Preparing for a long run is funny. You guys know I don’t really like calling myself a runner. I mean I do but I don’t. Sometimes I swear I have an identity crisis.
Anyway, running for me is a funny funny thing. Sometimes I can run a mile or two and hate every single second of it. I’m constantly questioning why I’m doing it. What’s the point? However, when it’s over I always feel FANTASTIC but the actual act of running can sometimes be tortuous.
Then there are times I can run 5,6,7 even 10 miles and love every single second of it. I’m shocked how every miles seems to fly by. It may be physically hard but in a strange way I enjoy it. And of course I always feel FANTASTIC when finish.
Today was one of those latter days. I’ve been psyching myself up for a 12 mile run in Chicago while here for BlogHer. I was worried about it but at the same time I knew the more people I told and the more I said to myself I was going to run 12 miles the more I’d be prepared. It’s almost like studying for a test without having to remember any facts. I can’t just cram for a 12 miles run the night before I have to let my brain get used to the idea for a few days. Honestly, I think that makes a big difference in my mental state for any run.
So this morning when I got up around 6:30 (you’d think with no kid and no husband I’d sleep in, right? nope not me.) I was tired but excited for my run (all the studying paid off.) I wanted to see the trails on the lake and take advantage of the flat long paved path while in Chicago.
The run started beautifully. It was a sterling day. Perfect temperature and a nice breeze off the lake.
The first 2 miles were a CINCH! I swear all these flat runs are really starting to spoil me! The fact that I didn’t have music didn’t phase me a bit. Oh! I forgot to tell you. My headphones broke. So I ran music-less but was still able to use the Nike+. I have to admit, I didn’t miss the tunes at all. I’m surprised as I love music but the beautiful views kept me going. Plus I had a ton to ponder from the conference.
Around the 2.5 mile mark I noticed a water station! Apparently Fleet Feet sponsors water stations around the lake. How cool is that?!?
I started running again after a quick chat with the water station volunteers. As I’m admiring the view and thinking about a few things I overhear two women I’m passing. They mention the word Expo and I have to ask them if they were at the BlogHer conference. It ends up they weren’t but we chatted for a little while while we ran.
After a bit I peaked at my arm for the mileage (remember, I don’t have headphones) and I was SHOCKED to see 4.2 miles. I just ran 4 miles with no music and it was a breeze. I kept a nice slow steady pace and just got lost in my thoughts while people watching and taking in the beautiful area.
It was around this time my back started to hurt. I’m a little worried as this was the first time I’ve ever had pain while running. I’ve gone to a chiropractor but I want to get a second opinion. As soon as my benefits kick in from the new job I’m going to seek out a specialist. My doctor doesn’t seem to think its a big deal but knowing my family history (Mom just got back surgery) I want a second opinion. This time the pain was definitely spinal.
So I eased up a bit and checked my milage again. Almost 6 miles already! 6 was my halfway point but I actually wanted to go a bit further so I’d end where the water was when I was finished. Then I could take a nice stroll back to the hotel. I really like walking a bit after a run. I’m not sure why.
I decided to run until I found a nice spot. Coming up on some boats and I was just about 6.5 miles in. Perfect. I stopped to give my back a rest and snap a photo for twitter (I was shooting updates during the run.)
I then walked just a little but until picking up my pace again. I loved the different view on the way back. Speaking of, you know what I saw beside to beautiful skyline, gorgeous lake and crystal blue sky?
People walking and running. Skating and rollerblading. Swimming and hiking. There were running groups and solo cyclists. Mom’s with strollers and Dad’s with really cool bikes.
Note: I asked the cyclist about the bike. I never saw one of them before. You? He was from LakeShore Bikes. Super nice when I stopped to talk to him.
I also saw a little girl dump a bucket of water over her head and giggle. A pair of old men playing chess. I even saw a dude on a bench smoking a joint (doesn’t really fit but, hey, it cracked me up.) lol
These people were all different colors, shapes and sizes. I was totally inspired but them all doing their own thing. I simply loved it! And you know what… I felt as if I belonged. That sounds funny and I realize that but for years I declared my hate of exercise. I thought I wasn’t athletic. I thought I wasn’t built for sports. Yet, here I am running 12 miles in the midst of all these wonderfully active people and I fit right in. Not because I’m thin (which I used to think was a requirement) but because I’m just simply there. I would have fit in if I was out for a simple stroll or strapping on rollerblades for a ride. Everyone would. Why didn’t I see that before?
Anyway I’m getting too cheesy… back to this run. After I stopped to ask the cyclist Dad about his bike I picked my pace back up and started to enjoy the return views. Let me tell you, Chicago is one beautiful city! I paused to give my back a break and snapped a few photos while I walked.
By this time I was about at the 9-10 mile mark I think. I was really starting to remember the terrain and I was getting exited as I knew there was no way I wasn’t going to finish the 12 miles. I starting thinking back at the half marathon and how I was about to pretty much run one on my own. (you don’t know how bad I want to say UN-EFFING-BELIEVABLE — then again, guess I just did. ;~)
As I approached the end of the run I have to admit I missed my girl telling me "400 meters remaining". I had to peek down at my arm a few times when I got to the 11.5 mile range. I was just so darn excited that I actually did it!!
This is where ended…
I was so happy and had such a smile on my face people must have thought I was crazy. And if they didn’t, they changed their minds when I whipped off my running shows and walked in the water. :)
The way I figured it, I may never be back to that spot again. I needed to soak up as much of it as I could. So I stood there in the water taking pictures.
Even snapping one of myself.
I then strolled back to the hotel (barefoot) and snapped a couple shots of the scenery.
Here’s my take on the whole Chicago pizza thing… it’s AMAZING but please… please don’t call it pizza. What I ate this afternoon was sausage and pepper pot pie with sauce. It was a good sausage and pepper pot pie with sauce but if I can’t pick it up and fold it, it’s not pizza. ;~)
As for the "side" of BlogHer I forgot to tell you guys about the live blogging area on the BlogHer site. There is a transcript of the panel I was on about body image as well as all the other sessions. One of my favorites was the Advanced SEO but you can read a recap of any session on the site.
phew! Did you make it this far? Sorry a bit long winded. Funny thing is I have a billion ideas for posts but no time to write them. Returning to my day job tomorrow. Geesh… what a whip back to reality. Ugh. So hard after all this fun.
Oh! and here’s the run…