Two weeks ago I got really, really nervous about this whole marathon thing. We had 22 miles, our longest training run, on the calendar, and woke up to this:
Though we'd been running in the rain a few times, we had never had a rainy day on a long run. I think the longest we'd done in the rain was 10 miles or so with a very light drizzle. The Team for Kids coaches have encouraged us to run in all kinds of weather so we will be prepared for anything on the day of the marathon. The sky was cloudy, but the forecast only called for scattered showers, so we stalled a little before heading out.
Since we were heading out late, I rummaged around the kitchen for a little snack before we left, not wanting to be hungry too early in the run. We had some leftover tiramisu from the night before, and I thought: perfect, a little sugar for me to burn as fuel. I did not think about how much dairy is in tiramisu, and how mad my stomach might be with dairy as fuel. Lesson learned.
It was a lovely run until mile 3. That's right - with 19 miles still to go, we got caught in a squall just as we were running by the planetarium, which is on a peninsula that juts out into Lake Michigan. We got completely drenched. And my stomach hurt. Not fun.
After about 5 minutes, the rain passed. A few miles later, my stomach calmed down, and though we were a little chilly, we kept at it, following our usual route north along the lake to Hollywood and back home.
By the time we were at mile 13 I was ready to quit. It wasn't until later that I learned from a friend that the biggest challenge of running in the rain is not that you are wet or cold, it is that once your feet are soaked, they slip around a little bit in your shoes. So, with every step you are putting stress on micro-muscles in your legs that you use for balance. Little tiny muscles that you don't normally notice, unless you've been in heels for an entire day, or running in wet shoes for 10 miles.
By mile 18 my entire body hurt. I was questioning whether I could really run a marathon, I was cold and whining. I've never been so grateful for Evan being my running partner next to me, literally taking my arm and pulling me back into a run when I wanted to quit and walk a mile from home.
We made it to 21-point-something miles and called it good. I've never been so sore in my life, but, once I got over being totally defeated and sore, I feel better prepared for the marathon with that experience behind me.
And luckily, last week's long run was a MILLION times better.
We'd heard about the Monster Dash half marathon on Friday, and discovered we could sign up at the expo on Saturday. With 13 miles on the calendar for our last long run, this was a perfect solution to get the miles in, practice running in a crowd (something we've missed since leaving NYC), and, did I mention this was a costume race? What a great excuse to go running wearing my tiara.
With one afternoon to come up with costumes, I decided to go with something I already had on hand - Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Evan decided to wear a fedora and we created a skinny tie and "pocket" detail on his shirt with electrical and duct tape. These were actually great costumes, because we were both wearing mostly running clothes.
It was a great race. We ran the first half together, though I was trailing Evan a little bit because I did not want to go out too fast and fade too early. We both had the idea that we would like to finish under 2 hours, so we were running a little over a 9-minute pace during the first half. I was pretty confident in running a negative split, but Evan was roaring to go, so he took off after mile 7. I stayed behind him for a while, but I'm just not as fast as he is.
In the end, we both came in with new PRs. Evan finished in 1:55 and I finished in 1:58. What a great boost going into our taper for the marathon! We were on such a high, we walked home wearing our costumes, and enjoyed the lovely day and the Chicago sites.
Like the bean! People probably thought we were a little crazy walking along Michigan Avenue at 10:30am on a Sunday morning wearing costumes and race medals, but we had a great time. We couldn't resist one last cute pic - how many opportunities will I ever have to have breakfast at Tiffany's, especially dressed like this?!