My SparkPeople vlog I did can probably best describe my expo day, which essentially had me leaving the expo in happy, honored, and speechless tears. It also had me feeling like I could have run a marathon Sunday. It was very smart to do the expo with lectures on Saturday prior to the race -- it was the perfect motivation for the race the next day.
My mother and I walked to Soldier Field from the el station and got there about half an hour before race time. We checked our bags at gear check and hit the portapotties (which had a super long line) before we went to the start line. Got out of the stall and, bummer, no hand washing station. Gross.
But there was no time to wander around looking for hand wipes or sanitizer or anything, as Dolvett was on the stage at the starting line and we had to make a mad dash for the incredibly crowded corral. It was a little bit too crowded, especially considering that it really seemed that the number of entrants was not hugely massive.
|The starting line|
As we passed the start, just off to the left was a platform on which stood Dolvett, Danni, Dan and Jackie, cheering us on as we started off. My wave was released and I headed off. I followed Francelina's advice to the T and started as slow as I could muster, busting ahead of the handful of folks in front of me in the wave but feeling no further need to get ahead of anyone.
I was feeling phenomenal throughout the entire race, but it particularly opened up after the 5K and 15K courses split, which was only after about 1.5 miles. It was also at the Inspiration Station featuring Pam and Jackson. I reached out to Pam, who knew who I was at that point. She immediately recognized me, grabbed my hand and said "Hey! Run with me for a minute!" and she fell into my stride next to me. "How you doing, doing good?" and I said, "Yeah feeling great!" She said, "Great! Good luck, and see you at the finish line!" She then returned back to the little event tent she shared with Jackson.
After the split, the course opened up. With fewer 15K run participants than, well, anything else, there was just a huge amount of open space for the remainder of the race, which was such a luxury on the lakefront trail.
I literally was smiling throughout the entire race. I don't even know what was going on, but I felt I could have run for a decade. I was just so happy and excited and empowered that I just kept pounding the pavement with pure delight. Particularly around Mile 6, there was a little outcropping in the trail and the entire Chicago skyline was on a big vista right in front of the course. Several racers in front of me stopped to take photos -- I didn't, but that provided a huge boost for me. It was a perfect day weather-wise, completely clear, and the entire city was basically on a platter on this vista.
|Rounding the finish|
I was just happily running and then realized that I was about to round the corner to the finish. From the corner to the finish, it was really only about 0.1 or 0.2 miles, and I turned it on. I have never before found the power to sprint for a finish at any distance, but I saw that the finish was super close and I all-out sprinted. There were all these people lining the finish cheering and screaming and pushing me onward.
|Francelina and me after the finish|
I got my medal, my first 15K medal, and dug into the boxes lining the post-finish line: water, banana, bagel.
My mom and I wandered down to the finishers' area where 5K awards were being handed out. I picked up my bag from gear check and did my post-race interview with Biggest Loser RunWalk after having done the long background interview with them during the expo the day prior.
|Mom, Jackson, me and Pam after finish|
Again, more is in that vlog on SparkPeople, but even after the race was a continuation of the phenomenal experience. Afterward, I still ended up being OK. I was sore and had to get on a plane just a few hours later for work, but I wore some compression socks for the remainder of the day, including in the airport and on the plane, and I felt OK.
|Jeff, me and Francelina after the finish|
Keep an eye out for my video interviews on the Biggest Loser RunWalk website! I will definitely alert everyone when I see it, but keep an eye.
Biggest Loser RunWalk 15K
August 4, 2013