Friday, February 3, 2012

Chicago Marathon 2012 Registration

On February 1, registration opened for the Chicago Marathon which will be held on Sunday, October 7, 2012. In 2010, I ran in my first ever marathon at Chicago. In 2011, I was escorted through the 26.2 mile course through the streets of Chicago by the amazing sexy guides, Kimberly Shah and Jennifer Pfaff. Of course, I wanted to return and run Chicago for a third consecutive year. In 2010, after spraining my ankle three miles into the race, I managed to cross the finish line. I was not about to disappoint my guides, Rich Karnia and Peter Mullen. Last year, I was able to have a finish time which qualified me for the Boston Marathon in the category for visually impaired runners. When registration opened, I watched my Facebook newsfeed and Twitter timeline filled with friends successfully signing up for the race. I visited the marathon site and played with attempting to fill out the form. I struggled. At times, I typed and my information was filled in properly. At other times, I would type, but nothing would be entered into the edit fields. I tried several times, but I was not successful. I called the organizer's office, but the person informed me she could not register me over the phone. She offered to send me a paper application. I declined figuring I would find someone sighted to help me. As the hours passed and turned into days, I began to receive e-mails as well as notice updates on Facebook and Twitter that the event was filling up fast. I remember reading about the early years of the marathon. In those days, registration remained open until late September. In more recent years, registration would fill up within months. Last year, registration closed after only a month. That was record time for this marathon. This morning I learned that registration had passed 30,000 runners. The marathon closes when it reaches 45,000. At that rate, the race might be filled by Sunday. I could not wait for sighted help. This afternoon I sat down at my computer and thought, it matters not how long and tedious this process will be, I will register for this marathon. I went through the form carefully. Once again, filling in the information was hit or miss. With some of the questions, I had to answer multiple times before it would accept my response. I had to play with the curser and tab buttons until I lined up said curser in the proper field before I could provide a response. Little-by-little I inched closer to the finish. Then I arrived to the final question. Luckily, just then, I was able to get sighted help as my brother came over. I asked him to look over my form and he informed me that all was filled in correctly. He pressed submit and I heard that I would receive a confirmation message immediately. I checked my e-mail in box and there was my confirmation for registering for the 2012 Chicago Marathon! I thanked my brother for his help. I was most excited that I had registered mostly on my own. The only issue I have to resolve about registration is ensuring I will be able to get the same start as last year where I started one minute after the wheelchair division and just ahead of the pro elite. When I registered in 2011, one of my sisters filled out the information, sent it to me, and I sent it to the people in charge of the charity for which I was running. They took care of my form from there. My sister did notice an option to select that I was a visually impaired athlete. While the Chicago Marathon does not officially have a VI division, I could select that option and receive the start assignment I did, but this year, I only noticed a place to indicate whether I was a wheelchair participant. I will have to ask Chicago Marathon organizers to help me in possibly making that change so I can get the same start this coming October. That was such a magical experience and one of many reasons it was such a wonderful time in 2011.

As I did last year, I am running and raising funds as a member of the Imerman Angels team. IA is a non profit organization which works to offer one-on-one cancer support by pairing up cancer sufferers with a mentor Angel of the same age, gender, ethnic background who has experienced and beaten the same cancer the current sufferer is enduring. IA matches people on a daily basis all across the world. In order to help them continue their mission, I will aim to raise $750 between now and Chicago Marathon. I will run a couple other local races throughout 2012 as a member of Imerman Angels. The people associated with this organization have been overly spectacular with me since the first day I heard about and reached out to them seven months ago. I am grateful they have embraced me again and have ensured I will be a member of this year's team. If you wish to read about them and see my fundraising page, please log on to the following site. This will be a nine month journey as I fundraise and train for these races. I am excited about finally getting out and seeing who will be the individual or individuals who will volunteer to guide me this marathon. In a perfect world, I would love to get the band back together and have Kimberly Shah and Jennifer Pfaff guiding me once again, but I know they have their own races, schedules, and lives. They are two women who get the best out of me and I know they would help me achieve even greater success this race. After all, they helped me cut my finish time by forty-six minutes. I have no doubt I could cut it by an additional hour and who better to motivate and inspire me than an champion pro triathlete/coach and a champion marathoner.

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