Archive for chicago

Marathon 1; Chicago 2000

Posted in motivation, travel with tags , , , , on August 20, 2016 by afuntanilla

In 2000, I had a couple of half-marathons under my belt. 1 in San Francisco and 1 in Tybee Island, GA which is just outside of Savannah. And so, naturally, once i was done with those races, i started thinking “what’s next?”

Well, the natural progression was to think of the marathon. But, I was nervous, scared. I didn’t know if I could do it. Could I do it? How could I do it? How could I possibly run 26.2 miles? Man, that is far!

Well, I was sitting in my Atlanta apartment one day that Spring and I came across and AD for the Chicago Marathon in Runners World Magazine. And the AD said, “ there will be days you don’t know if you can run a marathon. there will be a lifetime knowing you can.” Well, I fell right there; hook, line and sinker. I signed up with the goal being that months later in October, I would arrive in Chicago fit and prepared to explore the city, 26.2 miles of it. But first, there was work to do.

I began following a novice marathon training plan. A 16 week plan that told me a lot of things like how many days to run and how many miles, but there’s a lot which is omitted from the plan; namely, what it actually takes to complete the training; which is discipline, dedication, committment. heart and guts. there’s nothing in the plan about how to overcome the fatigue of all these training days and the self-doubt that will invariably creep in. No, those things are yours and yours alone to figure out. And THAT, is part of what the marathon teaches you..it’s an exploration into the limits of the self. During the days and weeks of training, the questions that emerge beg and demand of you honest answers; how will i fit in this 14 mile run? how will i keep a 9 min pace for 26 miles? how can i possibly run another day when i am so freaking exhausted? How am i going to fit in 4-5 days of training while working 50 hour weeks? And thru this particular vehicle of the training program, you realize you cannot lie or cheat or skirt around something. The truth will always be staring at your…whether you were great today or whether you fell short. Whether you exceeded expectations or missed {the training is a gateway to truth }

I trained thru the heat and humidity of summertime in Atlanta; conditions were daunting and unrelenting. it didn’t matter what time of day I went out; whether it was 11pm or 5am, the stifling conditions still persisted. I had to find a way to get thru it. That’s the dedication, that’s the committment. Race day arrived and there i was on the shores of Lake Michigan along with about 20k other runners. We listened to the Star-Spangled Banner and then we were off, each to pursue our own personal journey. Those first few miles took us through downtown Chicago amid the booming buildings and stunning architecture. The spectators were 3 and 4 people deep, all cheering us on. Miles further and we explored the Gay neighborhood, the Italian area and the Russian hood…each with it’s own blend of music, aromas, colors and cheers. Mile 20 comes and now I am entering unknown territory as I never went past 20 miles in the training. My feet are aching, feel like they are burning and all I can think is “I have 6 more miles to go” I had to keep moving. Sometimes a shuffle, sometimes a walk…but movement. I pass mile 23 and I’m starting to move slightly quicker. 1/2 mile to go and I can see the finish line area… people in the stands on the left and right. i am now picking up my pace and in full stride, I am screaming, yelling, so beside myself as I cross under the finish line banner of my 1st marathon. An incredible race & atmosphere for my 1st marathon.

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The Ad…

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1/2 way…

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How I Got to Chicago…

Posted in photos, races, road, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2011 by afuntanilla

After my last race on 4/16, I started looking for one more to run before the weather began getting way too hot. I found the Chicago Half-Marathon on 5/15. Flat, fast course right alongside Lake Michigan. Score.

I also took a peek at the SF Giants schedule to see where they were playing that weekend; in CHICAGO. SCORE Again!

I love Chicago. Ran my first 2 marathons there in 2000 and 2001. Pretty much a no-brainer decision to book the trip and enter the race, right?

Well…even with those good signs, for some reason, I still waffled.

I found yet another race in South Carolina. This would be my 3rd in a row in that state. The race was to be in a small town called Laurens, SC approximately 3 hours away from Atlanta by car. I can do that, i thought. So, I signed up for the race and was geared to go. I started checking the website on Thursday, the day before I was to drive over to the town. All of a sudden, I could not see any info about the race. WTH?

I saw they had a facebook link so i went there. I see the comment: “Due to low registration, we are cancelling the race.”

What?

So bummed. Also, a little irked they put the notice on facebook and not on the event website which was tied to the local YMCA. Or even send out an email to race participants. In my opinion, those things should be done simultaneously. Anyways, race cancelled and I was bummed. My first thought was, well, i guess i will just go try to “race” the 13.1 miles on my own at Silver Comet Trail. 

As i thought this, I was far from excited. It’s a bit tough to gear yourself up for trying to accomplish a personal best without the race atmosphere.

A little later on Thursday, i started thinking again about Chicago. “I could still make that race if I can get a decent fare for the flight.” When I had looked 3-4 weeks ago, prices were approx $250. Well., guess what….the prices were the SAME!! Unbelievable. Truly. Here I am about to take off in 2 days and price is the same as it was 3-4 ago. SCORE!!

Next: check race website for registration;

“Online registration has closed. No race day registration.”

Ok….what to do now?? How can i get a number? I emailed the race people early Friday morning, giving them my true sob story of other race being cancelled, etc…and could I PLEASE get an entry. They replied late Thursday that the race was sold out and they could not give me an entry.

I put the word out on twitter.

A friend checked Craigslist and found 1 entry. I emailed the individual & waited to hear. At that point, I just let go. I knew it was no sense in worrying. I’d either get a number and be legitimately in the race or I wouldn’t.

I heard back from Craigslist guy a bit later. Relieved he still had the number, but a little concerned — you know, a guy offers something, says come pick it up at his condo…hmm…wasn’t there some Criagslist killer out there somewhere…anyways…friend says, “Do not meet him at his condo, meet in public”. Of course, I knew THAT but glad to see I wasn’t thinking crazy. (it’s sad we even have to be concerned at all, but the world is what it is)

Anyways, before hearing back from CL guy, “LOOP GUY” his email said, I hopped on plane and arrived in Chicago. Upon landing, I checked my email and saw this:

This is a very nice half marathon … its small, and well organized … its the only half that offers a complete hot breakfast at the finish … mmmm

The number is yours if you still want it … but I do need to know asap, there are six other people who are very interested …

 You can pick it up at my building’s security desk, 360 East Randolph, “Buckingham” (desk is open 24hrs)

 I will leave it in an envelope with your name on it … you can pick it up today or Sunday before the race … which starts at 7:am …

 As far as the fee … I believe I paid $65 … this amount of money is not going to change my life, and Im sure not yours … but it can make a big difference to a charity …

Make a donation (any amount) to Deborah’s House … its my most fav charities … they do an excellent job in supporting homeless and abused women … you can make the donation via their website …

Happy running, and enjoy my great city 

Ok…Loop Guy does not seem like someone I need to be worried about…

I stayed downtown, in the heart of the hustle and bustle that is Chicago. The energy; so electric, fun, and energizing.

I dropped my bags off at hotel and made a beeline for Loop Guy’s condo about a mile away.

I love seeing all the people on N. Michigan Avenue; walking, talking, shopping, eating, drinking. Walking amongst the crowd I am able to hear snippets of many different conversations, many in different languages.

It was windy and drizzly and cold as I walked to the condo. Strong winds became even stronger the closer I got to the lake which is race locale. Of course I couldn’t help thinking how would tomorrow morning be..

Arrived at the condo and picked up the race#

Next Up: Race Report.