud and flashy Northern Indian wedding was taking place, Denise and Josh were already at the bar. That my friends, is impressive. ;)

I got my things for the race, as well as perused the very small expo. This is where I learn that I am a bitch when I have no food in me. It is now almost 3PM and I have not eaten anything all day. I am in rare form I tell you. Or more so my friends told me. ;)

We ate a very delayed lunch at a restaurant in the Water Tower place (the cafeteria style restaurant on the Mezanine level) and then headed over to the John Hancock tower. They told us it would be 30 minutes in line, then 1.5 hours until we were back down. Uuummm... no thank you... I hve a schedule to maintain people, and this just will not do. Next trip to Chi-town this is a must, this time however it will have to be a pass. :(

We continued to walk down Michigan Ave for a while looking for the Virgin store - yeah it is SHUT DOWN. WTF? Oh well. By now everything on the Mag Mile was shutting down, so we hopped in a cab and headed home just in time for a suprise Birthday dinner/pre-race carboloading!

After the festivities I really did try to go to bed. I put on my race clothes and pinned my number on. I gathered all of my supplements and food, and made my Accelerade bottle for the next day to refridgerate it. I was all set on the equipment side. I just

I honestly think I got 30-45minutes of sleep before being awoken at 4:30AM by thunder and lightening. Which brings us to race-day....

Sunday 8/12 - Race Day, Recovery, and the next race
Little sleep does not affect me when I have a big race. Aapparently. Thank goodness the rain stopped by the time my cab dropped us off a mere 2 blocks away from the start line. I had arrived a lot earlier than normal, but being in big city you never know what to expect!

After warming up my muscles, and going for a quick jog, Mike kissed me and wished me good luck, and I lined up firmly with the 2:45 pace group. I knew that if I could staay with them I would be alright.

The gun went off, and as always it took a while to cross the start line. This was it. I am doing it!

Much to my dismay... 4 minutes into the run the pace group starts walking. WHAT?!?!?!?! Crap. I keep on going. I really should have stuck with them as the run/walk technique may have saved me. But no. Of course not. I ran! Fast!
I went based on feeling, not pace.
Mile 1 - 11:01.
Mile 2 - 10:50.
Mile 3: 11:00 flat.
Oh. Crap. I wanted to run 12:10's - and now I stared to think that I was headed for possible trouble.

My tingling Jenn senses are rarely wrong.

Mile 4 comes and goes and I have slowed down considerably. Plus somehow my Garmin is all janked up and telling me that I am somewhere in the middle of mile 5, and at a 20 minute pace, but completing my lap in 5 minutes each. WHAT????? My garmin would remain useless for the rest of the run.

The one thing that at first shocked me, but then motivated me - was the fact that your name is on your bib so everyone cheering can yell directly for you. It is unnerving to hear hundreds of people cheer out yoru name. But then it quickly becomes motivating and awesome. You truly feel the spirit of the race. And it is breathtaking, just like the place you are running in and around.

Around mile 4.5 I realize that I am starting to feel slight pain. I just have not figured it out yet. At mile 5 - that is where the 2:45 pace groups catches up with me (or rather I slow down and have them own me for a half mile) until I realize that the pain is not leg pain or back pain... it is foot pain. Both feet. And my shoes are not giving me the cushin I need. My shoes... are dead. OMG, my shoes are dead! Crap on toast.

I made it to mile 8 before I had a chance to sit down and massage my feet. No blisters, no cardio issues (I ws running conservatively for the sake of my feet - and was walking at this point now as well.) and no fatigue issues. If I could have taken my feet off and ran on stumps I would have been great!
I knew that I would be lucky if I finished in under 3:15. My feet were really hurting me.
At this point I am upset only that I was being held back by my own ignorance for my one piece of neccesary equipment - the shoes.
I honestly lost track of how many miles I had logged on
them. And I broke my own rule of shoes... alway rotate in another pair. D'oh!

I threw back on my shoes and was then was able to make it up Lake Shore Drive, through the Shedd Aquarium, the museums, and back into Grant Park with the help with a running partner I had picked up at Mile 8. She was also struggling with some pain issues, so we kept each other entertained and positive.

By now I had less than 1 mile left, but had to walk most of it due to the pain. I came across the Reebok sign (to the left) at the 20K mark, and it really made me smile. I knew that I had done something awesome, despite the roadblocks and obstacles that I have delt with over the past 3 months of training.
And that is what this race was about for me. It was a
personal reward for making better decisions in life with respect to my health
and happiness

It was just past this very sign (about 200 feet or so) that I saw someone out of the corner of my eye - the one and only Running Jayhawk, Barb! I called out to her, hoping to get a rest for my severly bruised feet - but she rallied the runnergirl within me, and ran with me up to her hubby Out of Shape Guy, who had just finished with a PR. Awesome job!

I think that I really needed to see people that I was "familiar" with at this point - people who know all about the struggles during a bad race, people who appreciate pushing it to the end. People like fellow RBFers!!! There is no group out there like them!

As I passed OOSG, I saw Denise waiting for me at the next turn. I yelled to her, she took my picture, and then I saw my Mike up ahead at the end of the straight away. I stopped and walked, which really ticked me off - that is how I know that I was really hurt, because I can ALWAYS run it in the last mile!
He got me running yet again, and as I rounded the corner... there was Matt and Shar! Shar ran it in with me across the finish line and...

bib# 5296, RunnerGirl, Farmington Hills MI, age 29 3:14:53

... I did it! I narrowly finished in under 3:15, but I did it. I had fun. And you know what?


What a perfect finish to a perfect day. I turned 29. I ran a tough mental race. And I finished with a great experience.
A very special thank you goes out to every one of you who have cheered me on -
either in person or via my blog. Josh it was great to meet you
finally! Denise, thank you for comming out to cheer me on and have lunch! Barb
it was awesome to have you help me out in my extreme time of need (thank you
SOOOO much)- and Mike (OOSG) thank you for your fondess of Superdawgs.

My next half? Detroit. October 21st. Watch out Detroit - RunnerGirl is back in full force.

I am taking a few days off from training, then this Sunday I am back out there for 7 - and bck into my Asicss Gel's that I abandoned for the shiney new Mizuno Waverider 9's that I killed. I am 11 weeks out from Detroit and rigth where I need to be!

With much love and gratitude to each and every one of you out there,
RunnerGirl ~ })i({~


Unknown said...

Jenn, it was an awesome weekend! I hope your bruised feet feel better soon.

Jenniferlyn said...

Thank you Denise!!!

Full Metal Lunchbox said...

You ran a great race, RunnerGirl!  You got heart, Jenn!

Jenniferlyn said...

Thank you Josh!!!! I appreciate it!

TNTcoach Ken said...

Okay, Detroit is ready for RunnerGirl. We'll use this as another learning experience. Look out downtown Detroit! Great finish.

Pat said...

You did well. Sorry, I wasn't there to cheer you on. It reminded me of seeing you and Firefly in Phoenix. You know victory comes more from crossing the start line than the finish and you did both.

Good luck at the Detroit half.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday!

Congrats on the race. Sounds like you had an awesome time Chi town!

Anonymous said...

Congrats, and I'm sorry I haven't been keeping up on this blog (like I was with the EP blog.)

After a very tiring week beforehand, I was able to finish at 2:41:39. (bib 1219) If my shoes would have died, I might have too! Way to keep going!!

My Garmin was screwing up too, but I do believe it's because of the tall buildings and el tracks. That and going under bridge underpasses renders a Garmin useless--merely an oversized stopwatch.

See you at next year's CDC!