Monday, October 10, 2011

Thank Yous!!!!


I want to take a few moments to thank EVERYONE who has been a part of this amazing experience. First and foremost, the race would have been nothing without all the volunteers that were there that day, cheering on, handing out water, medical assistance, etc. Not to mention all of the spectators that had extra stuff like pretzels, jolly ranchers and oranges!!! Super awesome!!!

Then there is everyone at the gym that has been along for my marathon trip the whole time. Every morning I had someone asking me how my training was going, and giving me tips on things like stretching and eating. I didn't participate in the CARA training program this year, bc I didn't know there was one in hyde park, but having this great community of runners to talk to and get feedback from really helped keep me going. In particular thank you to Shauna Anderson, Carrissa Sain, Sidra James, & April Harkness.

I also want to thank Vinnie Bahl for helping with weight lifting. I had never seriously lifted weights in my life and he took the time out to show me how to use the machines and what they would do. I appreciate all of the time effort and energy you gave to me Vin!

Thank you to everyone who donated to my American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) Fund. It was great to run for a cause and next year I think I will partner with the PAWS running team because I have two of best cats from there and I think every animal deserves a good home. But donators include: Linda Lavery, Becky Schmitt, Megan Ulery, Jim & Michelle Steele, Karen & Roy Matiya, Marek Sobiech & Ilona Sobiech, Peter Sobiech, Katie Trela and Allison, Steve & Peter Horton. Thank you all so much in helping me along in my goal.

Thank you to Alison Kool, who helped me get through the 20 miler and started me off strong for the marathon. What an amazing girl to have worked so hard and finished her first marathon as well. CONGRATS ALISON!!!! YOU'RE AMAZING!!!! Also I have to thank her brother, Bill Kool, who was there for the 20 miler with a cow bell at almost every mile marker and was also there to start both of us off at the marathon. I ran into him around mile 15 and it was pretty great to have someone making sure you're still goin' strong. Thanks Bill! (And Good Luck in your next marathon!!!!)

A special Thank You to Megan Ulery, for staying over with me the night before, helping me get ready in the morning (doing my hair and making sure I didn't forget anything) BUT especially for being a STELLAR athletic trainer and friend to me after the race....she's probably most of the reason I could walk afterwards.

Thank you to all of my friends who came out to the race, Lauren Tarpey, Katie Trela, Isabelle Collazo, Shauna Anderson, Sarah Spunt, and anyone else who I didn't get to see but came out, THANK YOU! Also! if you were following me by text, thank you!!! (Especially Michele Koehler who had gone through one heck of a crazy week but was still super supportive!!) It was great to have so many people connected to me and every time I stepped over the time clocker I would think, "Well now they know where I'm at!"

An extra big THANK YOU! to Mrs. Ulery, Asia Sobiech, Grandma Steele, Aunt Michelle, Uncle Jim, Courtney, Matthew, Abbey, and Isabelle Collazo for actually jumping into the race with me! You guys helped A LOT and it was great to run with you!!!!! :)

Thank you to Lauren Tarpey, for helping me get pumped up the day before the race! She was great to go to breakfast with me and then the Marathon Expo. She's also been one of the best friends someone could ask for and a pretty bomb-ass runner herself :)

Thank you to my Grandma Matiya, Aunt Allison and cousin Peter for flying in all the way from Texas to see me! It's such a great feeling to know that your family cares about you enough to book a flight and hotel to see you run your first marathon. I feel so loved :)

Ok I'm almost done, just wanna make sure I get everyone.....

Thank you to my Dad who took time to come down and see me, it meant a lot to me popsicle <3

Thank you to Joe Kenahan, who I called on several times for advice with running, shoes, etc.

To Vicky Ha, who would continuously tell me I was crazy, in a good way, and that I was her hero :)

And to Dani Samons, who did several races with me and encouraged me throughout.

AND FINALLY! Thank you to everyone else!!!! Everyone who commented on Facebook, texted me, called me and was just there for me overall! I love you all soooo sooo much and you truly made this experience so much more real for me!!!!



After the Race

I have got to be one of the luckiest runners because right after I finished my friend Meg, who was working the medical tent at the finish line scoped me out and grabbed me. She put her arm around me for support and told me how amazing I was. We walked the 1/2 mile stretch and she picked me up water, a warming foil, and food. I was like "Meg I just wanna lay down" and she told me I had to make it out of the shoot before I could. I found the first patch of grass when we got out and just plopped down. As the amazing athletic trainer that she is, she went and got me some ice for my legs and made me keep drinking water.

About 5 minutes later I decided to go get my bag from the bag check to meet up with my family. I had 22 text messages from friends and family who must have been getting my updates, congratulating me on finishing. How great is that!? Meg and I made our way next over to Buckingham fountain to meet up with Izzy. At this point my family was scattered all over trying to find me so I plopped down on a curb on Congress and Columbus and basically told them to come find me :) When I met up with everyone is was this amazing experience! Hugs and cheers, encouragement and pride came from each and everyone! (I have the best family!) We took some pictures as I started to relay my story of the race, some of the funny signs I had seen and assuring everyone that I was actually feeling much better than I thought I was going to.

I got a call from my dad who told me come meet up with him on michigan and congress. So we all walked over there. There at the bus stop was my dad, other grandma, aunt and cousin with more hugs, encouragement, and a balloon and a bear :) So there we all stood, talking about where they had seen me, didn't see me, and the experiences of the day. We broke off after that, some of us to go eat and the rest to go home. I went with some family out to eat at Bennigans (which was delicious!) which was exciting too on a personal level because I didn't even think I'd be able to stand, let alone walk and go out to eat. After we ate I said goodbye to my one grandma who had flown in from Texas to see me, thanked her and was off to the car with the rest of my family to go home. Wrapped in my foil from the race because I was still pretty cold, we walked to the garage and it felt good to be going home.

After I was dropped off, and said my goodbyes, I decided to devote the last of my energy to a shower before I dropped into me bed and knocked out. I fell asleep around 5:30pm and slept until 8pm. Woke up for some water and then slept through the night until about 7am this morning. I woke up, a little pain in my legs and some in my back, but overall pretty good. I'll probably go for a walk or something later so my muscles don't cramp but I have to say, overall, it was a HUGE accomplishment and I plan on doing it again next year. Time to beat: 5:45:42. Training starts in June!!!! :)

The Race

Alison and I were ready to go, dancing our way up to the start line with thousands of people around us. But in all of that both of us noticed how much clothing was just cast aside, and both of us thinking, "will they come back for that? That's a really NICE sweatshirt!" haha. Anyways it only took us about 10 minutes to get to the start line, which in my opinion is really good. We took off and there were soooooo many people around us on both sides.

For the first few miles Alison and I were riling up the crowds, yelling at them that we couldn't hear them and they would cheer louder :) It was such an adrenaline rush to be going past all of these people, thinking how everything I had done so far had led up to this point! Which would explain how the first 6 miles or so felt so good! Alison was a great running partner for this though, my biggest problem running is pacing myself, I battled with it throughout my training, so when I got too far ahead and noticed she was behind me I'd pull back. I took in my first Gaterade "GU" around mile 6 (about an hour into the run) and man it packed a punch! Miles 7-13 were GREAT! I actually wish I would have slowed a bit bc it would come back to bite me later! But running those miles through Lincoln Park, Boys Town, it was PHENOMENAL!!!!

Around mile 14 I saw the first person I knew, the lovely Shauna!!! She hugged me and I took off again. I remember that is when it got hard. My stomach was starting to hurt and I was thinking it was because of the "GU" or not drinking enough water, so I drank more but as I was swallowing it down I was worried about the ratio of water to salt in my body, especially since it was so hot. I stopped somewhere around mile 15 to stretch it out bc my legs and knees were killing me! After I got up I felt a little better, lower body wise, but my stomach still killed, honestly all I wanted to do was puke, get it out and keep going! Alison and I touched base again around mile 16 but she was doing a little better than I was at that point so we ran together for a little while and then I told her to keep going bc her pace was faster than mine.

Finally around mile 17 I gave in and stopped at the med tent. I asked them for salt bc I felt like I was gonna puke. The lady had asked me if I had had any gaterade and I said no. (True story: I HATE drinking gaterade during a race, the one time I did for my first half marathon, after I finished I just projectile vomited gaterade afterward. So basically it left a bad taste in my mouth, literally!) But the lady at the med tent was like you NEED to drink some gaterade. So I sat there for a minute or two and drank the cup, slowly. The guy next to me was an older gentleman and he asked if I was ok, what a sweet guy! I told him I was just felt sick. He had his shoe off and was taping up his foot. Told me he had had a problem with his achilles for a while now so he was expecting this, but that he was going to try and finish. He asked me if I was going to finish and I told him it was a definite (I had to make it to China town to see my family!!!) After that moment we had I got up, wished him luck, and kept on my way.

I have to admit, miles 18-20 were ROUGH! I was on off walk/run and was totally in my head about finishing. But i kept going, and a good thing I did because around mile 20 I got some relief! Mrs. Ulery jumped in with me and it helped! A few blocks in i spotted Asia, who also jumped in with me (despite being in jeans and boots haha) They got me through probably 3 miles almost. We got through parts of Chinatown before Mrs. U pulled back. Asia ran a little farther with me until I ran into my family! What a warm welcome! Hugs and encouragement all around. Everyone jogged with me a little bit and it was enough of a boost to keep me going. I ran through miles 22 and 23. Mile 24 I ran into my family again, and it was GREAT! My grandma spotted me right away and actually ran over to me! She ran with me for a while and I couldn't have been happier, I mean my grandma ran in the marathon with me!!!! I finished off mile 24 and was determined to push through 25.

One more mile. ONE MORE MILE!!!! I put on my Jock Jams mix and picked up my pace. I was gonna finish strong, no walking! Just before I got to Roosevelt though I ran into Izzy and she jogged with me for about a minute before they kicked her out. "See you at the finish," she says. "I'll be there". The last leg of the race was the hardest, up the hill on Roosevelt, but god damn i PUSHED! There were so many people around me and I was in the moment. I got up the beast of a hill and the finish line was in sight! A new song comes on, "Ladies and Gentlemen, let's get ready to rumble!!!!" I start to pick up my pace and there are tons of people around me. I ran to the left side and started interacting with the crowd. "I can't hear you!!!! It's right there, the finish is right there!!!!!" Everyone started yelling and I took off. Closer, closer, sooo close!!!! "Look at her go, look at her go, she's gonna go ALLLLLL THE WAAAAAAYYYY!!!!!"


The Morning of the Race

4am my alarm goes off. 4:03 the snooze alarm goes off. I jump out of bed, grab my jacket and keys to grab a cup of coffee. I didn't have any milk and I am a daily coffee drinker so I didn't want to change that up on race day. So I headed over to Dunkin Donuts (bc as Isabelle Collazo put it yesterday, Sam RUNS on Dunkin :) hahaha). When I got back my place Meg was already up and getting ready. I turned on the radio, bc who doesn't love a dance party at 4:30 in the morning!? Two french braids, a bowl of outmeal and a review of the check list later and we head out the door to the bus. When we transferred from the 55 to the red line there was a group of people also headed down to the race that greeted us with hoots and hollers of excitement. Meg and I only had a momentary lapse of judgement when we got off the red line, couldn't figure out which way was east but the, being college educated women, we decided to follow the groups of people going to the left. We made it to Grant Park just a few minutes before 6 and Meg & I parted ways as she went to go get her assignment in the med tent. I had a whole hour before I wanted to line up so I sat, stretched, had my picture taken a bazillion times by the Marathon people and then met up with a friend I ran the 20 miler with a few weeks ago. I should preface, I was struggling a little when I did the 20 miler bc I cramped somewhere around mile 14. So I threw myself to the ground and tried to stretch it out. Then I hear, "Are you ok?!" I replied back, "yea, just cramping". I got up after that and decided to follow the girl. Six miles later we realized we had so much in common...not to mention getting through those last few miles together definitely helped :) So the morning of the race we met up at Grant Park and lined up together. The line up was AMAZING! So many people coming together to accomplish one goal: Run 26.2 miles! While in line I was freeeeeezing, despite all of the body heat around me, it was probably a lot of nerves too though. Before you knew it the guy who sings for the blackhawks games was performing the national anthem and the elite runners had made way! We were next.....