Saturday, September 27, 2008

Not Running

Oh the good life!

It's been about a week or so since my last long run and I'm feeling pretty good about myself. Actually that's a lie. I haven't done shit and I feel like it. Without a set schedule I don't know what to do with myself. I'm really a lazy person and am fine with sitting on the couch all day. Except for the fact that I hate myself after doing so.

To get myself off the hook a little bit, the past week has been crazy hectic. My uncle died the day after my non-half marathon. I wasn't that close to him, but I've become really close to his daughter. I was really upset when he died. You see, on one of my very first runs last year I ran because he was having his surgery (the 15 hour one). I ran that day because I knew he would give anything to be out running. In all honesty he probably wouldn't and he probably thought I was crazy to attempt such a thing. Either way, I ran because of him. In fact, he's been on my heart and mind most of my runs while training. I haven't told many people (until now), but he died just a few hours after I finished my "half marathon." For some reason that really got to me; the fact that when I was in pain and outside hoping to be done soon he was in bed in pain and hoping to be done soon.

My mom and I drove down for the Florida services.* We stopped half way in Atlanta and stayed with her brother. I decided to get up real early in the morning and go for a run because I couldn't make myself get in a car and sit for another 8 hours without some sort of physical exercise. Man! Atlanta has a good hill workout. The next morning I awoke in someone's vacation home and did some laps in the pool. That's a workout I'd like to repeat often. I didn't realize how much of a full-body work out swimming was. Once I got home I went for a walk and today I went for another one.

So, what do I do... I really need to be running, but can't get myself out the door.

* we are in the middle of what I call "Steve's funeral tour." They are holding another service(s) next week in Illinois and possibly Indiana as well.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Oh! What a day!!

The day I almost rain a half marathon in a hurricane!

Saturday as I carbo-loaded, I watched Ike descend into Missouri. Understanding that the race would be a wet one, I prepared myself to run in the rain (an activity I actually enjoy). My parents had arrived to cheer me. We ate and went to bed ready to awake at O-dark-thirty.

My friend arrived right on time and we headed out. When we left the city it was hardly raining at all, but a cheerleader called and reported the worse.... heavy rain! That wasn't going to get in my way of completing my first half marathon. It wasn't long until we were stopped on the interstate to exit while Ike unleashed on us. We slowly made our way to the exit and watched in fear not knowing what to expect. Soon it was 6:45 and we were still stuck in traffic. That didn't matter considering we weren't sure at this point whether there would even be a race. By the time we made it to the parking lot it was flooded. At points the water was 1-2 feet deep. The rain came down harder and the wind picked up. Finally, I made the call and sadly said it wasn't safe for me to be out there. I cried out of frustration having trained so hard for something and be so close to success. We began home and saw the idiots who decided to start at about mile 1. Runners who looked as if they had trained for the whole thing were having trouble even walking in this storm.
As we slowly made our way back to the city we saw 40 being shut down and water over the interstate at several points. We were going to go out for breakfast, but figured it was better to only have to get out of the car once instead of three times. My friend left and we went inside to cook a breakfast when I saw the huge puddle of water in my kitchen. The window above my door was leaking water so badly it was basically raining in the kitchen. Time to call the landlord, clean the mess, and continue with breakfast.

Soon my parents left and I took my nap. Later that night I figured I was already loaded with carbs and highly hydrated so I'd go for a run. As I began I figured I'd run to my sbux and back making it a 8 mile run. On my way I threw my middle finger to Ike and said F you, I'm running a half marathon today!!

I was really concerned with daylight so I ended up running a lot more in the beginning then I should have. I left and headed straight down Tower Grove Ave feeling amazing. Even as I turned into Forest Park without stopping to walk, I felt great. Made my way down to Skinker taking a short break and dreading the sun going down. After taking quick potty break and I began running for my life... possibly literally as I ran through a pretty sketchy neighborhood to get home. And I ditched the headphones in order to hear everything around me. I didn't stop until I got to Rosa, a street I deemed safe enough to walk in. But, it was so stinkin dark and I was so tired that I walked a bunch in the middle of the street. Finally, I made it home! 13.05 miles later! I know, I know, I skipped .05 miles, but who cares... it counts in my books!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

At Long Last

I've been waiting until I got to tell some people about the Nike Human Race in person. Nothing spoils a good story more than "yea, I read your blog." Here we are, a couple weeks later and at the dawn of the half marathon.

The trip to Chicago actually begins the night before when I went to a party instead of going home to pack and get some rest. Needless to say, I got about an hour and a half of sleep before boarding my train at 4:30 a.m. I originally thought my train left at 6:30 a.m. My mom thought the same thing when she bought her ticket. She got on half way to Chicago at the station near her home. She awoke to find a text message telling her I'd safely arrived on the train and we were pulling out of St. Louis. She quickly gathered her suitcase and headed to the station to pay another $26 in order to board my train. My brother also got a rude awakening when we arrived two hours ahead of "schedule."

The race was an evening race which meant we had the whole day to waste in Chicago. Unfortunately, I couldn't walk around much. We killed some time playing guitar hero and taking pictures...
My mom surprised me by making "Team Katie" shirts!!

The time finally came to meet up with my friend and dawn the way to tight shirt. Everyone (all 14,000 of us) had to wear the race shirt which had our bib number on it. We took a cab to Soldier Field. The field was open so we went in to take a look after taking some more pictures!

Before long it was time to head to the start line. Chicago had the largest race of the day which was exciting to be a part of. We dropped my mom, brother, and future sister-in-law off and took our mark. It only took about 7 minutes to cross the start line after the gun fired. While we were waiting I realized that even if we finished last in Chicago, surely someone in the world would be slower than me.

As soon as we crossed the start we began running south towards McCormick place where we entered their tunnel and experienced a dj and a laser show. We continued south onto Lake Shore Drive. The entire time we were passed by fitter, faster runners. I had to stop myself from turning around in fear that there wouldn't be anyone back there. Finally my friend told me to see who was behind us. To my amazement there were as many people behind us as infront of us. Soon we it the 5K mark where I exclaimed "this is the farthest I've ever run during a race!!!" I kept going and turned north up a much too small bike path.

The sight was spectacular. We had the lake on our right with a bunch of sailboats out, the sun setting to our left, and the entire Chicago skyline ahead of us. It gave me chills to see what we were a part of. Without knowing it I hit the 5 mile mark and was shocked to realize I hadn't stopped running yet. When the realization came over me I immediately started running faster. My friend looked at me and said "you know you're going faster right?" All I could utter was "I know, this is the farthest I've EVER run!! I'm pumped." That sprint of energy soon left as we got slowed by two ambulances on the very small course. It took my friend to get me back on course.

Since there were so many people in the start shoot, my family couldn't see me start. I wanted to make sure they could see me finish (honestly, I wanted a picture)! I borrowed my friends cell phone and called them as we made one of the last turns. My mom couldn't hear me and was watching as they put someone into an ambulance. I gave up on trying to call and simply texted. Mind you, I wasn't going to stop running. I was bound and determined to run the entire 10K.

The finish line was in sight, but I couldn't find my family. Finally I see them just to the left. They didn't see me so I started yelling for them. And, got my picture!!!

After finishing we were handed our finishers award and went into the mass of people to get our free stuff and the chip removed. This area was extremely disorganized and we just wanted out. We met backup with the family for some more pictures.

My brother asked if I wanted a shot of tequilla. I answered no, but a beer sounds really good. Before heading to dinner to get that celebratory beer, I showered at the hotel and ice myself.

This was by far the most exciting, best race I've ever been a part of. It prepared me and boasted my confidence for the half marathon coming up on Sunday. I also learned a few things:

1. I'm getting a disposable camera for the half.
2. Gu is amazing!
3. Always order the race type shirts a size up.
4. Running in Chicago is awe inspiring!
5. I can run 6.2 miles without stopping.

Come back to read and see the results from the half!