It was going to be great. The crème de la crème of road races had been on my calendar since the first of the year. 10-10-10. What a day to do something memorable! Finishing a marathon without spraining my ankle was the goal and I was convinced that there could not be a finer setting for a re-run than that of Chicago. Could not have chosen finer people to run alongside either. It was to be Sam’s 11th and Kristin’s 1st…a veteran’s experience and first-timer’s joy. What a combo. And could there be a better pre-race, carb-loading meal than that of Chicago deep dish pizza? Absolutely not.
The hotel was to be out of this world (thanks again, Kat!)…on the Magnificent Mile, just steps away from Nordstrom’s. A fabulous pre-race night’s sleep would be mine with a careful selection from the pillow menu. (No kidding…the pillow menu.) And could one choose a more delightful post-race retreat than a rooftop terrace? Again, I think not. Yes. This re-run was going to be great...
...great, that is, until the following happened:
Back in late June, with multiple short runs, two 13-milers and one 15-miler under my belt… I was grounded. The pain was excruciating and the swelling was immense. At first it was believed that I had a stress fracture in my right foot. After spending a week on crutches, the MRI ruled that out (thank goodness) and I limped out of the doctor’s office with tenosynovitis. Marathon hopes were dim, but still aflame.
After 3 weeks the swelling decreased enough to wear a barely laced running shoe. Clearance came to run again. And I did so...for just one measly mile. And the next day, I couldn’t wear a shoe...not even a barely laced one. Pain was now isolated on the top of my foot. (?) I couldn’t find a runners forum under the sun with a post about top-of-the-foot pain. Bottom-of-the-foot pain? Thousands of entries. Top? Nada.
After missing 4 weeks of training, marathon dreams were dead and I was beyond disappointed. And to make matter worse, I was still scratching my head wondering what I had done. Eventually the swelling abated. I slipped my foot in a flip-flop for the first time in five weeks and instantly, the searing top-of-foot pain returned. Suddenly, I remembered a little incident I had in a crowded mall with my flip-flops. Suffice it to say, the flip didn’t flip, so I nearly flopped and what ordinarily would have been a harmless, painless little soft-tissue injury between my 1st and 2nd toe turned into a massive edematous nightmare after the next scheduled 15 mile run. And then it all made sense.
I was relieved on the one hand (thank heavens this wasn’t a real running injury), yet greatly disappointed on the other. I texted my friends to dispense the news. Veronica immediately texted back to let me know that she and Sarah had just booked tickets to Chicago to cheer me on. Go figure. This fabulous event was to be the high point of an otherwise not-so-fabulous year. And the see saw thuds, yet again…
Yet, as always, there’s a story to be told. And while it can’t compare to the glory of a finish line, it is still a good one. I went to Chicago. The pizza was delightful; the hotel, amazing; the city, fabulous; and the friends, so wonderful. How thankful I was to have Sarah and Veronica there to keep me company to watch the 45,000 runners run by. We were able to see Sam on the course, but missed Kristin by just a few minutes. We met them both at the finish line. They cranked out 26.2 long miles in the 90-degree horrendous heat. Impressive. So proud of them.
While in Chicago, I especially enjoyed walking around the windy city with Sarah and Veronica. Just being there remined me why I love that place so much. What a town! I left two things undone while there two years ago: The Drake and a run along Lake Shore Drive. Consider those done.
And be it noted that while on that run in Chicago, I did manage to crank out 26.2 along the shores of Lake Michigan!
10/9/11…when 26.2 minutes turn into 26.2 miles!