Sunday, November 7, 2010

Oh, What A Feeling

Yesterday was the day. About 4:45 in the morning, I grudgingly got out of my warm bed at my Dad's house, and prepared for what I feared was going to be the biggest humiliation in my life. The night before around a game of cards, we had discussed what would happen if they in fact did enforce the 15/min mile stipulation- and had decided if in fact that was the case, and we were forced off the course, we could at least say "oh well, we tried" and head back to the finish line for some hot chocolate and fondue.

We arrived in the city at about ten minutes to six, parked and headed towards the event area. Now, being that the race was held in the heart of the downtown area of the third biggest city in the country, we pracitically needed to walk a 5K just to get to the race. Okay, maybe I'm over-exaggerating a bit... we needed to walk a four k ;-)

It was a hike though. No big deal at the beginning of the race, when you are all hopped up on adrenaline, on new morning muscles, full of promise and expectation- an entirely different story after the race, when you are sore, dejected, and spent. - More on that later.

It was as cold as Mr WeatherMan promised it would be- a balmy 28 degrees at post time- Im sure colder when we arrived down there pre-sunrise. So, in lieu of standing around and freezing our rears off, we snuck into the volunteer tent and stood around trying to look inconspicuous for an hour or so.

I must say- some of these runner folk- are hard core. Like gazelle's to the nth degree. The pack was seperated into 5K runners ( the casual joggers) and the 15K runners (read: hard core)- so hard core in fact that some were even running in shorts and running tank tops - yes, you read that right- shorts and tank tops in 28 degree weather. They scoffed at cold weather, flipped their chins at the mere thought of being cold. They knew their superiorly toned bodies and agile quickness would warm them as they went. They'd be running so fast, the cold would have to try and keep up with them.

And then there was me. In three layers of shirts, plus a Polar Teck zip up trying to focus on the race instead of how cold I was becoming. Thankfully. my dad gave me his hat (it apparently hadn't dawned on me prior to leaving my house that I may want to keep my head or at the very least my ears warm)- with the promise that I would warm up as the race progressed.

Throughout the Pre Race Mr Microphone- whomever he was- kept telling us that "even the 5K racers were expected to maintain a 15 minute mile" I was panicked. What were they going to do to me? How would they know I wasn't maintaining that pace? As I knew there was no way in heck I was going to maintain that pace.

Post time came, and my dad headed off to run with the rest of the gazelles, and my stepmom and I headed off to the back of the pack. Slight problem though- thirty thousand people sandwiched into three blocks made little room for maneuvering. Therefore, we ended up mingled into the 12 minute mile racers. The race started and we got jostled big time. I felt like I was in the game Frogger trying to dodge all the gazelles whizzing past me. At the half mile mark, we started to run down a hill, and not being so confident on my Rocktape wrapped knee and ankle, I was afraid to really do more than walk gingerly down, and this is where my stepmom and I separated.

Mile marker one is where the flat part of the course began, and I confidently picked up speed ( -side note- I'm starting to rethink the Triathlon in Lake Geneva--- if I can't even handle a teensy weensy hill on a paved street how the heck do I think I can handle an entire bike and running route of them) at Mile Marker one and a half I was starting to feel fairly good, I was alternating walking and jogging at about a 2 or 2 1/2 minute pace (-side note- it was so cold outside, that at the water station, the cups of water and gatorade actually had little frozen bits of liquid in them- a nice shock to the old system )

My dad was right, around this time I was actually getting quite warm, but I didn'nt want to stop and remove anything or switch stuff around, as I was afraid if I stopped, I wouldn't be able to get moving again.

Mile Marker two, I started to feel a tightening in my achilles tendon. Ive experienced those problems before, my podiatrist had said the reason I had these problems were because of the pronation in my ankle due to the weakened tendons from the previous foot turning problems I had as a kid. But I had taped it in Rocktape that morning, so I ignored the tightening figuring it would loosen itself up and kept pushing. Mile Marker two snaked down the Lakefront and then into Grant Park, under Lake Shore drive and back towards the finishing line. It was about MM two and a half. when we tranistioned from paved ground of the shoreline bike path up onto a grass path and then onto the Grant Park trail. It was at this time (transitioning up the grassy knoll) that I hear a pop followed by hot searing pain in my left foot. I slowed to slower than a walk - more like a hobble- and tried to stretch it and walk it off a bit. No such luck. I pull off the course as more people pass me by, and try stretching it against a tree. The pain just gets worse and worse. At this point my dad calls my cell phone wondering where on the course I am- he, like the rest of the gazelles, had finished a long time ago- but thinking back on it, it must have been about forty five minutes after the start of the race, which means, I was probably sub-twenty minute miles which in the book of this huffy puffer, I had actually managed a fairly good pace then for my first 2 miles.

I tell him my location, that I did something to my ankle, but I'm going to try to push through. I make it to about 2 and 3 quarter miles, and I could feel my foot swelling, so I hobbled over to a bench to try and assess the situation. There was a medic shooting the bull with one of the volunteers and he asked me if I wanted to drop out of the race. I told him no, I was fine, I was just removing my tape and I'd be moving along. There was no way I was going to show up shamefacedly ridining on the back of a medic-mobile. What would I tell everyone? How would I even be able to tell so many people that I couldn't even complete a Five K. I removed the Rocktape wrapped around my ankle.. and it provided enough relief for me to keep going. I passed under the photo's who take the final picture before heading towards Mile Marker three and into the finish chute. I honestly think they didn't even bother to take a picture- though my Dad says that there were four up there, so he's sure one of them did. I personally think they saw me pop a squat on the bench and figured "heh- shes probably quitting, why waste my time"

I made it to Mile Marker three, received another phone call from my Dad telling me that I should meet him at Buckingham Fountain that way he could bring the car around to get me. Maybe he knew that Buckingham Fountain was past the finish line and that would motivate me to keep going, but I wasn't planning on quitting anyhow. I saw mile marker three and I have not seen anything so good ever. Mile Marker three meant I was almost there... only a few hundred more feet and I would be finished.

I hobbled down the chute trying to hobble/jog/walk/limp my way to the finish line as 15K runners ran on my heels- yup--- you read that right- fifteen k runners managed to finish their entire race faster than I did my 5K... no, that wasn't humiliating at all. Neither was the fact that Mr. Microphone was announcing names as they came to the finish line and he saw me, and walked right past me not even bothering to announce me. BUt there it was, the finish line... a few more hobbles and I was across it, and done. Thank the Lord I was done.

I'm sure my finish line pictures will be more than entertaining once they are finally posted. Because I was anything but smiling,but I remember thinking oh wait, Im finished, I should look happy and try to at least smile.

I skipped the fondue and hot chocolate post finish (too far to walk to the fondue tent) and thankfully my Dad and Stepmom walked back and got the car so I wouldn't have to hobble all the way back.

But- I finished, and that is all that matters. And, previous to said problem with my foot I think I was doing pretty good. I'm going to continue working on my running through the winter and I still have my eye on the "run the entire 5K" prize by the time Tri Season starts up again in June.

I also learned a few other things:

1. I am far more capable of doing things than I ever give myself credit for.

2. I really loathe crowds more than I thought I did... I really think that the Chicago Triathlon is going to be removed from my list. I can't imagine trying to share the lake/bike roads/ run paths with that many people for a triathlon.

3. Inspiration and motivation keeps you going when your own head tells you to quit. I can not even find the words to explain how much the emails, texts, facebook posts and messages meant to me... I carried everyone of you with me through my race. So, a big thank you to all of you for your encouragement. :)

Til next time!

~Millie : )


~Laurie~ said...

Hi Millie!
I found your blog from a post that Emily from Blogaholic Designs sent out today. She mentioned you as a design that she had just finished (BTW-the design is AWESOME!). I have started reading your past posts and you ROCK! When I have some more time tonight, I will check out your FB page. I just wanted to tell you that what I've read so far is inspiring to me - I'm a very fat girl that has always wanted to run a 5k. I don't know how much you weighed or have lost, but your writing is so interesting and motivating. I'm going to follow you and will have to read more later tonight. I would love to learn some more about you and your journey :)

Also, I'm sorry Mr. Microphone didn't call out your name when you went over the finish line in your 5K. What a dub!

The Tubby Triathlete said...

Hi! Thank you SO much for stopping by and cheking out the site! :)

This years goals for Triathlon season (I did 2 Triathlons in 2010) was to run the entire 5k (I walked the 5k last year) so in order to do that I felt I needed to be able to do a 5k on it's own.

You can do ANYTHING that you put your mind to. Don't think that just because society thinks that we are too heavy to do certain things, that you actually are! Anything you want to do, you can do, you just have to keep focused and forge ahead regardless of what the haters say! Ive had my fair share of haters (as you look through the posts you'll see that) and if I allowed their opinion of me become my opinion I'd still be on the couch.

I'm curious though how you found this post, because it's from November :)

Thanks for the comment!!! I love them :)