Saturday, January 21, 2012

Warm Hands, Heavy Heart and a Numb Bum - Polar Dash

It's been a hard week. The week started off with a funeral. A husband of a friend died suddenly. I watched her strength with sadness. I broke my heart to see her and her girls. I never know what to say, but there's so much to feel. My heart was heavy.

The afternoon after the funeral I went for a run with another friend. We ran the trails in the snow. There were rolling hills, and at times it didn't even feel like we were moving. However, after the run I felt it. For days. In my bum and hip. It became depressing not being able to run. Even sitting hurt, a lot. I had anti inflammatories, iced, rolled and massaged. I was miserable.

Later in the week another friend had a family crisis. I knew her life was going to change dramatically, and I felt for her and her family. My heart was heavier. The pain in my body was diminishing, but I didn't know if I'd be healthy enough for Saturday's Chicago Polar Dash half marathon. To add injury to injury, I pulled a muscle sitting cross legged doing my calculus homework. For real?!! I knew I was going to have run slow to avoid further injury.

The Friday before the half it snowed. Snowed buckets - 6 to 8 inches in our area. The roads were cleared out by the morning of the race, and my company down, Bobbi Welch and Dave Christensen, was fantastic. We all knew that the race had a great potential to be sucky, since it had been rescheduled. And by the way, there were sucky parts. The lake effect snow was falling as we pulled into the parking lot. We did have the best parking, which worked out well, because we were able to put our gear in the car instead of gear check and get back to the race in time. The gear check line was around the block by the time we were ready to check it. The warming tent was fabulous. A great place to figure out what to wear. I had bought some hand warmers. Dave and I used them. They were very helpful at rewarming my hands after walk breaks and on the way home.

Dave, Bobbi and I

The half marathon was two out-and-backs in virtually the same track. Except the second time out was farther and the extra three-quarter mile out just about broke my spirit. Truly sucky. And the turn around was at the top of a hill. It didn't help that I didn't pick up water/powerade at the aide station at mile 8.5 and had to wait until 11.5. I was so thirsty by then, daydreaming of water. The first time out the wind and snow was brutal. The left side of my face froze. Icicles on my face, scarf and hat. The snow on the trail was sloppy and squashy.

My glute was tight, and when Bobbi and I took our first walk break at 5.5 it really helped. After the first turn around it got much better. The wind was kind of at our backs, and the pack thinned considerably. There were so many people at the beginning that every time we got a rhythm the trail would clog.

Okay, another sucky part. After finishing the first out-and-back we had to run through the finish line to go out again. I could have gotten double medals. And there was no course marshal to guide us on the first turn past the finish. Going through the finish and continuing running is depressing.

The weather had gotten much better on the second out-and-back. We had some spots that we got into a great pace with no interruptions. As mentioned before second half was long and thirsty. They did give whole bottles of water/powerade instead of cups. It was a good idea so that the water dumped didn't freeze on the ground, but carrying the bottles was a bit awkward. Bobbi needed a stretching break and I needed a pit stop around mile 12. We were taking it easy so it didn't matter that we had just a little left. The last mile was much more comfortable for both of us.

Sag is always following me!

I finished in 2:36:19 No shame in a slow half in January in Chicago in snow in below freezing weather. Overall it was decent. Nice bling. I was a little put out that there wasn't any hot chocolate left when we finished. I got one at Something's Brewing back home, and it was delish.

Bling, Bling & Bling

I'm feeling pretty good tonight. I hope I feel good tomorrow. Hoping for selective amnesia about the race. I just want to remember the good, and yes, I'm done complaining about the bad. First half marathon of the year is d-o-n-e!

Done and Done

1 comment:

  1. I threw out my back somewhere in the course of the day. It's feeling better today, but last night was kind of miserable.

    Stealing your pictures - hope you don't mind! (I love the finish line photo!)