Thursday, May 20, 2010

Magellan Development Chicago Spring Half Marathon

Sunday, May 16, 2010. The Magellan Development Chicago Spring half Marathon, 10K, 2 Mile Walk, and Kids Dash. The first event to begin was the half marathon portion. 13.1 miles. The gun went off at 7a.m. My wake up call was 4:30a.m. The truth was I could not sleep all night. I was like a little boy excited for the first day of school unable to sleep champing to get my 2010 race season started. Michael Crissie volunteered to guide me for this race. He was an accomplished gymnast and runner in high school, but he hadn't race competitively in years. Still, he has a heart of gold and an amazing girlfriend, Alison, who is the one who brought us together. Michael's brother, Brian, also decided to run with us. I had on my race big, the timing sticker was in place, and we were ready to get the party started. Soon we were off and running. Michael and I had only met one other time prior to this race when we did a six mile training run weeks before. I was confident Michael would find his groove as a guide, but each guide is different so there was no way to tell how long into the race before he would find it. It turned out to be almost immediately. A few uphills and quick turns met us in the opening mile as did small clusters of runners through which we had to weave. Within minutes we had reached the first mile mark. It was important to remember that we needed to pace ourselves and make sure we didn't burn out too fast early in the race. Luckily, there were three of us to keep the pace and encouragement flowing. In total, there were 3,500 runners and this kept the atmosphere lively throughout the course. Fans were supportive cheering on all the runners and the volunteers at the aid stations were offering plenty of water and gatorade as well as positive energy. Before we knew it, we had reached the turn-around at the 6.5 mile mark. We were about halfway home and the legs were still fresh. Soon we had hit the ten mile mark. From that point, it was just a 5K. My lungs were strong, but my legs were weakening. We remained hydrated and positive. Then we hit the twelfth mile. One more to go! Throughout the entire run, Brian kept informing us about our mile splits. With a few exceptions, we were consistently running each mile within a ten second window. At the rate we were pounding the pavement, I would break my half marathon personal record which I set at the AIA Half Marathon on February 17, 2008 when Brian Pearlman and I ran 13.1 miles in 2:57:08. In fact, at the rate we were going, Michael, Brian, and I would shatter it by over thirty minutes. About a quarter mile into our final mile, I missed clearing a crack in the sidewalk and I stumbled forward and ate pavement. My left leg took the punishment. On impact, my leg cramped up and a sharp pain raced up my leg and to the rest of my body including a sharp pain in my right ribs. Other runners asked if I was a okay and a race volunteer offered me some ice for my leg as Michael and Brian helped me to my feet. I did not want to stop, but all insisted I needed to put ice on my leg immediately. So I did, but I kept thinking, it is less than a mile, just suck it up and go! While I was still hurting, I said I was fine and we picked up the run and headed home. Then I heard, "150 feet from the final left turn. What do you have left?" We reached the final turn and the straight-away. I heard fans near the finish line and it was time to give the traditional Israel Antonio end of race performance. I took off! Michael fell in behind me as he attempted to guide me away from the spectators and other runners as we began to pass up many others. By the end, he was holding on to my shirt pushing me in the correct direction as I kept digging for an extra kick. Then, we crossed the finish line and someone placed a finisher's medal around my neck. My first race of the season was over. We had shattered my PR by thirty-three minutes and had passed over ten people in just the final 100 meters. Brian said Myfinal kick was the greatest he had ever witnessed. It was a great time with some wonderful new friends. This was the first time we had run this race and we plan to be back. It was well organized by the great individuals at CAPRI Events. Now, on to the next race.

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