So where were we? Drunk people! Yes!
There was a wedding party at our hotel every night we were there. They were all of Indian descent. When we parked our car Sunday night the door to the event was open and it looked like one hoppin' party. Maybe it was the Bollywood electric slide?
Sunday morning I woke up, showered and suited up.
Back to the city we went, and this time we went the right direction down every street!!
Until the morning of the race I wasn't very nervous. A couple hours before the start I was sitting there with Aimee and Kaydee and the gravity of the days event set in. I'm not always positive when it comes to my running exploits. I'm blessed to have friends around me who tell me to cut that negative talk out and offer genuine encouragement. All those words I had heard over the past few months came back to me that morning and nervousness turned to crazy excitement. By crazy I mean I was going crazy....
I ate my Clif bar, a banana and drank a bottle of water. Went to the bathroom a few times. Gave my wife a hug and kiss. Met up with my teammates. Entered the start corral. Stretched. Prayed.
Time to run!!
It was amazing. I have a problem with going faster than I should out of the gate but not today. For the first few miles I felt great. Didn't feel like I was even touching the ground. Also, within the first mile there were signs about coming to salvation through Jesus, which were done tastefully (no flames, eternal damnation, Westboro church kind of stuff). Which prompted a runner that was close by to say "why is this race so Jesus-ee?" I got a good chuckle out of it (I still kinda do).
I started the race with two of my teammates Daren and Megan. Daren was dressed like a pirate. This brought a lot of attention to him which made running the race pretty fun. It got the spectators into the race.
At one point we were talking about Active:Water and Daren made a really good point that I didn't think about: We were running with 45k other runners and not all of them were running for a charity. There's so much potential to build up the team, raise money and educate people. I'm very fortunate that Active:Water chose me to be a team captain. I'm excited to get started on recruiting a team and start training for another race under the AW banner! If you're interested in running let me know!
Back to the race!
Throughout the first miles of the race I was told to go ahead if I was feeling it but I liked the pace we were going. At mile eleven or twelve I felt it and just looked forward and ran. I felt kind of turd like for leaving but I was feeling really good. At mile twelve I also saw my beautiful wife on the side of the course which brought a huge smile to my face. Also, she gives proof that I was feeling good at that moment via Facebook:
"just saw thomas at mile 12 and he looks good!"
The course set up for the first half to eighteen miles was great. So much crowd participation, loud music and general merriment. When the race hit the south side it got a lot quieter, which made it easier for me to retreat into my brain.
At mile twenty was the first time being tired beat running. I didn't stop but I was moving pretty slow. Luckily that was when they started handing out bananas. It's amazing how half of a banana and a cup of lemon-lime Gatorade can bring up your spirits!
On a side note I will try my best to never drink lemon-lime Gatorade ever again. Knowing that Chicago was handing out this flavor I drank it during my training runs. I also took Gatorade at almost every fluid stop on the day of the race. Even now I'm thinking about it and I can actually taste it.....
The last six (point two) miles of the race were challenging. Not only physically but emotionally. Good emotionally. The notion of finishing and being used in this ministry is amazing.
The last mile or so brought me back into downtown Chicago. The streets were lined with cheering spectators and the last .2 miles were uphill (which I enjoy). Sure I was tired but seeing the end of the race propelled me up the hill and back down through the finish line.
I finished the race with a watch time of 4:55. The race clocked me at 5:01. I didn't count mile five when we took a potty break. 4:55, 5:01 or 6:30 (course maximum time allowed) I don't care too much about my time. By the grace of God I finished.