Thursday, October 11, 2007

Left Foot, Right Foot, Repeat

It was a whirlwind weekend all to support my girl, Arlene!!!

Joey and I left out first thing Saturday morning to go out there. Thankfully Arlene had already picked up my stuff so I just had to get there and relax. We did do some arts and crafts upon my arrival.

I thought we would call ourselves A-Team for Arlene, as it would just make us laugh to hear people cheer for that!

Arlene was dreading the weather as she is not a hot weather fan and pretty much prefers not to really even train in it, let along run a marathon.

But we did not have a choice, so we boarded the L and arrived downtown to the start. Needless to say, even at this early hour, it was warm and humid and were already plenty warm outside in our shorts and a tank.


There were so many people, small walkways and I learned what hearded cattle must feel like. Finally we got all things taken care of--drop bag dropped, restroom hit and then we lined up with the 9:30 pace group.

The excitement was overwhelming! With a hug about 5 and a half minutes later after the official start, surprisingly we started to move forward!

Mile 1 8:51
Mile 2 10:00

We saw the family!! My husband Joey, my aunt and uncle (Arlene's parents), and her roommate were all out spectating and taking pictures!!! I think this was the only time they saw Arlene smiling!!! We had almost missed them as it is hard to pick out people from the crowd. Some people made signs so they could be easily this one which my hubby thought was so funny that we needed a picture!

As we passed through the city, every street was stuffed full of spectators. The bank sign read 74 degrees as we passed and fortunately the city buildings provided shade.

Mile 3 9:27
Mile 4 9:34
Mile 5 9:44

Arlene had not been talking much and I was trying my best not to annoy her but to try to keep her mind off how much further we had to go. As we headed out towards Wrigley there was a long stretch out by the high way in the bright sun and it was really starting to warm things up. By mile 6 we walked through the water stop so Arlene could take in a gel and get some water. We talked about with it being so hot today that is was going to be important to take in plenty of fluid even if it meant falling off your pace goal. Already Ar was so hot, that it was going to be plenty fine by her!!

Mile 6 11:01
Mile 7 10:31
Mile 8 10:37
Mile 9 12:43

As we tracked through boystown I was cheering and laughing. It was men cheerleaders, men in drag, men in army fatigues with their fakes guns singing and dancing slamming their guns on the stage while sticking there butts out!!!! I howled with laughter.

Mile 10 11:14
Mile 11 15:42 -- Arlene had finally found that bathroom she was looking for! I took this time to sit down on the sidewalk to stretch out my piliformis (as yet the butt pain is forver there!!) It was at this point that I really started to notice just how much everyone was really suffering. I saw several people just littering the med tent and streets who looked as though they were just done, some with IV's. I had been hearing the sirens all morning and obviously many were not dealing with the heat well.

Mile 12 12:24
Mile 13 11:35

Half way 2:24:38 - At this point, it hit home that this was going to be one heck of a long run and we were going to go over 5 hours! Just after half way we saw the family again. Seeing them always brought a smile to my face and I would wave and Arlene struggled to acknowledge them at this point. Actually I think I was doing a ton of smiling through the race. Although I was focused on getting Ar through her first mary, I was so preoccupies with all the entertainment and spectators---SO AMAZING!!!

Mile 14 13:08
Mile 15 & 16 25:49

We were walking all water stops often for at least a minute or 2. I was pretty much drinking one gatorade and two waters per stop as was Arlene. Fortunately for us, we have always drank a lot together...only this time there was no alcohol involved. Ar was struggling with the heat. I remember E's trick with ice in the sports bra which turned out to be one of Ar's favorite tricks for the day. She was melting and made the extra effort to hit every hose and sprayer while dumping water over her head. I knew she was struggling but she continued on.

Mile 17 12:15 As we came back through town I read another temperature sign which said 93 degrees...or we will just call it friggin HAWT!!

Mile 18 16:07 About this time she looked at me with a look of misery to say "Marathons aren't easy!" My response was that I don't think anyone ever thinks a marathon is easy, even the great athletes.

Mile 19 13:27

Fire hydrants were popped and we were told the marathon was officially over due to the unsafe heat. "Please walk to the nearest water area where buses will begin transporting people back to the start."

At first Arlene did not think they were serious. I had been watching through the day. Sirens were constant, people were struggling and I said "They're serious."

We were not sure what to do exactly we walked some as we were told not sure what the heck was going on.

Mile 20--FINALLY!!! 14:48

How long was this process going to take? I was so disappointed for Ar. She had worked so hard and had been hydrating well. She had trained all summer. She deserved to finish. We decided to keep moving forward for now while we seen how this way playing out.

Mile 21 - 12:05

Then Ar started to get mad, "F this, I am finishing this thing!!"

Thatz my girl and I was proud!!!

Mile 22 - 10:45!!! Fastest mile in a long time!

You could see the state of confusion all over the course. Announcers and police were yelling at people to stop running. We would walk momentarily when passing and start to run again. The thing was almost everyone was now walking. We weaved through the people now just wanting to get to the finish.

Mile 23 17:58

She was doing great and we even started to cheese it up for the cameras as the camera guys were surprised to see some smiles at that point!

Mile 24 13:59

At this time Arlene said she did not want to walk anymore because it hurt too bad to start again. We skipped the first water stop in forever!

Mile 25 & 26, I missed the splits.

As we entered the final stretch, Arlene was moving!!!! She practically sprinted the last two hundred and crossed the finish line in 5:21:36!!!

I am not sure which miles were the toughest for her. My guess is 12-20, when she knew how far she had left to go. After the race announcement, she was so angry, that I think she got a second wind and anger pushed her through those final miles. She had even started talking to me!!

At the end of the day as we collected our medals and I was so happy to have had the opportunity to experience this crazy marathon day! I will forever be proud of Ar's determination to finish in the heat which she hated!

Morals of the story to others-Stay hydrated to finish
Train in all conditions as you never know what weather will get thrown at you on race day!


Charlie said...

That is an amazing story. I can't imagine the frustration she must have felt after training so hard. 1st Marathons are so special.

E-Speed said...

you chicas did great out there!

JenC said...

Way to finish strong amongst all the chaos and congrats to both of you!

Brian said...

I'm picturing in my head a scene from a horror flick with barren streets and only 2 survivors pushing on to save the world! Nice job!

Papa Louie said...

Way to go A-team! Very nice of you to be there for Arlene on her marathon adventure. Congratulations to the both of you.

Lana said...

Wow - what a great report! Congrats to your cousin, and to you for being so supportive!

B Bop said...

What an experience that turned out to be!! I had heard news of what went on and am really glad to be able to read your account of it.

Congrats to Arlene and way to go helping her across the finish line on such a tough day!!

Mallie said...

Sounds like you guys had an anazing adventure.