Monday, July 30, 2012

Chicago Pain

Last Sunday I completed the second of three planned half marathons to raise money for World Vision to be used for clean water projects in Africa.

As you are already aware, I signed up to run a half marathon in New York (completed in March in 3:08:52) and now the Chicago half (in 3:07:12).  My last 13.1 will be here in Dallas in October with the rest of my Team World Vision running mates.  I am looking forward to running with friends in a sea of orange jerseys.

My Chicago half was not as easy as I had planned...or at least as easy as running and walking 13.1 miles can be.  My first attempt was aborted in June because of some severe back pain.  Since then, I trained very hard to be ready for this make-up raise.  Angie and I planned a very quick trip to Chicago to get in, pick up my packet, run the next day, recover, and come home the following day.

Every part of the plan worked as planned except for some trouble with my calf that started at about 8.5 miles, but I am getting ahead of myself.

Angie and I flew into Chicago and arrived in the early afternoon.  I had to pick up my packet at an expo, so we got a cab and stopped by the hotel to check in and drop off our bags.  We then headed over to the expo for packet pick up.  Everything worked out great and we even spent some time at the expo picking up my packet, t-shirt, and a bunch of free samples of stuff.  It was fun.

We knew we had to pack it early, as the race was scheduled for a 6:30am start.  I "yelped" for Italian restaurants and found one not too far away.  It was early, so there wasn't a lot of people there yet.  I carb loaded with pasta and drank a lot of water to hydrate.  We had a very nice meal and went to the hotel to relax and go to bed.

The next morning came way too quickly and I was up at 4:00am.  After stretching and dressing, we left for the race.  We arrived much more quickly than I expected, so we had about an hour to waste.  We walked around the tents for a while and headed off for my corral, number 29 - the last corral to start.  There were over 20,000 runners, so it took at least 30 minutes to reach the start line.  As crossed the line, I started my GPS tracker and intervals.  There were a lot of people bunched up at the start, so the going was pretty slow as we headed into the city.  Almost immediately, we went under a long stretch that was essentially underground.  At that point, my GPS lost signal and I wasn't getting my interval data, so I basically ran until I couldn't, then walked for a while, and ran some more.  My GPS finally reconnected, but it had added a mile to my distance.  Because of that, I had incorrect pace statistics and didn't have a clue how fast I had been going.  I think my first mile may have been around 11 minutes, which for me is way too fast.  That speed likely continued for a while, and since I hadn't looked at the clock when I passed the start line, I didn't know what I real time was.  Ultimately, the time on my GPS was right, but the distance was off, over 1.5 miles at the finish line.

Prior to 8.5 miles, I felt great.  It was a little warm and humid, but training in Texas helped prepare me for that.  At one point, I heard my name being called...I look up and saw the orange of Angie's World Vision jersey.  I had no clue, but she had moved to see me pass and to get some breakfast.  Seeing her was awesome, and really got me pumped, so I started running again.  No soon than passing her, my calf started to cramp.  Not too bad at first, but enough to know that it was going to give me a problem.  My right hamstring was tight, but I knew I could ignore that.  I wasn't so sure about the calf.  I walked/ran to the 9 mile clock and saw that I was a good couple of minutes in front of my goal to do the first nine in two hours.  I also knew that my calf was getting worse.  I tried running 1 minute intervals, but by the time I hit 10 miles I knew I was in trouble.  My right ankle starting hurting very badly...not the same pain that I've had, but a shooting pain in the front where the foot meets the leg.  I contemplated removing my ankle brace, but decided to leave it on.  I also decided that my run was over and that I would walk the remainder.
As the pain got worse (in calf and ankle) I started to think that I might not be able to finish.  The pain was excruciating.  I prayed and just focused on moving forward.  Each time I thought I would have to quit, the pain lessened and I thought about my friends in Kenya.  I continued past Soldier Field and was almost home.  I limped toward the end, found Angie waiting for me and finished.  I have no idea what the clock said, and didn't care...I finished.

But, I'm not finished trying to raise money for clean water...I'm not anywhere close to my goal.  I have one more race and I need your donations.  So, visit my fundraising page and make a donation today.  [[[ CLICK HERE TO VISIT MY FUNDRAISING PAGE ]]]



Angie Lessard said...

I love you and I'm so proud of you!!

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